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CLOSER TO GOD

Nine Inch Nails

Crossover Prog


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Nine Inch Nails Closer to God album cover
3.85 | 11 ratings | 2 reviews | 18% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

US Version

1. Closer to God (5:05)
2. Closer (Precursor) (7:16)
3. Closer (Deviation) (6:15)
4. Heresy (Blind) (5:32)
5. Memorabilia (7:21)
6. Closer (Internal) (4:15)
7. March of the Fuckheads (4:43)
8. Closer (Further Away) (5:45)
9. Closer (6:26)

UK Version (Disc 1)

1. Closer (6:26)
2. Closer (Deviation) (6:15)
3. Closer (Further Away) (5:45)
4. Closer (Precursor) (7:16)
5. Closer (Internal) (4:15)

UK Version (Disc 2)

1. Closer to God (5:05)
2. Heresy (Blind) (5:32)
3. Memorabilia (7:21)
4. March of the Fuckheads (4:43)

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Trent Reznor / vocals, arranger, programming, producer, engineer, digital editing, mixing


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Single · EP · Import
Nothing 2000
Audio CD$2.99
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Audio CD$25.23
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Vinyl$133.10 (used)
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NINE INCH NAILS Closer to God ratings distribution


3.85
(11 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
18%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
36%
Good, but non-essential (18%)
18%
Collectors/fans only (27%)
27%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

NINE INCH NAILS Closer to God reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I don't know what it is, exactly, but there's something about Nine Inch Nails' music that fascinates me. I'm usually put off by vulgarity and totally-out-of-left-field, noisy modernistic fare yet when it comes out of the mind of Trent Reznor it all makes perfect sense to me and I'm okay with it. Go figure. For some reason I can't imagine his work being as invitingly honest and uncompromising without those ingredients liberally sprinkled in. I'm also impressed by his productivity. It would seem that if he wasn't out on tour with the band he was living 24/7 in the studio and recording constantly. Now, the fact that he was severely addicted to alcohol and cocaine throughout the 90s no doubt contributed to his preference for being a mole-like workaholic, self-sequestered in the seclusion of a soundproof control room, but that compulsion-fueled, health-threatening lifestyle he chose to lead didn't diminish the genius that resided inside the creations that emerged in spite of his afflictions. He was a driven man. For example, whenever NIN released a single you didn't get just a longer version of the song, you got a variety of translations of that particular tune along with some bonus stuff thrown in for good measure. That's the case with the "Closer to God" CD. Trent was like the rich but ambitious kid on the block who built his own treehouse and then, rather than being an effete snob about his achievement, invited all his neighborhood pals over to add their two cents to the interior decorating scheme and the overall Feng shui arrangement of the furniture. When "Closer" became a wildly popular cut on FM radio and as the macabre video turned into a highly-requested big deal on MTV Reznor didn't change his mode of operations one bit. He brought in an eclectic slew of musicians, technicians, producers and mix-down artists and gave them free rein to reshape the number as they wished. The result is an engaging fifty-one minutes or so of some very intriguing variations on, with a few exceptions, a central theme.

The first cut is "Closer to God," a remix by Trent, Sean Beavan and Brian Pollack. The strong techno influence adds a lot of energy to the track and the scathing guitars give it considerably more grit than the original possesses. "Closer (Precursor)" follows and I consider it the apex of the record. Label this the "haunted house" take, complete with ghostly rattles and creaks abounding in the dank air. I love the imaginative liberties that Coil and Danny Hyde took with the premise and especially how they tricked out the vocal. The last segment is unexpectedly jazzy, as well. "Closer (Deviation)" is next and it's definitely a departure but not a bad one. Jack Dangers and Craig Silvey give it a laid-back semi-hip-hop vibe minus the distraction of any unnecessary rapping being included that would've disastrously ruined the mood. "Heresy (Blind)" is a cool detour. This revamping of a song from the album "The Downward Spiral" constructed by Dave Ogilvie, Anthony Valcic and Joe Bisara is clever and multi-faceted in that it never stays in a stationary atmospheric condition long enough to grow stifling. "Memorabilia" is Reznor's cover of a Soft Cell tune (a British group that was a purveyor of Synthpop in the early 80s). This is the kind of experimental aural art that Trent championed at a time when so many of his peers were content to be followers of popular and more commercial trends. Listening to this cut, it's obvious that he wasn't afraid to color outside the lines. The tune is basically a layer-upon-layer construction of samples and loops that I find strangely alluring.

"Closer (Internal)" was manufactured by the team of Bill Kennedy, Scott Humphrey, John "Geetus" Aguto, Paul Decarli and Eric Claudiex. I'll classify this one as the "fat" interpretation as their tactful use of distortion and white noise broadens the number's scope massively as they put an emphasis on manipulating the dynamics. "March of the F**kheads," rendered by Adrian Sherwood, is a throbbing instrumental that truly embodies the genre known as "Industrial Rock." It's akin to being led blindfolded through a hot, busy steel mill. The same 5-member crew that conjured up the "Internal" cut delivers "Closer (Further Away)." It's an abstract and less-restricted excursion than the others. The arrangement doesn't rely as heavily on the rhythm track, dropping it out sometimes and at others isolating it in a corner of the soundscape. It gets extremely intense in places so it's not for the easily intimidated or those prone to suffering claustrophobic episodes. The finale is the official "Closer" single, culled intact from the album except that the eerie, off-kilter piano at the end is allowed 13 more seconds of life. No matter how many times I hear it I'm mesmerized by its irresistible aura.

As an aside, I caution the younger, horny male proggers out there who might be tempted to use Trent's blatant phrase (that describes without pretense what he'd like to do to his lady friend) as a pickup line in a bar. Most likely you'll get a stinging slap across your face for being a rude jerk. However, if the woman being addressed doesn't flinch and actually accedes to accommodate you in your stated desire she probably isn't the kind of girl you'd want to take home to meet mom or to escort to the next church ice cream social if you catch my drift so be careful what you ask for. You might pick up more than a one-night-stand. Remember that Mr. Reznor was merely expressing his libido's angst and pent up frustration at the time, not advocating a new, surefire approach to mastering the mating game. (When we randy tars tried that bold ploy in the 70s it didn't work to our satisfaction then, either. Just sayin'.) Anywho, if you like what NIN does then this won't be a disappointment but an augmentation. To my ears it's as progressive-minded as it gets. 3.8 stars.

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Review by TCat
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This release is considered a single of the song Closer to God by Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. The interesting thing is that it is a 52 minute single. And it is a 9 track single. And it has 6 versions of the title track plus 1 other remixed song from "The Downward Spiral", a cover song and an original instrumental track. With this many remixes of the same song, you would think this would get very tiring and boring. Not so. I am amazed at this album and how you can take elements from the same song, break them down, rearrange them, and them bring it back to life as an almost completely different creature. Sometimes the remix is pretty clearly the same song and at other times it is very difficult to recognize except for some of the elements that have been added back in. This experimentation is intriguing.

It starts out with a nice techno version of the song and is easy to recognize. The 2nd track is a complete opposite to this and remains pretty much instrumental until it is halfway through. This one is very ominous and dark. Before the lyrics start, it is hard to recognize the theme but once they start, you think, oh yeah ok now I see, but the atmosphere stays the same. The 3rd track is the Deviation version of the title track and it has more of a recognizable sound with a new beat or rhythm throughout the mix and the lyrics pretty much left intact but with a slightly different feel from the original.

Just in case you are starting to get tired of the same song, a remix of "Heresy" follows as the 4th track. This is a nice mostly synthesized sounding version of the song, all of the instruments and even the vocals especially in the chorus have a synthesized sheen to it. Because of this, the lyrics are a little harder to understand than on the original version of this song, but still very recognizable. The 5th track is a cover of a Soft Cell song called ""Memorabilia". This one is very industrial-techno sounding with a consistent rhythm pounding through the entire track and mostly indiscernible lyrics. To me this is the least interesting track on the album and it overstays it's welcome.

The next track, no. 6, is a return to the title track remixed with the "internal" version. This one takes all kinds of liberties with the song, removing the beat at times, bringing it to front at others. Lyrics are repeated in muffled or whispered voices and phrases are out of order as well as the instrumental phrases put in different places, inverted, turned upsidedown and insideout. Very interesting remix. It gives you a distinct feeling of being dragged even further down into the darkness that the main protagonist in the album "The Downward Spiral" is experiencing. The song builds to a wild climax and segues into the sudden whispy beat of the next track which is the instrumental track "March of the Fuckheads" which is original and not related to the "March of the Pigs" track from the album. It is mostly rhythm and sounds, very whispy and flighty sounding if that makes sense with synthesized arpeggios traveling from one channel to the other and somewhat similar to "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller Band but very warped.

Track 8 returns to the another remix of the same theme, the Further Away version. This one is another dark spooky version which I feel represents the bottom of the pit at the end of the downward spiral were lyrics suddenly shout through. Dynamics are changing a lot here with even a short disco spurt. Everything is mixed up here. On track 9, when the original version of the song starts, it's like you have finally emerged from the darkness into some strange form of sanity. But when everything clears and you get the organized version of the song and you understand what it's all about, maybe things aren't so rosy afterall. But I know this, after this terrifying ride, the orginal song stuck on the end of the album is like a welcome relief.....until you get that extended ending with the distorted piano, then you think maybe things aren't so rosy afterall.

This is a great remix album and is probably the closest a remix album will get to being a concept album, continuing the story from "The Downward Spiral" or experiencing the downward journey through one theme and a lot of variations. Either way, it has a lot of the same effect as the original album does and I find it very effective and interesting most of the way through the album. I do consider this an excellent addition to your prog collection especially if you are a fan of hard industrial sound, I could even consider this a close kin to King Crimson's "Thrak" album or even the "Thrakattack" album in that it is similar to it's effectiveness. Anyway, that's it. 4 stars. One of the best remix singles/EPs ever.

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