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NINE INCH NAILS

Crossover Prog • United States


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Nine Inch Nails biography
US band NINE INCH NAILS was more or less formed in 1988 by Trent Reznor, and while other musicians have participated in various manners over the years the band is first and foremost his solo project.

The early start of this band occurred when Reznor worked as a janitor and assistant engineer at Right Track Studios, and asked the owner Bert Koster to be allowed to record some music of his own in the studio when it wasn't otherwise occupied. The subsequent demo recordings, where Reznor handled all instruments apart from drums himself, landed him a record contract with TVT Records, and 10 cuts from these demos were polished and issued as the first NiN album Pretty Hate Machine in 1989. The album eventually sold to platinum, one of the best selling independently releases records of all time. Tours in the US and Europe followed until 1991, when his record label pressured Reznor to start recording more studio material.

1992 saw the release of two EP's under the NiN moniker. The 8 track EP Broken was another highly successful venture, and while arguably better known for the promotional videos made for the singles released from the EP it was commercially highly succesfull as well, and eventually lead to Reznor getting two Grammy awards. The remix EP Fixed followed towards the end of the year.

Citing inspirations by Pink Floyd (The Wall) and David Bowie (Low), The Downward Spiral was Reznor's next full length effort to be issued under the Nine Inch Nail's moniker. And like his previous efforts it proved to be a massive commercial success, and is regarded as a major artistic achievement as well. The album appears in numerous lists of the most important albums of all times, whether they are based on commercial or artistic principles. The tour in support of the album was as massive a success as the album itself, and lifted Trent Reznor once and for all up to the major artist level. Even the remix album Further Down the Spiral became a commercial success story, shifting enough copies to achieve the Gold Album merit shortly after it's release.

Addiction problems and writer's block stopped the further evolvement of the project dead in it's tracks though, but while battling these demons Reznor got the opportunity to produce the soundtrack for the David Lynch movie Lost Highway. He contributed with the tune The Perfect Drug himself, on a soundtrack CD that also introduced a band like Rammstein to a wider audience.

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Hesitation Marks (Deluxe Edition)Hesitation Marks (Deluxe Edition)
Columbia 2013
Audio CD$13.00
$12.49 (used)
Downward SpiralDownward Spiral
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing/TVT/Interscope Records 1994
Audio CD$6.08
$1.71 (used)
Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 RemasterPretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
Extra tracks · Remastered
Bicycle Music Company 2010
Audio CD$6.22
$6.22 (used)
RecoiledRecoiled
Cold Spring 2014
Audio CD$15.92
$26.86 (used)
Year ZeroYear Zero
Nothing Records 2007
Audio CD$7.77
$2.69 (used)
Ghosts I - IVGhosts I - IV
The Null Corporation 2008
Audio CD$9.71
$4.75 (used)
The FragileThe Fragile
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing 1999
Audio CD$6.22
$0.27 (used)
With TeethWith Teeth
Interscope Records 2005
Audio CD$5.96
$1.39 (used)
BrokenBroken
Nothing 1992
Audio CD$5.72
$0.01 (used)
Pretty Hate MachinePretty Hate Machine
Umvd Labels 2011
Audio CD$5.03
$5.00 (used)
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NINE INCH NAILS shows & tickets


  • Nine Inch Nails on 6 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Hartwall Areena, Helsinki on 8 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Hovet, Stockholm on 10 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Oslo Spektrum, Oslo on 12 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Forum, Frederiksberg C on 13 May 2014
  • Citadel Music Festival on 15 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Rockhal, Esch-sur-Alzette on 16 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at LG Arena, Birmingham on 18 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at The SSE Hydro, Glasgow on 20 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff on 21 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at O2 Arena, London on 23 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Capital FM Arena Nottingham, Nottingham on 24 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Phones 4u Arena, Manchester on 25 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam on 27 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Lotto Arena, Antwerpen on 28 May 2014
  • Primavera Sound Barcelona 2014 on 28 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Le Zénith, Paris on 29 May 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Zénith, Toulouse on 1 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Unipol Arena, Casalecchio di Reno on 3 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Hallenstadion, Zürich on 4 Jun 2014
  • Rock am Ring 2014 on 5 Jun 2014
  • Rock im Park 2014 on 6 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Stadthalle, Wien on 9 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Spodek, Katowice on 10 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Forum Karlín, Prague on 11 Jun 2014
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at ??????? ??????, ?????-????????? on 13 Jun 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Stadium Live on 15 Jun 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at ????? Stereo Plaza, ???? on 17 Jun 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Nine Inch Nails + Cold Cave at Papp László Budapest Sportaréna, Budapest on 19 Jun 2014 - CANCELLED
  • Pemberton Music Festival on 18 Jul 2014

NINE INCH NAILS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

NINE INCH NAILS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 72 ratings
Pretty Hate Machine
1989
3.70 | 94 ratings
The Downward Spiral
1994
3.79 | 79 ratings
The Fragile
1999
3.06 | 47 ratings
With Teeth
2005
3.16 | 48 ratings
Year Zero
2007
3.93 | 61 ratings
Ghosts I-IV
2008
3.10 | 40 ratings
The Slip
2008
3.70 | 36 ratings
Hesitation Marks
2013

NINE INCH NAILS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 18 ratings
And All That Could Have Been
2002

NINE INCH NAILS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.67 | 6 ratings
Closure
1997
3.32 | 6 ratings
And All That Could Have Been
2002
3.53 | 15 ratings
Beside You in Time
2007

NINE INCH NAILS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.80 | 15 ratings
Further Down the Spiral
1995
3.24 | 14 ratings
Things Falling Apart
2000
3.10 | 10 ratings
Year Zero Remixed
2007

NINE INCH NAILS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.33 | 6 ratings
Down In It
1989
2.64 | 7 ratings
Head Like a Hole
1990
4.75 | 4 ratings
Sin
1990
4.00 | 3 ratings
Happiness in Slavery
1992
3.32 | 34 ratings
Broken
1992
3.00 | 11 ratings
Fixed
1992
3.50 | 6 ratings
March of the Pigs
1994
3.13 | 8 ratings
Closer to God
1994
4.80 | 5 ratings
Hurt
1994
3.75 | 4 ratings
NINJA tour sampler
2009
3.00 | 8 ratings
Came Back Haunted
2013

NINE INCH NAILS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Fixed by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.00 | 11 ratings

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Fixed
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars One of the unparalleled joys of being an artist of any kind comes when you watch another inventive soul take what you've made and turn it into something that you couldn't have created yourself. I got to experience that very thing back in the mid 80s when Grammy-winning composer Richard Theisen took a simple inspirational story I'd penned and put an original musical score to it. As if that wasn't exciting enough, a female dancer friend of his choreographed a solo jazz routine for the piece and we both got to attend the video taping of her interpretative dance. It was incredibly fulfilling to watch what started out as a tiny seed grow into something I'd never anticipated. I tell you this in order to convey the exhilaration Nine Inch Nails' mastermind, Trent Reznor, must've felt when he turned over some of his songs to others to let them take his music to places he couldn't even imagine them going to. Not many artists are willing to do that but the payoff is often well worth the risk even if the outside world doesn't 'get it.'

'Fixed,' like any of this group's EPs, is a walk on the wild side. If you don't have an open, flexible mind then it's best that you steer clear of them and stick with the band's more comprehensible albums that are challenging enough in their own right. What I'm trying to say is that this record is not for the aurally conservative because widespread acceptance of the music it contains was obviously not part of the intent. To say that the six tracks here are boldly experimental is an understatement of epic proportion. 'Pushing the envelope' is a term that gets tossed around way too often but it's nonetheless very applicable to what this cadre of re-mixers deliver on 'Fixed.' Trent was in a legal dispute with his label at the time and, after moving into the infamous house where Charlie Manson's minions committed their heinous homicides, he decided to spend part of his free time inviting engineers and producers whose work he admired to drop into the makeshift studio he'd set up there and have a go at deconstructing his tunes and reconstructing them as they saw fit. The results take the listener into realms where even the most progressive of minds are stretched to their limit of tolerance.

The EP opens with 'Gave Up.' The odd 'electronic bullfrogs in a swamp' motif definitely lets you know you're not in Kansas anymore. Suddenly it switches to a frantically-paced barrage of Reznor's sampled vocals that shoot at you like a spray of bullets before it moves into a phase where he repeats the line 'it took you to make me realize' over and over. The 3rd section of the piece is a liquid-sounding deal that lasts a few minutes until the central theme returns. One of my notes read, 'This sure ain't your granddad's Sinatra LP!' Tribal drum beats draw you into 'Wish.' It features swishing, swirling cascades of white noise that precede a strong electric guitar riff that takes over and assaults your senses. I like the reckless approach taken here in reference to how the real drums are filtered and manipulated in ways I hadn't heard before. The backwards masking technique is also toyed with and it adds a foreign air to the proceedings. Let me issue a warning. The unrelenting power of this cut is near overwhelming. 'Happiness in Slavery' presents a monstrous throb that dominates the track from the get-go. Call it a fashion runway soundtrack for hip but vicious Trolls. (Sorry, writing a review for music like this demands that I tap into the surreal.) What follows that movement is a collision of banshee wails and synth-generated noises that is both brave and edgy.

'Throw This Away' is a melding of two of Trent's compositions, 'Suck' and 'Last.' It's a soundscape of teeming, renegade neurons accompanied by an unadorned bass line that serves as a focal point while an ominous, pounding audio wave approaches. It eventually breaks into an incredibly dense and heavy-handed segment at the end. 'Fist F**k' is next wherein alien car alarms ring out in the distance as a cloud of confusion surrounds and intimidates. Multi-tracked tom toms elicit a feeling of speeding down a dark road in an effort to outrun a pack of nightmarish flying demons. There are stretches of repetition in this mix that remind me of what I sometimes experience when contemplating modern art in that I sense there's a purpose behind the mayhem. They end with 'Screaming Slave.' An indecipherable wall of noise rises like mercury in a porch thermometer, then fluctuates while swarms of irate hornets attack your eardrums. A beat pattern arrives to provide a platform of sorts but this is by far the most outrageous and fearless track of them all. It's not, I repeat, NOT a tune that will impress your girlfriend so don't bother to expose her to it. This is so radical as to be indescribable and so mind-scrambling the CIA should've used it to break captured terrorists. Maybe they did. All I can say is enter this song at your own risk.

Released on Pearl Harbor day in December of 1992, only two and a half months after the milder-in-comparison 'Broken' EP of remixes, 'Fixed' is an adventurous exploration into what early 90s digital technology had to offer out on the extreme fringes. I applaud Reznor and his cohorts for letting their imaginations run amok without concern for reprisal or sarcastic criticism. While it's not music that I often choose to indulge in there's a part of me that finds this crazy stuff as intriguing as Picasso's fascinating forays into cubism. 3.4 stars.

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 And All That Could Have Been by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Live, 2002
3.86 | 18 ratings

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And All That Could Have Been
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The making of a really good live album is an art form in itself. It has to be sufficiently true to the original material to be wholly recognizable to their fan base while containing enough variations in the arrangements to avoid sounding like you're just playing your albums through the sound system. It has to include a certain amount of the crowd ambiance to confirm that there's a genuine performance going on while the group must avoiding pandering to the audience so much that the quality of the music suffers. In other words, there are more than a few fences to be straddled in these endeavors. In the case of Nine Inch Nails there's the added hurdle of taking what was meticulously and often uniquely constructed in the confines of the studio environment and trying to recreate those one-of-a-kind sounds in a concert setting. Now take all those challenges and toss in the raw passion and honest angst that are a big part of this band's compositions and attempt to present a final product to the listener that engages them to the extent that they'll feel like they're sitting in row M, seat 25 on the floor of the arena. All of the musicians on stage are multi-instrumentalists, as well, so keeping everyone on the same page no doubt posed its own set of difficulties. Pulling this kind of thing off is no easy feat even for the simplest of rock outfits but with 'And All That Could Have Been' Trent Reznor and his crew succeed on a remarkable level.

Without any unnecessary fanfare or hoopla Jerome Dillon's drums dive right into the gargantuan opener, 'Terrible Lie,' and right off the bat it's obvious that the technical side of the recording is top notch and it never wavers in its consistency. 'Sin' sports an energetic, up-tempo pace that unquestionably gets the throng out front to their feet. A group is only as good as their rhythm section and Dillon and bassist Danny Lohner punch it hard together throughout. I know that Reznor was still nurturing his severe addiction to alcohol and cocaine during this 'Fragility 2.0' tour but his voice on these songs is overwhelmingly expressive while remaining completely under control so it never poses a problem. (I guess if he was singing Sinatra it might be noticeable but not in this anger-filled milieu.) 'March of the Pigs' with its frantic but distinctive 7/8 time signature roars in next. The tune is as intense as they come but its cliff-hanger dynamics are stunning. 'Piggy' follows and its near-bluesy feel offers a stark contrast within the proceedings that they pull off masterfully. If you're one of those proggers who thinks NIN is just a wall of non-stop cacophony then this number will be a surprise. In the last few minutes they even veer into the outskirts of the jazz realm via Trent's cool piano noodlings. 'The Frail' is a short instrumental piece that features the piano initially, then expands when the cavernous synths join in. From there they segue right into 'The Wretched.' An ominous bass drum pulses underneath Reznor's tortured vocal before the highly infectious guitar riff intrudes to embellish the tune's chorus. Robin Finck's guitar work is compelling yet tastefully restrained. 'Gave Up' possesses a rumbling rhythm pattern that sets it apart from the average rock platform and once again their attention to details in the dynamics pays off. 'The Great Below' has a much more subtle aura surrounding it and it makes for a great change-of-pace moment in the show. The drums are kept out for the first half of the song, allowing the various keyboards to erect an eerie mood that captivates.

Another deliciously sinister atmosphere is constructed around the instrumental, 'The Mark Has Been Made.' Eventually Jerome's heavy drum beat emerges to supply a hypnotic yet powerful drive. The growling guitars and synths are amazingly strong. 'Wish' is a snare-led rocker that I consider the nadir of the concert. Not much finesse here, only straight-ahead head-banging fare from start to end. 'Suck,' a track by Pigface that they covered on 'Broken,' has a rather funky groove that gives it a different flavor from what's come before. The guitar lines are intriguing but the coarse lyric content may prove disturbing to many and that's putting it mildly. Not for the kiddos if you catch my drift. 'Closer' is next and this is a landmark tune that can't fail to incite a reaction because few are this compelling. This unflinching industrial love song achieves perfection as it builds layer by layer to its satisfying climax. They follow that with the terrific 'Head Like a Hole,' another surefire killer cut that's impossible to be indifferent about. 'The Day the World Went Away' calms the throng a bit as they manipulate the tension and suspense that slowly uncoils due to its patient arrangement. It's brilliantly executed. 'Starf**kers, Inc.' is a knock-the-walls-down rocker that's obviously not for the easily offended as it kicks like a mule and takes no prisoners while exposing the ugly underside of the touring rock & roll circus. Their encore is the fabulous 'Hurt,' one of the most haunting and brutally transparent tunes ever written. They deliver it with heart-wrenching emotion and an acute awareness of the fact that the number touches every one of their devotees in attendance profoundly. It'll leave you breathless.

'And All That Could Have Been' is a first-class concert album that deserves respect from both their followers and audiophiles in general. While I can't imagine a live recording ever being termed a masterpiece in my estimation, this one certainly ranks right up there with the best I've heard. Let me put it simply. I wish I would've been there to witness it in person but this comes dang close to the real thing. 4.2 stars.

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 Things Falling Apart by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2000
3.24 | 14 ratings

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Things Falling Apart
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In my book there are three essential qualities that determine whether or not I consider an artist or band to be a true purveyor of progressive rock music. They must be creative. They must be unorthodox. And they must be honest. Without even one of those components they inevitably come up short. They may be a lot of things but they ain't prog. Therefore Trent Reznor and his collective, malleable and ever-changing group known as Nine Inch Nails are a perfect fit for this site. I understand completely if their brand of aural art is about as enjoyable for you as third degree rope burns but the fact remains that they're undeniably playing in a league of their own. I've personally been intrigued by what they produce since I first heard them in the late 80s and thought "Holy smokes! This is definitely not Peter Frampton." Now, I'll admit that NIN's music isn't what I would choose to wind down from a frustrating, tolerance-testing bread & milk run to Walmart nor is it something I listen to regularly, for that matter. But when I'm in the right mood they scratch what itches in me in a way no other entity can and there's a lot to be said for that. I still consider "The Downward Spiral" to be the closest they've come to manufacturing a masterpiece (they missed the coveted fifth star by a millimeter) but they're always consistently rebellious and remarkably unafraid of failure with every work they release whether it's an album or a collection of remixes as is "Things Falling Apart." They don't hold anything back, that's for sure, as they shamelessly make available their handiwork for all to hear and ponder. I kinda like that attitude. Throw it all out there and let the masses sort it out as they please.

This disc opens with the best of the bunch, "Slipping Away." A thunderous beat that sounds like Wreck-it Ralph pounding on the roof sets up a tension-filled atmosphere. Trent and some guy named Alan Moulder did the mixing honors on this song and the one that follows (others did the others) and they patiently build up a collage of guitar and synth riffs before introducing the funky verse section structured around Reznor's anguished repeating of the tune's title. The monstrous bass frequencies they fill the basement with will rattle your sporran. What really intrigues me about this cut is how it manages to convey a relatively simple idea while being highly complex on another level at the same time. "The Great Collapse" is next and it drifts in mysteriously led by some basic piano chords. Soon drums appear sporting a strong beat pattern, traveling underneath a bank of assorted sequenced noises. There's no vocal until the end when Trent warbles a few lines of "This is what it feels like!" but the spare approach does achieve its desired effect. "The Wretched" is also a highlight of the proceedings. A pulsating drone starts things off and persists while Reznor chants "But it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to." Jarringly the drums barge in and forcibly drive the track hard and then an ascending, infectious guitar riff takes over. In the last segment the drums become muffled, adding suspense to the strange aura they've erected. What comes next is the first of three alternate versions of a tune from "The Fragile" album. "Starf**kers, Inc. (Sherwood)" features ominous air-raid sirens wailing over a wild episode of electronic warfare that ensues amidst shouts of the song's not-so-subtle moniker. (Debasing groupies is nothing new. The Rolling Stones included a number containing the same graphic theme on their '73 LP, "Goats Head Soup.") While the overall aura is intense it isn't all that compelling.

"The Frail" offers an interesting change of pace moment by having a real string section flow atop rotating synth notes as well as an odd menagerie of sampled incidentals that dart in and out like fireflies. Brief but intriguing. "Starf**kers, Inc. (Ogilvie)" curiously begins as if it were some kind of modern day pop ditty, then it rapidly descends into a hellish disco motif where some of Trent's irate lyrics stream through the mayhem. Carly Simon's famously snarky line from "You're So Vain" is devilishly delivered with gusto. "Where Is Everybody?" is next. Vague sounds sneak in from under a fog to establish a semi-contemporary groove brightened by electric piano chords. Like the majority of Reznor's compositions the tune's arrangement involves gradual buildups and sudden teardowns but this one lacks focus and tends to meander. Their cover of Gary Numan's "Metal" is a treat, though. The song's obvious New Wave vibe is presented without sarcasm and the somewhat laidback feel allows Trent to do his trademark I'm-singing-right-next-to-your-ear vocalization with lines like "My Mallory heart is sure to fail/I could crawl around the floor/just like I'm real/like you" and "All I know is/no one dies/I'm still confusing love with need." Weird but cool. The second half of the song is surprisingly serene and hypnotic. For "10 Miles High" a hazy onset is followed by a threatening beat and a solemn guitar riff that bursts in to set up the questionable musical premise. While not particularly memorable, it does take the listener through a maze of dynamic movements. "Starf**kers, Inc." brings up the rear. This time a throbbing bass drum is surrounded by what sounds like whirring mechanical machine-generated effects. It's a parade of unnerving and seemingly random series of synthetic bells and whistles that add up to be a crazed experiment that falls short of being able to engage even the most liberal of prog ears.

"Things Falling Apart" was released on November 21, 2000 and was met with a mix of confusion and cautious acceptance in the ranks of their fans. Critics in general issued brutally nasty reviews and rendered awful assessments of its content. I'm on the fence but I can assure you it's far from being a trash heap. I find it alternately alluring and repulsive and that doesn't bother me at all. It's important to note that Trent Reznor was in the throes of a horrible addiction to alcohol and cocaine at the time and his substance abuse no doubt affected his ability to discern what was inventive from what was indulgent at times and this album reflects a certain amount of that deficiency. Genius or no, his afflictions certainly played a part in determining what came tumbling out of his imagination. Sometimes being brutally transparent can be a benefit and sometimes it can be detrimental. "Things Falling Apart" clearly displays both sides of the coin and we fans can at least rejoice in the fact that Trent finally defeated his demons in the years that followed and moved on. 2.9 stars.

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 Hesitation Marks by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.70 | 36 ratings

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Hesitation Marks
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Julianofprog

5 stars relicsofprogrock.wordpress.com

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Strictly speaking this is no prog-rock album. Nevertheless, my brief foray into NIN's back catalogue has convinced me of the progressive nature of much of Trent Reznor's output. The latest offering is nothing short of spectacular, with haunting passages, electronic atmospheres and samplings of minimal techno thrown in for good measure. Personal highlights include 'Come Back Haunted', 'Find My Way' and 'I Would For You'. The only weak track on the album is 'Everything', which is (if I can be excused) 3 minutes of dire pop-punk and feels completely at odds with the rest of this dark, industrial album. As with every great experimental album, repeated listens produce greater and greater effects, and here these effects are quite disturbing. The track I've attached, in collaboration with the original powerhouse of the industrial scene Genesis P-Orridge is likely to scare the living daylights out of you, though my frequent daily listens might point towards a bizarre masochistic attachment in me. It is testament to the quality of the track that I'm sufficiently engrossed to overlook a cynical contemplation on Genesis (Breyer) P ? Orridge's latest gender mutation/body modification/amalgamation with wife/husband/collection of dildos.*

*Actually scrap that, it's really odd. If you don't believe me look it up. He even refers to himself as 'we', because he/she also represents his/her dead wife in this world.

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 Hesitation Marks by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.70 | 36 ratings

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Hesitation Marks
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by progbethyname

4 stars **Review for 2cd Deluxe Edition Halo 28**

 Trent Reznor is no longer Mr. Self Destruct. 

Winding the clock back to 1994 we, as listeners, were sonically assaulted by the massively innovative and powerful album, The Downward Spiral. It was then we witnessed main composer/song writer, Trent Reznor in an ugly place in his life personally and it was greatly reflective in his music. Many emotions like fear, self loathing, pain, pressure and heartbreak gave us a pretty good idea how Mr. Reznor wanted to carry out his vision as an artist. Not mention an overburdening drug and alcohol addiction was a dark catalyst to create such haunting, rough and freakishly unbelievable catchy pieces of music like Eraser, Closer, Reptile, The Downward Spiral and of course Mr. Self Destruct, which in my opinion was a song that really typified how Reznor wanted to be known to others, mostly by how he was to be viewed as an artist. I got the message loud and clear and it chilled every bone in my 13 year-old body at the time. 

Fast forward the clock to the present to what is now an unbelievable year in the Prog music world (2013) and we are graced with Trent Reznor, under the moniker of Nine Inch Nails once again with Hesitation Marks, which marks the 8th full-length studio album with in the NIN tenure. Many people, including myself have been anxiously waiting for 5 years for what Trent Reznor would create next under the NIN project and to what kind of mood he would be in seeing as how Reznor is now presently, a 48 year-old man. 

The Nine Inch Nails team also sees a few line up changes as well from Mr. Reznor. Out are Robin Finck, Charlie Clouser, Chris Vrenna, Josh Freese and Justin Meldal-Johnson. In, are Pino Palladino (Bass) Adrian Belew( Guitars/backing vocals/additional programming) and Alessandro Cortini (Electronic effects/program direction.) Some other session musicians and hired guns by Reznor are brought into the NIN fold as well with Eugene Goreshter (Electronic Effects/Strings) Linsay Buckingham ( Guitar) and Iian Rubin ( Live Drums.) However, despite some line up changes the main core team still exists with Alan Moulder (sound mixing/producer) Atticus Ross (Producer/Sound Arranger) and Rob Sheridian (Art Direction/Photography.)  

Continuing on, and it is interesting to note that Hesitation Marks is an album that is a reflection of Trent Reznor's personality by how he has grown more comfortable in life by excepting who he is as a person and as an artist, since the Downward Spiral days. So, instead of the mostly hard and scary stuff from the Mr. Self Destruct era you'll find that Hesitation Marks is an album of personal growth and maturity from Mr. Reznor himself. More importantly, as a listener and a big fan of NIN, one should not expect anything musically similar or relating to The Downward Spiral. Those days are over. The only thing that is similar to The Downward Spiral album is the cover art done by the very same artist, Russel Mills which was purposely done by Reznor to signify how the spiral has now moved in a more upward, less disturbing nature this time around with the Hesitation Marks album. Personally, Some people will be happy, others won't and some like myself will sort of lie in between and try to digest the new flavor of sounds that Reznor has created since the grinding industrial, slightly gothic and rough electronic sequences of circa  1989 to 1999. 

Listening to Hesitation Marks for the first time I was not blown away at all and I found myself pondering why has NIN under Reznor gone even more commercial/accessible sounding than the pop/ electro dance based album that is 2007's Year-Zero ? I just wasn't sure what to think after that first listen, so like any fan or music appreciator I gave the album a few more spins, and finally by the 4th listen it hit me like a ton of bricks where by I personally felt happy, self reflective and easy going when listening to Hesitation Marks. I realized that was the point, the message and heart of it all ! I could feel the different side of Reznor's personality resonating through his music. NIN has done their job with me and here is why. 

Hesitation Marks carries a creative, wide variety of accessible sounds that will grow on you like you wouldn't believe. Starting off with the joined track The Eater of Dreams/Copy of A, I was greated with a slightly eerie dial tone sounding electronic piece that is reminiscent of a strange form of morse code. The Eater of Dreams is a short little intro that was composed by Alessandro Cortini, and it marks one of his few contributions to the album, but sets the stage nicely for Copy of A, which is a track that is probably Reznor's least sophisticated song lyrically, but the tech house laden song does carry some interesting transitions and has a killer chorus that is incredibly catchy. Very enjoyable song. Next is the infamous single 'Come Back Haunted' which of course is one of the most radio friendly songs on this album. Its a fun song, that is highly danceable and has great electronic loops and rhythms by Cortini, which makes one really can't help but to bust a move or 2 to this electro tech based creature. Skipping to the next song, which is 'Find My Way' is really the most defining moment lyrically and musically for the Hesitation Marks album. 'Find My Way' is a ballad song, that is soft and a heart felt song which is accompanied by Reznor's beautiful classically trained grand piano sound, that will leave you feeling a little bit sober due it's emotional feel. 'Find My Way' is also one of the albums main messages about self acceptance and understanding one's place in life according to Mr. Reznor of course. Next comes 'All Time Low' which for me, and forgive my play on words here, is my all time low point on the album as a whole. 'All Time Low' carries far too much of a commercially based dance song sound, with an out of place guitar performance by ex King Crimson guitarist, Adrian Belew. For me, it just didn't work but the additional electronic effects and percussion by Reznor helped make the song reasonably tolerable for me. 'Disappointed' is the next song and it's quite an interesting piece of music that didn't leave me feeling disappointed. Reznor gets a little more edgy and the song has a darker sound overall complete with interesting, eerie electronic sound effects and string sounding effects done by Eugene Goreshter, which in my opinion makes the track so much more interesting and enjoyable. Moving on to the song,'Everything' really through me for a loop and you'll really hear a different side of Reznor musically here. 'Everything' is a track that is unlike anything NIN have ever done. It carries a funky, shoe Gaze chorus by Reznor and I have to say it didn't really work for me and I found it completely odd, although I do respect the different flavor of sound Reznor was trying to invoke here. The backing vocals by Belew was not a nice touch to my ears either. Sadly, 'Everything' is a real bummer of a track, but not 'satellite' which is my opinion one of the better tracks on the album and it has exceptional sounding distorted guitars by Belew with a classic dance, electronic feel that is very Depeche Mode sounding. The song ends with a crescendo of Choir sounding vocals by Reznor, which is very reminiscent to the classic NIN song 'The Day The World Went Away' that featured choral performances  from the 'Chanting Buddha Boys Choir.' A beautiful touch if you ask me and it would continue in parts of the next gem track on the list, 'Various Methods of Escape.' I adore this song and it has one of the strongest, most Catchy choruses done by NIN, since 'Head Down' off 'The Slip' album. Again, the clever choir sounding chanting background vocals done by Belew and Reznor sounds fantastic. Also, with the use of The Dulcitone from Reznor, which is an electronically mimicking sound of the Dulcimer of course is a creative edition as well, and 'Various Methods of Escape' is yet another track on the album that poignantly states the mood of Mr. Reznor by the way he incites lyrically about keeping the evil, addiction demons at bay by hiding and running from them any chance you get. Sometimes Mr. Self Destruct is not allowed to come out and play, which brings us to 'Running' and I was hoping would be a song about marathons, but of course this is not the case where by 'Running' is another tech-house track, which features an extremely odd sounding instrument called a Wheelharp. The instrument sounds like a screechy, strange combination of a Harpsichord and a Hurdy Gurdy. As aberrant as the Wheelharp may be to me I still feel it worked very well for the 'Running' track and explicitly depicts nicely how to keep your 'demons' at bay from the songs theme point of view. Now, we come to track 11 called 'I Would For You' and this the only song on the album that features live drums instead of the use of an EDM that is all over the Hesitation Marks album. This is done courtesy of Ilan Rubin (yes. It's music producer's Rick Rubin's son.) Also, the guitars and backing vocals done by Reznor and Belew are quite good and soar nicely, but the main chorus of the song by Reznor is quite weak and not very catchy. This is the last weak point on the album for me cause the rest of the tracks 'In Two' and the Joined track 'While I'm Still Here/Black Noise' you could argue strongly that these are the very best tracks on the album. 'In Two' features a ton of interesting transitions of musical tempo while carrying a darker edge overall in sound, and string instruments such as the Violin are provided by Eugene Goreshter once again. Lastly, we come to the grande finale and what I think is the very best work done by NIN on this album with, 'While I'm Still Here/Black Noise.' The song, 'While I'm Still Here' is a very special track because it features something never done by Trent Reznor under NIN label, and that is the use of a Saxaphone! That's right, Reznor at about the 3:45min mark of 'While I'm Still Here' track comes in with a Saxaphone of all instruments, and it's nothing to get overly excited about since the Trent Sax piece is quite short and not very bombastic at all, but nonetheless I was shocked to hear the saxophone on a NIN record. Furthermore, as the Sax piece fades listeners are brought into the very short, ominously dark conclusion of the Hesitation Marks album with 'Black Noise' and having the album end on a darker note one can't help but wonder if Mr. Self Destruct will return again...someday. Anyway you slice it, I felt 'Black Noise' was an awesome end to a very different NIN album overall. 

Moreover, for The Hesitation Marks Deluxe Edition contains a 2nd disc that is a scanty 3 track remix of songs 'Find My Way' 'All Time Low' and 'While I'm Still Here' from other Dj's and music collaborators that Reznor has chosen to work with. The only remix I found interesting or worth mentioning here is the remix for 'Find My Way.' I this version of the song even better than the already fantastic original. It's called the (Oneohtrix Point Never remix) which I have no idea what that means, but it's a very clever remix that is a bit faster than the original and is far more electronic based, and this version of the song eliminates the grand piano sound that was originally done by Reznor but it works very well with darker electronic effects instead. Secondly, the album contains beautifully expanded photographic artwork for each track courtesy of Rob Sheridan. This really adds to the mood and character of the album on a physical level. Of course all of this is housed in a beautiful hard cover case with a soft-suede service, which in my opinion is really cool and very much adds to the quality and presentation of this version of the album. I wouldn't expect anything less from the NIN team and Russell Mills's artwork is absolutely gripping. So lovely on a twisted level in so many ways. 

To conclude, Hesitation Marks I cannot say is a mandatory must have for passionately traditional progressive rock listener, but for the Hardcore Nine Inch Nails fan it definitely is and this is how I've chosen to review this album, which is from a the hardcore  fans perspective like my self. I also must admit, that my main passion and love lies in the harder, darker days of the NIN tenure where albums like 'Pretty Hate Machine' 'The Downward Spiral' 'Further Down The Spiral' and of course the dense and intense 'The Fragile' were the albums that were a big part of my teen years and they hold a very special place with me considering the fact that those albums brought me closure to loving harder and more electronically based music that had a major edge to it, but I understand now the mood and direction Reznor wanted to take with Hesitation Marks and I find that it is a very acceptable and creative output from a man who has found some peace and semblance in his life. Most importantly, the difference engine is still running strong and I just want to thank Trent Reznor and the NIN team for making incredible and unpredictable music for so many years. I still have yet to be massively let down or disappointed with any Trent Reznor NIN project releases and Hesitation Marks is certainly neither, but my youthful child still cries out and yearns for 'Mr. Self Destruct' to come out and play for at least one more time, but that would be a double edged-sword now wouldn't it...I think?

4/5

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 Broken by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.32 | 34 ratings

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Broken
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars This release gets 4 out of 5 stars as possibly Trent Reznor's best. It's unusual to say that about half an hour's worth of music. However, its conciseness is its strongest selling point. NIN's next effort, "The Downward Spiral", is brilliant. However, over an hour's worth of anger and misery can be draining. "Broken" is definitely more aggressive than "Pretty Hate Machine". In my mind, that's a very good thing.

At roughly 30 minutes, "Broken" succeeds emotionally IMO. Favorite tracks are "Wish", "Help Me I Am In Hell', and "Happiness in Slavery". However, everything here is worth listening to. I've always thought that it was strange/funny that Trent was covering an Adam Ant song, of all things. However, injecting "Physical" with his own angst in a typical NIN arrangement works. I think the song points to what makes NIN's work successful; it's so musical. For all the rage in Trent's music, he can write strong melodies and lyrics. That's why "Broken" is NIN at their almost best, if not best.

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 Ghosts I-IV by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.93 | 61 ratings

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Ghosts I-IV
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by progbethyname

5 stars A PIECE OF MUSIC THAT WILL CHILL YOU TO THE BONE WHILE SEDATING YOU PEACEFULLY. 

This is to date, TRENT REZOR's strongest prog-related release with 36 incredible, chilling and mesmerizing instrumental tracks. GHOSTS is a dual disc album that is an essential example of how dark gothic, industrial electronic soundscapes can make its way into the 'progressive' category of music. I highly recommend this album to listeners who really appreciate dark-ambient electronic music. Fans of TANGERINE DREAM's RICOCHET will highly identify with this album because of its dark and moody feel. 

Meanwhile, this is an essential prog album because of the category it is under and being an industrial synth, computer generated masterpiece that it is it shall be respected as the best prog example for this kind of music. Enjoy my fellow proggers. GHOSTS is a real treat and a good find. REZNOR collaborated with ATTICUS ROSS on this record and some songs where featured on the motion picture soundtrack for THE SOCIAL NETWORK, which earned REZNOR And ROSS an OSCAR award! High praise indeed, but well deserved. GHOSTS, I believe, can appeal to generations both young and old. 

Turn the lights off and crank this double album through the best pair of Headphones you got. You won't be sorry.

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 The Slip by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.10 | 40 ratings

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The Slip
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The Slip finds Trent Reznor in an uncharacteristically bad mood - and why shouldn't it? Having finally untangled himself from the contract tangle he'd been caught up in ever since the Pretty Hate Machine era, and having won critical acclaimed and proved that he could do without a record company altogether with the superb Ghosts I-IV release, things were looking pretty bright at this point for him.

The Slip, I think, is meant to be an expression of that. The title is clearly meant to refer to how he gave the record companies "the slip" and escaped their clutches; on top of that, this is some of the most outright happy music Trent's ever put out. Sure, there's still his breathy, angsty vocals, but those beats don't lie: this is a bouncy NIN party album.

Apparently it was originally meant to be an EP but Reznor found himself on a creative roll and ended up making it a full-length; to be honest, I'd say that whilst it's a fun industrial dance album it's no Pretty Hate Machine, so perhaps a bit of editing back down to EP length might have been called for. To be honest, at this point I think it was pretty clear that Reznor's creativity was far more in tune with the ambient soundscapes of Ghosts than the pop-industrial of his past - and his critically acclaimed soundtrack work in collaboration with Atticus Ross since then for The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo rather bears that out. At the same time, I can't hold The Slip against Reznor too much, since he did at least release this as a free download.

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 Ghosts I-IV by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.93 | 61 ratings

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Ghosts I-IV
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Possibly my favourite Nine Inch Nails release, Ghosts I-IV finds Trent Reznor fully indulging a side of his music which had only surfaced as very occasional instrumental snippets on previous albums (aside from the Quake soundtrack). This fully instrumental ambient industrial album is essentially Reznor's answer to Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, immersed as it is in an experimental tradition which can be traced back by the attentive listener to the electronic delvings of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp back in the 1970s. (Fripp sideman Adrian Belew even appears on some tracks.) All the sonic genius of Reznor with none of the embarrassingly bad lyrics or insincere stabs at the mainstream? Yes, please!

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 Year Zero by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.16 | 48 ratings

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Year Zero
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars With Teeth heralded the most prolific phase of Trent Reznor's career; getting within reach of finally fulfilling his contract with Interscope (a contract he only entered into in order to free himself from TVT, his original record company, and which he had always somewhat resented) clearly seems to have inspired the man because with Year Zero - released in an unprecedently short period of time - he sprints across the finish line to the wonderland of creative freedom awaiting him.

Unfortunately, the album itself feels just a little bit incomplete. The uncharitable might suggest it's little more than a quick knock-off intended to end the Interscope contract without the indignity of a Metal Machine Music-level piss-take, but I actually think Reznor wanted to make a serious effort to make the album work - if he didn't care about it, he wouldn't have put so much effort into the promotional teaser campaign and ARG (alternate reality game) intended to promote the album's concept. Rather, I think the problem with the album is that it isn't constructed to stand alone as a decent piece of music in its own right - it exist to stand at the centre of a multimedia "event". Removed from that context - and most people who come to it at this point in time aren't going to want to have to mess around reading up on the promotional ARG and all that gubbins - it's a decidedly inferior work.

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