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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.

Wh...
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Bad WitchBad Witch
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The Downward Spiral [2 LP]The Downward Spiral [2 LP]
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Broken [LP/7Broken [LP/7" Combo]
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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)

3.44 | 99 ratings
Pretty Hate Machine
1989
4.05 | 131 ratings
The Downward Spiral
1994
3.98 | 113 ratings
The Fragile
1999
3.14 | 67 ratings
With Teeth
2005
3.18 | 65 ratings
Year Zero
2007
3.92 | 86 ratings
Ghosts I-IV
2008
3.15 | 53 ratings
The Slip
2008
3.64 | 49 ratings
Hesitation Marks
2013

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

4.26 | 23 ratings
And All That Could Have Been
2002

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

4.11 | 9 ratings
Closure
1997
3.48 | 14 ratings
And All That Could Have Been
2002
3.56 | 22 ratings
Beside You in Time
2007

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

3.31 | 24 ratings
Further Down the Spiral
1995
3.17 | 17 ratings
Things Falling Apart
2000
2.38 | 15 ratings
Year Zero Remixed
2007

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

2.38 | 10 ratings
Down In It
1989
2.72 | 12 ratings
Head Like a Hole
1990
4.00 | 8 ratings
Sin
1990
4.00 | 3 ratings
Happiness in Slavery
1992
3.54 | 48 ratings
Broken
1992
3.30 | 18 ratings
Fixed
1992
3.83 | 10 ratings
March of the Pigs
1994
3.87 | 14 ratings
Closer to God
1994
4.71 | 7 ratings
Hurt
1994
3.75 | 4 ratings
NINJA tour sampler
2009
2.28 | 10 ratings
Came Back Haunted
2013
2.67 | 3 ratings
Not The Actual Events
2016
2.21 | 5 ratings
Add Violence
2017

NINE INCH NAILS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 With Teeth by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.14 | 67 ratings

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With Teeth
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the huge success of 'The Downward Spiral' and 'The Fragile' along with some EPs thrown in there for good measure, Trent Reznor was riding high, but was also battling with drug and alcohol addiction. Also, during this time, Reznor faced writers block. This was not a good time for Nine Inch Nails, or the fans. The public was getting restless for a new NIN album. 'And All That Could Have Been' was released in 2002 and it was a double album, one disc live, the other studio tracks. This was an excellent album, and worked to appease the fans for the time being.

Fast forward to 2005 before Reznor was ready to release another album. Excitement was generated when news started coming in that an album was on it's way. When the album did finally come out, it shot right up the charts. People were expecting that loud and inventive music that Trent was know for, the same wildness and ingenuity that existed before.

For the most part, the critics and the fans were happy with this album. I know I was happy with it, but there was a little something missing in there that was hard to pinpoint. Nevertheless, this is a decent album, not quite as major of a release as the previous albums, but it was still satisfying. The album was originally supposed to be a concept album with songs and music dealing with the way addiction can lead to either a downfall or to recovery. By the time the album was finished however, Trent admitted it wasn't a concept album except for maybe in a loose sense where the songs could be listened to individually, but would also fit together nicely as 'friends'.

Right off the bat, you can tell things are different in that the first track doesn't come blasting out at full volume like you would expect. However, there is a lot of tension in 'All the Love in the World' and it builds and builds. There was some electronics, but there was also some organic sounds that were mixed to the front, piano and percussion. This was a pleasant surprise. But the way the music builds and builds is just what this album need to start it off, and by the time you reach the end, your heart is racing and your blood is boiling, and hallelujah, NIN is back!

'You Know What You Are?' follows as an upbeat and loud track and carries on with the excitement. 'The Collector' veers off in a progressive direction with some interesting and constant meter changes, and you end up with a great track that continues in the same style as previously, and by now, you are convinced that NIN is back with a vengeance. Things would be amazing if only they would follow this same trend through the album.

But this is the point where we seem to lose the forward motion of the previous tracks. 'The Hand That Feeds' is only a straightforward rock song and sounded pretty typical for the time, so it was released as a single. This same straightforwardness continues through 'Love is Not Enough' and 'Every Day is Exactly the Same' not that these are bad tracks, they just don't have anything really different and unique about them. So things begin to get a little disappointing at this part of the album.

'With Teeth', the title track, brings the hope back however, and sounds a lot more inventive and unique, especially with the sudden drop in volume and intensity in the middle of the track where things become more ambient and spacey for a while and builds back up. Great use of dynamics in this track. 'Only' is another single from the album, and is an excellent reminder of the greatness of past NIN hits, and, even though the beat is steady and pretty standard, it is very catchy and the variation of instrumentation in the background keep things interesting and exciting. The chorus is repetitive, but it is easy to see why this song would be considered another anthem in NIN's repertoire.

'Getting Smaller' starts out with some great noisy and industrial sounding effects, but it soon lapses into mediocrity with a rapid fire beat and a song sounding too much like it's trying to repeat past successes, and only succeeding in sounding copycat more than reminiscent of the older NIN. 'Sunspots' has a great bass line, but other than that, it is nothing special again. There are some places in these two songs that approach being industrial, but the effects aren't enough to carry the song into greatness as before.

'The Line Begins to Blur' is a attempt to return to the slow, dark sound of 'March of the Pigs' et al, and it does so, but after following a couple of more commercial sounding tracks, it loses it's effectiveness. By itself, it would probably fit quite comfortable in the loudness of previous albums, but with it's placement on this album, it loses its power. 'Beside You in Time' is a study in tension with somewhat subdued vocals, and tension building over a drone. This one is better, and more unique. This would be a hint at the type of great music exploration on the album 'Ghosts'. 'Right Where It Belongs' ends the original release, but it is a little weak especially considering the previous track. Again, it isn't a bad song, but it is not the finale you expect to hear after the song preceding it.

Overall, this is still a great NIN release, and in the complete context, is a good album. Unfortunately, there are weak points among the very strong points. There is hope that the NIN of the past is still there, but there are tracks when that special something is missing, probably because Trent is experimenting with other styles and sounds. There is nothing wrong with this, and in this case, it doesn't completely destroy the album, but for a while, things won't get any better in the next album 'Year Zero'. Still, 'With Teeth' still manages to come out it all as a solid 4 star album.

 And All That Could Have Been by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Live, 2002
4.26 | 23 ratings

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And All That Could Have Been
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is the explosive live album released in 2002, at the height of Nine Inch Nails' popularity. Even though it was released in that year, the performances were from the year 2000. Trent released it as a transitory album between 'The Fragile' and 'With Teeth'. The album is, in reality, a double album, with disc 1 being the concert disc and disc 2 being a studio/live album named 'Still'. The listing in Prog Archives only has the track listing for the live Disc One. I will talk about the second disc later.

The live disc comes from the Fragility 2.0 tour. The tour consisted of a full band even though most of the songs on their original studio versions were recorded by Trent doing almost all of the instruments, mostly computer controlled synths with occasional guests. To turn what was mostly electronics previously to be performed on standard instruments is quite a feat in itself. The live disc is definitely loud, but it makes the sudden dynamic changes when they happen even more effective. The production and mixing is excellent. The audience can be heard between songs, but is mixed way down during the songs, which is great. Even though there is nothing new here, the songs prove how rousing they are in a live environment, and you can hear differences in their sound which makes them fresh, but recognizable at the same time. This has to be, in my opinion, one of the best live albums ever released. The music and the sound is superb, the performances excellent, the music exciting and even the order of the tracks is perfect. You can really feel the excitement of the live concert, and you feel like you are right there. There is a video release that contains all of these tracks, plus several others, but they are in a different order, and I can't say if this affects the overall experience, but my guess is that it is also excellent given the quality of this recording. Trent has said of this tour that he has a hard time watching himself because he was in such rough shape at the time and felt he wasn't giving the best performances during this time. I don't notice any problems with his performances, and if this isn't his best, then I can only imagine how great his best is. As with other NIN albums of this time period, they are not for the easily offended nor the faint of ear. It's not all just a loud wall of sound though, there are plenty of dynamic changes and slower, yet dark, tracks, but the overall feel is loud.

So disc 2 is not included on the above Prog Archives track listing. It can almost be considered a new album, except for the fact that 4 of the tracks are versions of previously released songs in a live, deconstructed setting (again with a full band), and 5 are new-to-this-album, unreleased songs. The new songs are mostly formed from themes that were rejected on the 'One Hour Photo' soundtrack.

This part of the album starts with 'Something I Can Never Have' in it's 'deconstructed' form. This song was originally from the debut album 'Pretty Hate Machine' and was also included on the movie 'Natural Born Killers'. This version is all acoustic with Trent on piano and John Dillon (NIN's ex drummer) on acoustic guitar. This version turns the song into a heartbreaking ballad about loss and depression. It is amazingly beautiful and heartfelt. The lyrics are even that much more powerful in this setting.

The 2nd track is original to this recording. Trent states that this instrumental is a continuation or conclusion of 'La Mer' from 'The Fragile'. It is a mostly sparse and stark instrumental using piano and some percussive instrument that sounds like a combination of marimba and steel drums. It is short, but builds effectively to the end.

Next is the deconstructed version of 'The Fragile' from the album of the same name. This one is very quiet, except for Trent's own emotion through his vocals. The backup consists of electric piano sparingly played which is later joined by bass, which is also followed by a fading in of drums. Tension builds through the bridge of the song, ending with sustained guitar.

'The Becoming' from 'The Downward Spiral' in this instance is very percussive through the first verse, then joined by piano and base with a plucked sound and sparse guitar. Again, most of the dynamics here are in Trent's emotional vocals. This is a very inventive version of the song, and almost better than the original in this version. The tension is very prevalent throughout this version.

'Gone, Still' is the 5th track and is another original. It is also an instrumental, again sparse, but this time with guitar, piano and synths. The guitar and piano play repetitive melodies and the synths provide texture. The title definitely reflects the feeling of the track.

'The Day the World Went Away' comes next in it's new form. It did appear on the live portion of the album on CD 1. This time, it is even more sparse starting out with only guitar. The 2nd verse builds on this by adding a persistent slow beat and plucked/strummed acoustic guitar. Piano also joins in almost giving it a bright sound, but the bright tone gets flattened as the song goes on.

'And All That Could Have Been', the title track of the entire album, is an outtake from 'The Fragile' that was unused before this point. It is a complex song, dark starting out slow and building tension as it continues. The vocals here are from Trent of course, first sounding far away, but suddenly getting louder. The verses are in 7/4, the chorus in 4/4 and the mostly instrumental bridge in 6/8. Dynamics are used quite intelligently in both vocals and instruments. This reminds me of 'Signal to Noise' from Peter Gabriel as far as the structure, feeling and tension building goes, just without the orchestration.

'The Persistence of Loss' is an apt title for this beautiful instrumental. It is based on a repeating motif that starts out quiet and then other instruments start to layer in, including horns. The repeating motif, which lasts 10 meters on each instance, is reflective of the 'persistence' and the sadness/slowness of the piece reflects the loss. The added instruments represent memories.

'Leaving Hope' is another slow paced instrumental driven by piano with tense sound effects, supposedly built from past vocals that have been treated so they sound more like electric current running than they do vocals. This is another pensive yet lovely track. Sustained and treated guitars come in later adding mostly texture and feeling to the track.

This 2nd CD to this album proves Trent's ingenuity and musicianship. His music isn't simply industrial rock or loud noise, you can hear, especially in these more sparse tracks, that he is an amazing composer. You have to listen closer in his louder music, but here, it is more evident. I highly recommend this entire package as an essential album that bears testament to the amazing music of NIN and Trent Reznor. It gives you a chance to hear the power of NIN in concert and also in a more quiet setting, just so you can experience for yourself how amazing this music really is. Like I said, this is one of the best live recordings out there, and the addition of 'Still' solidifies this by making this album that much more of a must have. 5 stars.

 Add Violence by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2017
2.21 | 5 ratings

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Add Violence
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

2 stars As much as I wanted to like this EP, I just can't call it anything but mediocre at best. This was the second in what was supposed to be a series of 3 EPs released after "Hesitation Marks". It starts out well enough with "Less Than" which was also released as a single. This one sounds a lot like the way NIN used to sound, hard and straightforward. This is the kind of song I used to love from NIN, so things seem positive at the beginning. However, this track sounds nothing like the rest of the EP. The next track is "The Lovers" which seems dark, but vocals are mostly spoken and the track, though it shows some promise, never really goes anywhere. The music is sounding more like electro-industrial without much of an edge. The 3rd and 4th tracks have even less substance. Sure, it's great that NIN was experimenting with different sounds, and they did that quite well with the "Ghosts" CD, but this time it falls flat.

The 5th track is a strange one. "The Background World" starts out really well, and you actually have an 11 minute track here. The first 4 minutes of this track is a definite 5-star song, but there is a sudden change as a looped sequence starts to repeat itself. This goes on for the rest of the track, but listening closely, you start to hear background noise come in. The noise and fuzz slowly get louder over the next 7 minutes as the loop continues, until it completely takes over the loop sequence. So, what was the background becomes the foreground and vice versa. By the time the track expires (that's what it does, simply expires) the noise sounds more like an industrial drone. There is nothing wrong with drones, but the loop repeated ad naseum and the continual noise get very annoying.

This seems like a failed attempt at finding a new sound. I give NIN props for trying, but I don't feel the same passion for the music (except for the first track and the first part of the last track). Maybe the last EP will be better. It is now considered an LP which will be released later in June 2018. It will only be around 30 minutes and Trent wanted to change the designation to LP because he felt that EPs get lost in all the singles that get released, which he probably has a good point. The good news is the plan is to still only charge the price of an EP. Anyway, this EP is not worth looking for unless you are a collector or fan.

 The Downward Spiral by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1994
4.05 | 131 ratings

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The Downward Spiral
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant, Crossover & Neo Teams

4 stars Come back to my younger days. One of the most important creations - both for NIN (aka Trent REZNOR) and the alternative industrial rock scene - 'The Downward Spiral' released in 1994 should have exactly amazed me in my 'non-progfreak' days. In those days I've got immersed in novel alternative pop / rock like 'Nevermind' (Nirvana) or 'Vs.' (Pearl Jam) but a tad got bored with media-oriented tunes or creations. Although it's said in general NIN has made his progressive identity just in the following album 'The Fragile' indeed, Trent's squeeze kinda starshine into my brain, with his EP 'Broken' in 1992. His second full-length album 'The Downward Spiral' featuring violent electronic explosions and ironic acoustic texture can be called as a sort of development for progressive industrial hardcore, let me say ... and honest to say, also for me, it should have been a stairway to progressive rock world.

The first brilliance 'Mr. Self Destruct' is Trent's musical collective at that moment. Extreme sound violence, expressive loud electronic craziness, impressive improvised guitar riffs by Adrian (I didn't know at that moment, shamefully!) ... on the contrary, the following one 'Piggy' is cold, bluesy, and mysteriously quiet, featuring Trent's quirky voices. 'March Of The Pigs', that has appeared in Billboard Hot 100 and disappeared very soon, sounds like a delicious but rough desert lunch with an acoustic dessert at last. Another similar case can be heard whilst the latter section in this album, especially between 'A Warm Place' and 'Eraser' ... surrealistic moment and infernal end. Basically this stuff consists of exaggerated loudness and weird quietness one after another. This contrast was (and is even currently) innovative. Old but novel, in conclusion.

 Broken by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.54 | 48 ratings

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Broken
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by 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.

 Fixed by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.30 | 18 ratings

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Fixed
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars I think it's interesting that NINE INCH NAILS' music is categorized on this site as Crossover Prog, as opposed to Progressive Electronic. Is it based on the idea that Trent Reznor writes what most people would consider actual songs? I am a very big fan of NINE INCH NAILS. I rarely listen to any other bands who play electronically-based music, for lack of a better term.

Over all, I enjoyed Fixed quite a bit. This EP is as much the work of Trent's collaborators as it is Trent's. Their radical tweakings of Trent's songs are mostly compelling. The nine minute version of "Wish", surprisingly, is probably my favorite. Unless you know the Broken EP very well, I wouldn't choose these remixes first. However, this is an interesting 40 minutes of music. Since, we're not allowed half stars in our rating system, I'm going to bump this up to 4.

 Broken by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1992
3.54 | 48 ratings

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Broken
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars At the time of Nine Inch Nails' now-classic EP Broken, band leader Trent Reznor was in the midst of a protracted legal battle with his record company, who demanded that the follow-up recording be in a similar style to his debut, Pretty Hate Machine. This was the first of many difficulties Reznor faced with record companies that would ultimately lead to his going independent for several years, and this record could hardly have sounded more different from its predecessor. It's a scathing blast of white-hot rage full of screams and dissonance, and it's just plain heavier than anything else Reznor has released before or since (except maybe the remixes of this album found on Fixed).

In terms of quality, this record represents Reznor's first unqualified classic. "Wish" deservedly won a Grammy Award (Reznor joked that he wanted his gravestone to read "Said 'fist f#%k', won a Grammy"), and the rest of the album lives up to the quality of this track. The only let-up in intensity until the bonus tracks is the brief instrumental "Help Me I Am in Hell", which maintains a similar mood as the rest of the EP but turns the volume down. It also presages the direction Reznor would take on the following albums.

The two songs at the end are somewhat more light-hearted than the rest of the EP, especially the Adam and the Ants cover "Physical (You're So)". Reznor makes this song and the Pigface cover "Suck" his own, and they help to make the EP more than an unrelenting blast of rage. But as far as that particular emotion goes, Reznor has never topped it.

 Pretty Hate Machine by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.44 | 99 ratings

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Pretty Hate Machine
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by CassandraLeo

4 stars Pretty Hate Machine doesn't sound like a debut album, and in truth this is because it isn't. Nine Inch Nails' main creative force and sole constant band member Trent Reznor had actually recorded an entire album's worth of songs before this album, but the recordings were shelved and to this day haven't been released. When the album came out the band's record company tried to pigeonhole them as a synth-pop act (which would lead to a protracted legal battle when they demanded a follow-up album in the same style), and listening to it twenty-six years later it's not that difficult to see why. This is much more tuneful and, often, upbeat material than Reznor would become known for later in his career. "Head Like a Hole" is almost an anthemic singalong, while "The Only Time" is almost ecstatic.

The quality of the material here is high for a debut, and the only thing that keeps me from giving it a perfect rating is that Reznor would write better (and more progressive) material later. Regardless, there aren't any major missteps here, though a few songs are less powerful than the album's highlights. "Down in It" apes Skinny Puppy by its creator's own admission; "Kinda I Want To" is an early stab at industrial that doesn't quite gel. But the best material here - amongst it "Head Like a Hole", a scathing attack on greed and capitalism; the anti-religious "Terrible Lie"; the harrowing addiction confessional "Sanctified"; the heartbroken "Something I Can Never Have"; the heartbroken "Sin"; the lustful "The Only Time"; the haunting "Ringfinger" - has deservedly entered the rock canon.

This album isn't as progressive as much of Reznor's later material, but the one-two punch of "Sanctified"-"Something I Can Never Have" probably qualifies the record as being at least "prog-related". Four enthusiastic stars.

 Ghosts I-IV by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.92 | 86 ratings

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Ghosts I-IV
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars What kind of album do you expect to have when Nine Inch Nails releases a double album of all instrumental music? Is it going to all be like soft new age music? Is it going to be experimental? Is it going to be loud and noisy? Well, I wasn't sure what to expect, but with Trent Reznor's work with soundtracks, I kind of expected mostly soft, atmospheric music not unlike new age style music. Well, you do get some atmospheric beauty here. But you get so much more than that too. There is some harsh music, some industrial sounding music, some electronic, some experimental music....really there is a lot of everything here, and it is all some of the best and most progressive music ever put out by Nine Inch Nails.

Reznor's contract with the music labels had ended and he finally had the freedom to do the type of album he had been dreaming about for a long time. The music is still surprisingly very NINs-like and there are times when you know who you are listening to. But, in most cases, the music is so much more deeper than this. And you never know what's coming next. Beautiful soundscapes with a lot of the slightly muted piano, piano that sounds like the brightness has been toned down and there is that slight feel of uneasiness, even in the most relaxing tracks.

Other times, you get jolts of tense textures, very often similar to other NINs music, sometimes repetitive as you would expect from industrial music, and other times very innovative and experimental. I did not expect this much variety from this album, and that is a very pleasant surprise that so many styles and sounds are explored here. Sometimes keyboards take the lead and other times guitar leads the soundscapes, helped along many times by none other than King Crimson frontman Adrian Belew, who at times even brings echoes of the ProjeKcts. Other times you get the experimental electronic sounds that echo the sounds of Eno or other greats. Many times the music is simple and beautiful, other times it is complex or harsh.

Those who really explored this music discovered that there were pictures that accompany the tracks here. Many of these pictures were what inspired the sounds of these tracks and they are available at the NIN wiki site with a track by track description of the music for those who are interested. It doesn't really do any service to you however for me to analyze and evaluate the music on a track by track basis here, because there is so much going on here that is beyond words. Just know that this is an amazing collection of inspiration and art. This album is also the reason why NIN belongs in the Archives. This is definitely a masterpiece of instrumental neo-prog and is an essential work for those who are not satisfied with only listening to progressive music of the past. 5 stars.

 Further Down the Spiral by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1995
3.31 | 24 ratings

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Further Down the Spiral
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

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.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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