Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

Nine Inch NailsOnly a couple of weeks ago, I was talking about The Downward Sprial, the seminal album by Nine Inch Nails. After this album Trent Reznor went through a period of not being Nine Inch Nails. He produced the soundtrack for Natural Born Killers and contributed tracks to Lost Highway and the Crow. The produced Marylin Manson’s breakthrough album Anti-christ Superstar. Reznor built a state of the art studio and finally came out with the double CD album The Fragile in 1999. Now, the latest Nine Inch Nails album, Year Zero has been released, just two years after 2005’s With Teeth. Reznor credits this to taking a new approach to lyric writing and the fact that songs could be assembled on a laptop whilst on tour rather than being in an expensive studio.

Year Zero does indeed see a marked difference to previous Nine Inch Nails albums; the electronic elements are more… well electronic. The beats are processed and there’s glitchy bleeps and noises galore. There’s almost a funky element too, especially on tracks like “The Good Soldier” and “God Given”. One of the annoying things is that the vocals are sometime buried in the mix a little, making them hard to hear (I found listening to this album with headphones solved that though).

My only other complaint is that the album is maybe two tracks too long; the instrumental “Another Version of the Truth” is nice enough but it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the album. That said, some tracks did grow on me after a couple of listens: “In This Twilight” has a gentle vocal underneath all the distorted electronics.  Overall this is a good album, but it could have done with being a little more direct. Previous NIN albums were pretty brutal and this one could’ve maybe done with being turned up a notch.

Nine Inch Nails – Survivalism:

Trent Reznor talks about Year Zero:

 

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