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Nine Inch Nails

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Nine Inch Nails Further Down the Spiral album cover
3.30 | 29 ratings | 2 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1995

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now) (4:02)
2. The Art of Self Destruction, Part One (5:41)
3. Self Destruction, Part Two (5:37)
4. The Downward Spiral (The Bottom) (7:28)
5. Hurt (Quiet) (5:08)
6. Eraser (Denial; Realization) (6:33)
7. At the Heart of It All (7:14)
8. Eraser (Polite) (1:15)
9. Self Destruction, Final (9:52)
10. The Beauty of Being Numb (5:06)
11. Erased, Over, Out (6:00)

Total Time 63:56

Line-up / Musicians

- Trent Reznor / vocals, all instruments
- Adrian Belew / guitars
- Danny Lohner / guitars
- Andy Kubiszewski / drums
- Chris Vrenna / drums, programming, sampling
- Stephen Perkins / drum loops
- Charlie Clouser / programming
- Rick Rubin
- Dave Navarro / guitar
- Sean Beavan
- Brian Pollack
- J. G. Thirlwell
- John Balance
- Peter Christopherson
- Drew McDowall
- Danny Hyde
- Aphex Twin

Thanks to windhawk for the addition
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NINE INCH NAILS Further Down the Spiral ratings distribution

(29 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

NINE INCH NAILS Further Down the Spiral reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
3 stars Modern expressionism is a funny thing. In that subjective realm one man's art is another man's shart. In the visual field, for example, I find Pablo Picasso's paintings to be inexplicably intriguing while Jackson Pollock's stuff leaves me scratching my bean as to why it's so revered. Gotta chalk it up to the "different strokes for different folks" syndrome. In music it's even more pronounced. I can't tell you why Nine Inch Nails' abstract aural creations are able to stimulate certain parts of my psyche but they reliably do. I also understand why others would deem their music as noisy, confusing synthetic cacophony that has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Serene it's not. It's one of those mysteries that makes being alive a true adventure if you allow conundrums like that to invigorate your mind instead of confounding it. For whatever reason I find Trent Reznor's contributions to be highly progressive as he constantly challenges the threshold of what I can tolerate and, at the same time, delivers moments of emotional clarity that I can't get anywhere else. I'm not saying that everything this band produces is a masterpiece. Far from it. Some of it disgusts me and some of it I have to write off as the crazed rantings of a drug addicted alcoholic who (at the time) had no inner compass but often there will be a song or a passage within a track that exquisitely transcends the mundane and the ordinary. That's when NIN scratches what's itching in me and I can only utter, "Wow." I also hold great admiration for Trent's adventurous spirit that encourages him to not only share every note of his music with the world fearlessly but to invite other artists to deconstruct and tinker with his tunes at will. That's why the discography of NIN contains so many singles and remixes. I've personally found that by investigating those various releases I gain a better understanding and appreciation for what their "official" studio albums contain. "The Downward Spiral" is a landmark recording. "Further Down the Spiral" turns it on its head to see what will fall out.

The opener, "Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)," will give the recipient a pretty good idea of what they've gotten themselves into right off the bat. To be sure, guest mixer Rick Rubin's slant on this song is radical. After a typically strange intro a furious chorus (aided by Dave Navarro's tortured guitar) intrudes and then alternates with slightly jazzy verse segments until your brain is tempted to bolt for safety through the nearest door. There are three cuts that are derived from a jarring tune on "Downward Spiral" ("Mr. Self Destruct") and "The Act of Self Destruction, Part 1" is the initial installment of the trilogy. It features an engaging meld of a repeating down beat surrounded by industrial intrusions, whispers and the occasional fingernails-on-the-blackboard ear squinchers that will test your mettle. In other words, it ain't for the timid. "Self Destruction, Part 2" is built on a stronger, more direct drum kit pattern while a supercharged, brittle electric guitar gives it a razor sharp edge. The whole piece emotes a sense of extreme urgency that is intimidating. "The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)" is next, a number that presents an ethereal, discombobulating soundscape at the beginning before a flowing, liquid rhythm ensues that carries you atop a toxic current as you glide through threatening scenery. It's quite a surreal experience. "Hurt (Quiet)" follows and it's a noticeably different version from the original but not so much that it loses its galvanizing atmosphere that engulfs me like a room full of soft cotton. No matter what shape it takes, this song is incredible and oddly soothing.

"Eraser (Denial; Realization)" immediately erects a splintery wall of tension but, unfortunately, it never goes anywhere interesting. It does have a groove, though, so it's good for wild living room dancing in the dark, I suppose. Aphex Twin composed "At the Heart of It All," a hypnotic, ominous collage of pulsating sounds parading in front of a two-note symphonic drone. It's another curious track that's hard to describe because it's so foreign to what I'm used to hearing. "Eraser (Polite)" sports a much more subdued aura in that it's just Reznor's vocal over what sounds like a pump organ. At only 1:15 in duration, it's a very brief but nonetheless disturbing excursion into wicked thoughts and aspirations. "Self Destruction, Final" offers up a soft intro before the familiar, overbearing theme barges in only to dissolve into disarray momentarily and then reassemble to harass your senses mercilessly. It's kind of a casserole of elements from the other two renditions thickly layered to emit the maximum amount of intensity. "The Beauty of Being Numb" is a hybrid. The first section, manufactured by NIN, is a knockabout mash of noises and unintelligible voices while the second, contributed by Aphex Twin, is a muted jazz movement accompanied by what sounds like electronic hog snorts and then what I can only describe as a female's dreamy moans as she pleasures a man. It's definitely the weirdest thing on the disc. "Erased, Over, Out" is sort of a continuation of the sensual moaning samples that ended the previous tune joined by Trent's angst-sated screams reverberating in the background.

Now, if you think that I've just critiqued a CD that's so far out there that no one in their right mind would go near it, think again. "Further Down the Spiral" was released in June of 1995 and proceeded to climb the charts to the #23 position so obviously it filled a need. Selling over 50,000 copies, it went on to become one of the most successful remix albums of all time so it's somewhat comforting to know that there are a host of other people out there like me who find Nine Inch Nails irrepressibly magnetic and necessary. Sometimes you just gotta let go of your inhibitions and let a little madness seep in. For some reason it has the uncanny ability to heal what ails ya. If you're brave enough, dive in. 3.4 stars.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is yet another companion album to the highly successful "The Downward Spiral" album and serves as an E.P. even though it's duration is around an hour long. It mostly consists of remixes which further explore selected tracks from TDS. The huge hit song "Closer" is not one of the songs explored on this collection, but if you are interested in the remixes and very indepth exploration of this song, then get the other companion collection called "Closer to God" which has several remixes of that song with the addition of a few more selections. That is an excellent collection that, even though mostly centers around one song, is actually quite well done and not as repetitive as you think.

This collection though, is also very interesting, yet not quite as cohesive as the "Closer to God" collection. Several aritists like Coil, Aphex Twin and many others created these great remixes. There are a lot more mood changes in this album and the selected songs are explored quite well here. It is highly experimental, noisy at times and surprisingly ponderous in others. It starts out with "Piggy" (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)" which is a very industrial sounding remix and it is very recognizable, yet noticeably different from the original. It features the guitar parts from Dave Navarro (Jane's Addiction) and starts off the album quite well, even though it is somewhat straightforward, and it prepares the listener for more in-depth exploration which can take the listener a long way away from the original tracks to follow. Next is the first remix of "Mr. Self Destruct" called "The Art of Self Destruction Part 1". The vocals here are downplayed quite a bit reduced to whisperings of certain phrases from the original song and the feeling is more quiet. The main passage used in this remix is from the quieter bridge of the original song, and that attributes to the overall feeling of this quieter remix. Following this is another remix of the same track called "Self Destruction Part 2" and it is based around the main themes of the song and focuses on Adrian Belew's (King Crimson, Talking Heads) guitar work from the original, thus creating a louder remix. This remix is definitely a noisy one and it is quite enjoyable.

Next is the remix of the title track of the original album and it is called "The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)". This one is harder to recognize as it uses a repetitive processed sound that sounds like something bubbling over. This is a processed loop of the guitar part of the original, yet it sounds like a keyboard producing the sound. Sounds very nice at first, but tends to be too repetitive. "Hurt (Quiet)" is the next remix from the original album. It is very recognizable and cleans up the original quite nicely, getting rid of a lot of the background noise that was evident on the original. The guitar build up is still present, but less noticeable and also a cleaner sound up until the explosive climax which echoes on for some time. This one is just as good if not better than the original and accentuates the lyrics better.

The following track is the first remix of "Eraser" and is titled "Eraser (Denial; Realization)" It works to build up quite well from the previous track and samples various phrases from the original song in a slowed down format so it becomes hard to recognize. The music builds back up and becomes more industrial sounding as it continues, bringing us back from the quietness of the previous track. Next comes an original instrumental track created for this collection by Aphex Twin called "At the Heart of it All". This one is a techno-industrial sounding song with a softer edge than normal, almost radio-friendly, but not quite. It incorporates a metallic drum loop as a base and later utilizes a horn section that grows and fades throughout the song. The next track is another version of "Eraser" called "Eraser (Polite)" which is a very short remix that repeats short phrases of the original and stays quite laidback and soothing, yet dark and foreboding.

Another remix of "Mr. Self Destruct" follows called "Self Destruction Final" which is a 9 minute remix that once again focuses on Adrian Belew's guitar passage from the original and also incorporates samples from David Bowie's "Time". It is very industrial and loud as you would expect from NINs. After this, another partly original track follows called "The Beauty of Being Numb" which starts out playing a backwards version of "Mr. Self Destruct" which actually sounds a lot better than you would think and is slightly ambient. This grows in intensity, but doesn't overwhelm and eventually becomes an original composition by Aphex Twin. The final track is the last remix of "Eraser" called "Erased, Over, Out" which samples synthesized sounds and thus ends the album on a slightly softer, yet still industrial note.

Overall, this contains some great highlights, but is still somewhat repetitive. The song explorations are great and I find that listening to the album is enjoyable except for the repetitive sections. Not as good as the "Closer to God" compilation or the original album, it is still a good album, it just isn't essential unless you love remixes and song manipulation. 3 stars.

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