Assemblage 23 is an electronic act from the United States, currently based in Seattle. It was founded in 1988 by Tom Shear who writes the music and lyrics and does the recording himself.
Prior to starting Assemblage 23, Shear experimented with music under the name Man on a Stage, beginning in the early 1980s. Most of Shear's music at this point was instrumental, as he lacked the confidence to sing; the quality of the music itself was highly questionable by his own admission. Shear eventually began to add vocals to his music; at the same time, Shear was also playing bass in a live band called the Advocates.
Assemblage 23 was officially born in 1988, after Shear experienced the industrial dance music played by an opening DJ for Depeche Mode. The style of this genre deeply impressed Shear; he believed he had finally found the sort of sound he wanted for his music. Even so, the project was more of a hobby for Shear at this point; it took until 1998 for Assemblage 23 to gather enough positive acclaim to attract the attention of record labels.
Shear signed a deal in 1999 with the Canadian label Gashed! to for a full-length album (Contempt, released in November 1999). A second album, Failure, followed in March 2001 and was released by Gashed in North America and Accession Records in Europe. A single from Failure, "Disappoint", was released on Accession in October 2001. The song dealt with Shear's sense of loss after his father's suicide on October 28, 1999 and features a sample from the film In the Line of Fire.
After falling out with Gashed Records following Failure, Shear signed with US label Metropolis Records (US) later in 2001; Metropolis re-released Contempt and Failure in November. A remix release, Addendum, was also released in November only on Accession. By this point, Assemblage 23 had become fairly popular within the EBM genre; the third album, Defiance, was released in October 2002 on Metropolis and Accession, preceded by the single "Document", in September of that year.
Assemblage 23 released a fourth album, Storm, in October 2004 with singles "Let the Wind Erase Me" in August and "Ground" in November.
In March 2007, Assemblage 23 released a new single, "Binary", which debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard US singles chart, preceding the album Meta, released in April 2007.
Also in 2007 saw the release of "Early Rare & Unreleased" which is a collection of 14 Assemblage 23 tracks taken from the years 1988–1998. In 2009, "Early Rare & Unreleased Volume Two" was released.
Assemblage 23 performed at Montreal's Kinetik Festival in May 2009. In September 2009, Assemblage 23 released the single "Spark," followed by its sixth studio album Compass.
The latest album "Bruise" has been released on June 12, 2012.