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Nine Inch Nails - Broken CD (album) cover

BROKEN

Nine Inch Nails

 

Crossover Prog

3.54 | 48 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Nine Inch Nails was a band I got into in the mid-nineties, though I no longer recall how it was that I heard of them or decided to buy their albums. My first purchase was "Further Down the Spiral", a collection of remixes of songs from "The Downward Spiral", which was my second purchase. I had "March of the Pigs", yet another remix album, but I was so disappointed with it that I eventually sold it.

"Broken" was my final NIN purchase. It sounded very different from what I had heard on "The Downward Spiral" and "Further Down the Spiral" but it was still obviously Nine Inch Nails. Around that time, there was a video for "Pinion" that I saw on Much Music (Canada's music station). In the video, the camera followed a series of pipes running across the ceiling and down walls, through floors, in some building and the final scene brought us to a person tied up in black leather with the pipe terminating in his mouth and water spewing from his mouth out the sides. It's just a short track and an instrumental at that. The volume slowly rises with a creepy distorted guitar chord sequence that repeats as effects come in. Then it abruptly ends as "Wish" begins with its quick percussion and heavy guitar. "Last" was and still is my favourite song on this album. The guitar riffs sound really like Black Sabbath to me, and Trent Reznor delivers his trademark paranoid/maniac style of vocals.

I hadn't listened to the album for a long time but a few weeks ago I watched the Lock Horns (on YouTube) episode about early industrial metal albums and this one was mentioned, so I dug it out and put the disc into iTunes and on my phone. It's better than I remembered. Now I find most of the album captures my attention. The production is clear, warm, and loud but not in the red. There is an excellent balance between heavy guitar rock band and electronic band. Some songs feature some great riffs that caught my ear while I was walking and listening, tracks like "Happiness is Slavery" and "Suck". There's enough variety on this album to keep it interesting, though "Help Me I Am In Hell" is another short instrumental that is simple and a little repetitive.

One comment to make here is about the two hidden tracks, "Physical (You're So)" and "Suck". A lot of hidden track albums will put the hidden track on as part of the final track with an intervening empty gap that can be anywhere from a couple of minutes to over ten minutes. I really despise those long pointless gaps of blankety- blank-blankness. However, on "Broken" all the empty space is filled with something like 91 1-second-long blank tracks. Why is this good? Because when putting the CD into an iTunes library, you can unselect all the blank tracks and save only the tracks with music. My iTunes folder now has only 8 music files for this album instead of eight plus 91-something blank tracks. Good thinking, guys! A huge blank gap in between two tracks that make up only one track on the CD is really the pits!

All in all, a very good bit of industrial metal. It's not every track that's a killer but there's a lot of great stuff here! On Lock Horns, by the way, the album made the list of ten essential early industrial metal albums.

FragileKings | 3/5 |

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