Nine Inch Nails. This is a name that when mentioned in music circles unanimously gets a nod of respect. Regardless of your background, be it rock, metal, industrial, punk, goth…Trent Reznor and co’s band have maintained an almost cult like status amongst various fans of music of various age groups from all walks of life.
Originally intended as an EP, it grew to become a full length album and was originally released for free via the bands official website. Other than that, numerous other projects aside, Nine Inch Nails have lain dormant, until now.
Hesitation Marks is the 8th straight-up studio album to be released by the band and also see’s NIN on a major label for the first time since 2007’s Year Zero. The fact that we’ve waited so long for a new NIN record means we run the risk of over hype and over excitement. Too many bands these days are built up for a massive fall, but Trent Reznor is smarter than that. This is classic NIN, do NOT expect an easy ride.
The Eater Of Dreams opens up the new album. At less than a minute in length and being no more than a few subtle notes coupled with some light distortion, it’s an eerie reintroduction to the band, before Copy Of A kicks in. A simple yet hypnotic beat, Reznor’s vocals shifting between harmonious and almost whispered, it’s a beautiful track, occasionally picking up tempo, the electronic pulse of the song rising in intensity but never truly taking off.
Came Back Haunted, the first single to be taken off the album, is again, simple yet unmistakably NIN. A subtle energy, underlying tones of anger and frustration creeping from within Reznor. He wants you to know he means business but refuses to give too much away. There is always a certain enigma surrounding NIN but in a way that, the less you know, the better.
Find My Way, Disappointed and Satellite are typically melancholic, subdued affairs, full emphasis on mood and atmosphere. A full, audio journey. Each path different for every listener; your subconscious allowed to roam freely through each song, finding your own conclusions.
Everything is a more guitar driven track, slotted in mid-album like a quick adrenaline rush. I could go on, but it’s best to let the music do the talking. Trent Reznor/NIN may not have changed their formula much if at all over the years they have been around, but they have this knack of forever sounding not only timeless, but relevant. Current fans will love this unconditionally, if you are yet to immerse yourself into the world of Nine Inch Nails, don’t expect to skip through fields of buttercups and fall head over heels in love at first listen, it doesn’t work that way. What is at first glance, a depressing, self-destructing example of one mans troubled mind, is in fact another beautifully crafted chapter in the bands already iconic career. Give this album a chance. You’ll understand.
Artwork by Russell Mills.