He Came Back Haunted

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NINE INCH NAILS

HESITATION MARKS

POLYDOR

4/5

Trent Reznor, the dark prince of industrial rock, has gone through huge changes in the past decade. Sobriety. Marriage. Fatherhood. Hollywood plaudits. (He won an Academy Award for co-composing the score for The Social Network.) Fear not, Nine Inch Nails fans: el Rez’s biceps may have gotten bigger but the anxious guy we know and love is still in there. He’s just working through his neuroses with an expanded musical palette.

The new album comes across as both futuristic and self-referential –– a tricky thing to pull off. Overall, there’s less screaming in the choruses and fewer distorted guitars. Musically, it’s cleaner and less cluttered, so you can focus on the individual sounds he’s generating.

 

Imagine the tense minimalism of his soundtrack work paired with Pretty Hate Machine-esque vocal hooks and beats. The only what-the-hell moment is “Everything”, a jaunty track that feels like Trent is auditioning to be in Metric.

I’m excited as hell for the NIN concert in Vancouver this coming November and I stumbled across this video which details the painstaking process of creating the live show. Skip ahead to the 10 minute mark to see Trent getting a little bitchy with his crew in the lead up to their Fuji Rock Festival performance. I feel you buddy. I’d be a jumble of nerves too if I was attempting something that ambitious.

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