NINE INCH NAILS
Slimmed down and laser focused industrial
genius, featuring Foo Fighter Grohl
Well, well, well; hasn‘t Trent Reznor come a long
way since the release of Pretty Hate Machine in 1989? After listening to ‘With
Teetn’ your considered answer has to be: not as far as you‘d imagine. And we
should be thankful, after his bona fide masterpiece ‘Downard Spiral’ and
punishing ‘The Fragile‘ if he had carried on pushing in the same intellectual
and sonic direction, ‘With Teeth‘ would have been the aural equivalent of losing
several family members in a car crash after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
Reznor, who was only a ball‘s hair away from swan diving straight into self parody
from a great height anyway, has realised that even the greatest cartographers
of existentialism and darkness can end up looking like self indulgent buffoons
if they don‘t temper their art with same restraint.
Album opener ‘All The Love In The World‘ starts
off as an understated electro-glitch ballad with whooshes of sub bass and feedback
crystallizing into a distant but howling guitar solo. But just as you are
getting a handle on the track it blindsides you by breaking into a lush and
tuneful piano-led breakdown over which a gospel choir of Trents emote the chorus sounding almost
like Primal Scream at their most acid-drenched.
So kicking the coke and the booze have put Mr
Rez in a fairly chipper mood then? Well, luckily, not quite. We’re back on familiar,
if dimly remembered, territory with ‘You Know Who You Are?’ A vicious guitar
line that sounds like a hornet trapped in an ice cream cone forming a caustic
loop over a dizzyingly fast tribal drum pattern.
The epic ‘Only‘ starts off with a dirty electroclash
synth line and punk funk bass reminiscent of the influential Gang Of Four. As
it squelches and rushes towards various narcotic peaks you start worrying that
Reznor has lost his mind, but then you realise that in typically perverse and
dark fashion, he’s constructed a diabolical disco song about self harm.
The album‘s title track again suggests that the
cloudy thinking and near state of mental breakdown that he was going through
during recording ‘The Fragile’ is a thing of the past, it being a concise, powerful
and organic rock groove propelled along by guest sticksman, Dave Grohl. On a couple
of tracks you get the impression that he still finds it hard to articulate the
fear und depression that he suffers from and his lyrical palette remains a narrow
one. This said though, if you‘re going to spend your money on one dark-haired millionaire
goth hero pointing out to you how utterly painful, pointless, depressing and
futile life can be this year: definitely make it this one.
achievement harking hack to his first two essential albums.