Jahr 2007





31. März 2007


Shitty Future?

Nine Inch Nails get political with "Year Zero"


  Text: nicht angegeben

Pictures: Scarlet Page



Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor has revealed to Kerrang! that the forthcoming album ‘Year Zero‘ has a politically-motivated concept which imagines a bleak future caused by the US government‘s current administration.

“I felt I needed to comment on my own thoughts on what it‘s like to be an American citizen, and hopefully find a way to do that that doesn‘t sound preachy, bitchy or does it by name-checking George Bush,“ explains Reznor. “I imagined what the world might be like 15 years from now, if America continues on the path it seems to be headed on -  a path of greed and self-righteousness, and arrogance, and lack of consideration, globally for other people and ecology. “My method of doing that was to write out an elaborate, detailed synopsis of what this world was like,“ he adds. “What this world is like politically leading it up to a crisis point where fingers are on the button and are on the verge of annihilation.”

Year Zero was recorded in Los Angeles between September and December of last year with Reznor acting as producer in collaboration with engineer Atticus Ross, who worked on 2005’s ‘With Teeth‘.

Reznor kept himself occupied by writing new material in hotel rooms and on the tourbus during the 18-month tour promoting ‘With Teeth‘. At the end of the tour, he found he had amassed a collection of songs he was happy with.

“I found a way to make it fun on tour,‘ he explains. “It passes the time and keeps me sane. I discovered new ways to make music that I was into. I somehow felt energised and decided to finish the record after the tour.“

The full tracklisting for ‘Year Zero‘ is ‘Hyperpower!‘, ‘The Beginning Of The End‘, ‘Survivalism‘, ‘The Good Soldier‘, ‘Vessel‘, ‘Me, I‘m Not‘, ‘Capital G‘, ‘My Violent Heart,‘ ‘The Warning‘, ‘God Given‘, ‘Meet Your Master‘, ‘The Greater Good‘, ‘The Great Destroyer‘, ‘Another Version Of The Truth‘, ‘In This Twilight‘ and ‘Zero-Sum‘.

Look out for a full Interview with Reznor in a forthcoming issue. We’ve had a sneak preview of the album so here is our track by track guide to ‘Year Zero’.


An instrumental opener sets a familiar tone as distorted metal guitars churn and grind against clattering industrial beats, building to a screaming climax.


Any sense of ‘Year Zero‘ being a return to tried and tested roots evaporates immediately as the first song proper reveals a hairpin turn into blasting guitar-pop, that‘s surprisingly upbeat given its apocalyptic overtures.

KEY LYRIC: ‘We‘ve seen the consequence/This is the beginning of the end...‘


The first single release and only ‘Year Zero‘ number to get a live airing during the recent UK tour, this scathing state-of-the-world address offers the first insight into a newly-politicised NIN.

Squalling guitars and a frantic, hissing pulse propel the song to a thumping chorus that guarantees a mass singalong at future gigs.

KEY LYRIC: ‘I got my propaganda, I got revisionism/I got my violence in hi-def ultra-realism’


Another departure and instant album stand-out that pits dreamlike, hypnotic beats and lush, textured tones against a creepy lyrical undercurrent of abstract war references. ‘Gunfire in the street, where we used to meet...‘ croons Reznor before an achingly beautiful guitar riff unfurls into a hazy beyond.

KEY LYRIC: ‘I am trying to see, I am trying to believe/This is not where I should be‘


Five songs in and NIN get their groove on with this hulking, electro-grind anthem. Effects dick, bleep and whirr over a face-melting bassline. Delicious, deadly and heavy as fuck.

KEY LYRIC: ‘They tell us what we can and cannot do/Same thing we‘ve heard a hundred times before‘


A brooding, spacey number mirroring the echo chamber trip hop of Massive Attack brings another swift change in mood as edgy stifled vocals muted guitar and eerie tones create a twilight zone of ominous atmosphere.

KEY LYRIC: ‘If I knew back then, what I know right now‘


Black-humoured Bush-baiting rock stomper sung from the point of view of a right wing ignoramus. ‘I‘m sick of all the haves and the have-nots/Have some personal accountability‘ snarls Trent before an all-singalong, dancealong chorus implants its state-ofTexas size hooks into your head. Who says NIN can’t be fun?

KEY LYRIC: ‘I pushed the button and elected him to office/He pushed the button and dropped the bomb‘


A tense, near-spoken verse and super-minimal backing provide an unsettled calm before a chorus unleashes a gale-force big beat collision, rancorous riff corrosion and the sense that somewhere in Trent Reznor‘s studio, there‘s an effects pedal labelled ‘Maximum Pain’.

KEY LYRIC: ‘There’s bullet holes where my compassion used to be/And there’s violence in my heart.’


There also seems to be a pedal labelled ‘Completely Fucked‘, as a renegade drum machine carpet bombs its stuttering payload over a mangled guitar-loop that stretches twists and buckles ever further out of recognition. Somewhat impossibly, it’s a rather jaunty, funky affair.

KEY LYRIC: ‘Your time is tick-tick-ticking away...’


Another highlight that ditches live instrumentation entirely in favour of mutant dancefloor muscle, as a treble vision-inducing subsonic flattens everything in its path. Menacing, mindwarping and unbelievable catchy.

KEY LYRIC: ‘No more time to waste, you don’t wanna get left behind/Because it’s all coming down right now.’


One of the most obvious rock moments on the album as juddering, gut-punch rhythms and squiggly electronics get chewed up by a rousing, shredding guitar chorus. Vicious and noisy.

KEY LYRIC: We’ve heard enough from you now, we‘ve heard everything.‘


A second instrumental recalling elements of ‘The Fragile‘ as it ventures into sinister multi-layered trip hop territory. Additional creepy points are scored by the inclusion of unidentified scraping sounds and a barely audible, looped plea of ‘breathe...us in... slowly...slowly...‘


A beautifully crafted anti-establishment anthem gets pulverised halfway through by some astonishing Aphex Twin-style deconstructivism. Probably not a future single, then.

KEY LYRIC: ‘Turn it up/Listen to the shit they pump into your head/Filling you with apathy’


The last of the album s instrumentals this time reminiscent of ‘The Downward Spiral’s ruined circuitry, as the last embers of a burning soundscape fade-out to the strains of a solitary, achingly beautiful piano.


Processed beats creak and wheeze like rusted machinery, forming a cavernous backdrop for this haunting eye of the storm epic with a vocal delivery from Reznor that marks him out as one of the most underrated singers in rock music. Powerful desolate and one of the finest NIN moments so far.

KEY LYRIC: ‘We can find a better place in this twilight‘


A fathoms deep bass shudders against a wall of sputtering effects and a fragile piano for this spectral, gospel-style closer, that sees a redemptive light at the end of the tunnel.

KEY LYRIC: ‘Shame on us, for what we have done/God have mercy on our dirty little hearts’