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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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Add Violence EPAdd Violence EP
Capitol 2017
Audio CD$5.00
$3.95 (used)
Not The Actual EventsNot The Actual Events
Nothing 2017
Audio CD$6.58
$7.94 (used)
Add Violence EP [LP]Add Violence EP [LP]
Capitol 2017
$21.14 (used)
The Downward Spiral [2 LP]The Downward Spiral [2 LP]
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing 2017
$29.58 (used)
The Fragile [3 LP]The Fragile [3 LP]
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing 2017
$26.32 (used)
Pretty Hate Machine [LP]Pretty Hate Machine [LP]
The Bicycle Music Company 2011
$16.00 (used)
Broken [LP/7Broken [LP/7" Combo]
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing 2017
$24.76 (used)
The Downward SpiralThe Downward Spiral
Explicit Lyrics
Nothing/TVT/Interscope Records 1994
Audio CD$8.47
$3.57 (used)
Hesitation MarksHesitation Marks
Sony Legacy 2013
Audio CD$5.47
$4.54 (used)
With TeethWith Teeth
Explicit Lyrics
Interscope 2005
Audio CD$5.73
$2.10 (used)
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NINE INCH NAILS discography

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

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

3.44 | 97 ratings
Pretty Hate Machine
3.92 | 126 ratings
The Downward Spiral
3.81 | 108 ratings
The Fragile
3.00 | 64 ratings
With Teeth
3.19 | 63 ratings
Year Zero
3.94 | 85 ratings
Ghosts I-IV
3.18 | 52 ratings
The Slip
3.68 | 48 ratings
Hesitation Marks

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

3.90 | 22 ratings
And All That Could Have Been

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

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

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

3.31 | 24 ratings
Further Down the Spiral
3.17 | 17 ratings
Things Falling Apart
2.36 | 14 ratings
Year Zero Remixed

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

2.36 | 9 ratings
Down In It
2.71 | 11 ratings
Head Like a Hole
4.00 | 7 ratings
4.00 | 3 ratings
Happiness in Slavery
3.54 | 48 ratings
3.31 | 17 ratings
3.83 | 10 ratings
March of the Pigs
3.86 | 13 ratings
Closer to God
4.83 | 6 ratings
3.75 | 4 ratings
NINJA tour sampler
2.29 | 9 ratings
Came Back Haunted
3.00 | 2 ratings
Not The Actual Events
3.67 | 3 ratings
Add Violence


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Downward Spiral by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.92 | 126 ratings

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

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
3.31 | 17 ratings

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

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 | 97 ratings

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
3.94 | 85 ratings

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

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.

 The Fragile by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.81 | 108 ratings

The Fragile
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This excellent album is an example of what happens when "less is more" but you get more anyway. The sum of this album is less than it's parts. Why is this the case? Well, look at the fact that the album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200. It had been several years since the release of "The Downward Spiral" and fans were anticipating the next album from NIN. That explains the reason for the sales at the beginning. But in the 2nd week of it's release, it fell to number 16 and set a record of being the biggest drop from #1. I think that is because the fans went out and bought the album and would have bought it at almost any price, but it proved to be too costly for the masses who didn't want to pay for a double album. It was too much all at once. It probably would have done better if it was released in 2 parts. The other problem with this being a double album is the music is dark and dense, as you would expect from a follow up to "The Downward Spiral" and it is difficult, especially one the first several listens, to take it all in one big dose. As great as the music is, it is hard to sit through it all in one sitting.

However, many fans have accepted it as the best album by NIN. As for myself, I find the songs more developed and adventurous. But I can't give it masterpiece status because it is an album released with 2 discs as a whole, which normally isn't a problem if it doesn't wear itself out. But the problem here, by the time you get to the 2nd disc, you lose interest, even though the music is still top notch. Take "The Wall". It is easy to sit through both discs because of the variation in the tracks. In NIN music, there is just too much repetitiveness to stay interesting through 2 discs. If you listen to them separately, they are much better and you will end up discovering the 2nd disc is actually better than the first.

There is some variety among the tracks though. I believe that the songs are slightly better individually than "The Downward Spiral" because there is a lot more variation and experimentation throughout. There are several instrumentals and atmospheric/moody passages that break up the noise, and the songs are slightly more progressive than before. You also get several tracks with Adrian Belew (from King Crimson as if you didn't know) participating. All of these things should add up to a better whole right? Well, it doesn't because it is too hard to sit through it all. So listen to it separately, it's much better. Trent even said that he should have released it in 2 parts. It is, after all, a personal record for him in that it reflects the moods and difficulties he was going through at the time. Where "The Downward Spiral" was a concept album about a fictional character, this album was a concept album about his own feelings.

There is still a lot of noise and industrial sound to this one and a lot of people might not even notice a big difference in the sound. Granted, it is hard to hear at first. But you will notice the more frequent change in dynamics, moods and sound the more you listen. Trent tried to downplay the album before the release saying that this album would sound like nothing else done by NIN but more like the most ridiculous music you've ever heard with nursery rhymes over the top of it. Of course, it's nothing like that, it is very NIN typical sounding but with a lot more atmosphere. Still an excellent album, but the whole album can't be considered a masterpiece because of the loss of interest one feels when listened to completely. Yes that is a big enough deal to me to take it from the masterpiece status that I awarded to TDS. Still an excellent addition to your collection. 4 stars.

 Pretty Hate Machine by NINE INCH NAILS album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.44 | 97 ratings

Pretty Hate Machine
Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

2 stars Dark, brooding, and emotional, Trent Reznor broke onto the music scene with his 1989 album titled Pretty Hate Machine. he envisioned for a band that would, using metallic undertones to bring out a more righteous clang to his point, make points of sociopolitical commentary. This album was written and recorded to embody this spirit. Did Pretty Hate Machine accomplish what it was made for?

...No, I'd say it didn't.

The album overall achieved a good round of applause from most critics, although not all of them took well to Reznor's work. However most progressive rock fans that at the least call Reznor a 'prog' artist and his band a prog band would do well to stay away from this one. Instead of the usually dreary electronic use most commonly found in artists such as Stabbing Westward, Orgy, Ministry, and later NiN works, the album functions around a steady theme of catchy alternative rock beats and composition, albeit with some amateur technological use overlapping it.

Pretty Hate Machine brings to the table a large theme of anger, with blatantly spiteful lyrics and, as stated before, social commentary. But that doesn't excuse the fact that this album is annoying. I've seen many bands accomplish commentary such as this and do it well. A band that comes to mind are Porcupine Tree, which actually implies subtly the ideology of anti- systematical lyrics mixed in with their enjoyable music. Here, it's more along the lines of Reznor and his emo friends recording an album during their aggressive teenage phase. Other than that, the songs are just plain boring. The 'catchy' riffs used on the album are over repetitive and rely on a similar theme, giving the illusion that all of the songs are the same. The only track that I've found to stand out is the ever present 'Head Like a Hole', although even that song is just a casual listen and not material for a respectful intake of the album itself.

So, all in all, this is a skippable one. Mostly because any fan of Nine Inch Nails would enjoy their later works more than the earlier material, but even if your not a fan you would do well not to pick this one up. Alternative electronic rock? No thanks.

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

Nine Inch Nails Crossover Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars In the late 80's, Trent Reznor originally envisioned a band that made subtle social commentary which was conveyed via. industrial rock. Thus, Pretty Hate Machine was released in 1989 to average popularity. However, Reznor himself believed that he had overdone it, and implied too much shameless self pity. Feeling that his point was ruined from the release, he planned another release and gave the public the EP Broken a few years later.

Trent, my god, good job with this one. Taking a metal edge instead of the indulgent mainstream industrial rock that the antecedent release was full of, this EP evolves not only the Industrial metal scene but also the band's structure. If I were to say, my favorite industrial metal band has always been Stabbing Westward. However, after finding and buying this little gem at a thrift store, I decided that Nine Inch Nails had thoroughly earned my respect as a whole.

The album ranges from flat out slamming metal to more complex, albeit stranger songs. The future Nine Inch Nails sound is still there, but if you are interested in such a raw version of this band then this would be definitely something for you. 'Wish' is a simple little tune, undoubtedly the most recognized from it, which follows a quick tempo as well as sudden bursts of angry static-style riffing. 'Last' is an absolute slammer, with giant hunky metallic riffs making for a pure ball of anger hitting you over and over. Simply excellent, and perhaps my personal favorite from the album. 'Help Me I'm In Hell' is an interesting bridge to 'Happiness in Slavery', another scream-filled song which Reznor pours his soul into. 'Gave Up' is more of an fast, alternative hard rock song with fewer industrial elements than the others. However, Reznor's voice has been modified which sounds like he's speaking into a fan. However, it does add some more feeling to the song.

Now, 'Gave Up' is perhaps where we would end, for the rest of the EP is simple blank space. But no, hidden at the end are two covers of two different bands. The first being 'Physical (You're So)', a cover of the post-punk band Adam and the Ants, is actually quite enjoyable. The band souped up the original to add more metal as well as more electronic influences and sounds. The second is 'Suck', a cover of the industrial rock band Pigface. It isn't as enjoyable as the former but it's still okay. I would call it more undoubtedly rock-y than metallic. Nice casual listen, though.

So, in the end, NiN's Wish is a fantastic EP. I would go so far as to say that this little gem is what undoubtedly got the band rolling. I suggest if you are any particular metal fan or even a fan of the band, get it, it'll be worth it.

(Originally Written for the Metal Music Archives on 2015-02-01)

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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