Reznor was working as an engineer and tape op when he persuaded his Cleveland boss to grant him some studio down time to create a few self-played demos, somewhat inspired by Prince. The debut album was indeed culled from these forays - the Purest Feeling demos - now christened Pretty Hate Machine. Fusing elements of industrial gothic synthpop and distorted dance grooves Reznor worked closely with British specialists Adrian Sherwood and Flood but insisted on maintaining a framework of riffs and hooks that shone a light on new wave influences. Significant tracks 'Down on It', 'Head Like a Hole' and 'Sin' piqued interest in Ohio but especially in the UK and Reznor found himself as a king of spokesman for a new genre of American post-rock.
More than respectable sales for the 1989 original would later translate into triple platinum status in America where Reznor became famous for his and the band's performances at Lollapalooza and became a leading light in the so-called Alternative Nation conjured up by Perry Farrell. The 2010 Remaster is the definitive statement on this album being lovingly packaged and enhanced with the bonus cut, Freddie Mercury's 'Get Down, Make Love'.
The EP Broken (1992) was one of the most eagerly awaited follow-ups in modern rock history. The natural follow-up Fixed maintained the excitement but it was second album The Downward Spiral that proved Nine Inch Nails couldn't be confined. Detailing the life of a man entering his own downward spiral and influenced by the likes of David Bowie and Pink Floyd, Reznor established the sound as a provocative force with hit tracks 'Hurt' and 'Closer'. Still working with Flood, Reznor embraced old and new technology and presented a distinguished character within both. Neither a Luddite nor a straightforward futurist the album did create shockwaves thanks to deliberately nihilistic pieces like 'Heresy', 'March of the Pigs' and 'Big Man With A Gun' but the benefits of hindsight have been to reveal the recording's naked honesty rather than any deliberate attempt to be confrontational. The remix companion Further Down the Spiral, featuring Aphex Twin, Rick Rubin, Dave Navarro and J. G. Thirlwell amongst others is a nifty bolt-on to the parent disc and a worthwhile indulgence.
It would be a further five years before Nine Inch Nails returned with a studio album. For The Fragile (199) Reznor worked with Alan Moulder as his production sounding board. Moulder's meticulous approach and his understanding of sonic textures complimented Trent's flights of fantasy which stretched the material way over the 100-minute mark - bliss for Nails fans. Conceptual again and stacked high with surprising melodic excursions, The Fragile attempts to make order from chaos: it begins with 'Somewhat Damaged' and closes on 'Ripe (With Decay)'. Spread across two-CDs you'll find a wealth of incredible sounds here and if it wasn't fully understood on release it seems to have became many a Nails follower's album of choice. Certainly Reznor has always been adept at using high-class help even when he appears to be hurtling towards destruction. Guitarist Adrian Belew, Bowie's sometime pianist Mike Garson, hip hop master Dr. Dre and uber-engineer Bob Ezrin are amongst the cast on a totally recommended release.
Such was/is Reznor's appeal by now that With Teeth (2005) again debuted at number one in America and spawned three number one singles on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks - 'Only', 'Every Day Is Exactly The Same' and 'The Hand That Feeds'. Although he often cited personal problems or simply writers block for any periods of inactivity it was pretty obvious to all that Reznor was the kind of artist who needs to live before he can lay it on the line and he remains one of the most vicariously coveted personalities in 21st Century rock. Available with a flurry of bonus material, With Teeth is a stunning description of addiction conquered and confronted. By contrast that personal lifeblood is replaced by a cooler political overview for Year Zero (2007), which fully embraced the digital age, and surpassed great swathes of it when it arrived accompanied by a Reality Game. Clever marketing and a dystopian subject matter drew comparison to an Orwellian 1984 mood and that's exactly what Reznor was aiming for. Even so he didn't lose sight of the need for strong songs to accompany the thought provoking sloganeering and 'My Violent Heart' and 'Capital G' are amongst Trent's most persuasive moments.
Following a period of independence (a disappearing act, the main man called it) Nine Inch Nails returned in force for Hesitation Marks (2013) and it seemed like everyone wanted this thing back. Rave reviews for Hesitation Marks (no hesitation, top marks), this is an album of grown up excellence that finds Reznor collaborating with Alessandro Cortini and working with musicians like Pino Palladino, Todd Rundgren and Lindsey Buckingham.
Pretty much everything Nine Inch nails produce has added value and great significance and we point you towards a couple of beauties from the periphery that shouldn't be overlooked. The remix album Things Falling Apart divided opinion but the double live And All That Could Have Been is a marvel with deconstructed piano and acoustic takes on the most hard core songs in their canon as well as some of the best produced and visualised music from recent decades.
Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails have made an indelible impression on modern music. David Bowie has described the bandleader as a latter-day Velvet Underground and he is one of those artists whose work repays investigation once you start digging back. People who have never made his acquaintance are in the for the biggest thrill of all while those who have followed his career or even dipped in are certain to find new delights on the catalogue.
Reznor is a restless spirit and has made inroads into film, video and game technology. He seldom if ever compromises his style and doesn't mind the brickbats that accompany any act on occasion. Instead he draws from a deep well of personal experience and informed knowledge. The music here is alternately primal, intelligent, black as pitch and white light illuminating. But it's never boring. Time to get some Nine Inch nails into your life then.
Words - Max Bell.
The Downward Spiral (also known as Halo 8) is the third major release by American Industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released in 1994 on Reznor’s own Nothing Records (a vanity label of Interscope Records). “Halo 8” of the official Nine Inch Nails halo releases, it is a concept album detailing the destruction of an undisclosed man; from the beginning to his climatic suicide. The album was a major commercial success that secured Nine Inch Nails as a force in the 1990s music scene, in particular following the release of the single “Closer” and its controversial video.
Hesitation Marks is the eighth studio album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, to be released on September 3, 2013. It will be their first album since 2008’s The Slip, and first release on Columbia Records, making this their first album released on a major label since 2007’s Year Zero. The album title is derived from hesitation wounds, wounds produced by testing a bladed weapon before attempting suicide or self-harming.
On August 12, 2013, Amazon UK officially made the second track, “Copy of A”, available for free to download. On August 22, 2013, a radio rip of “Find My Way” was uploaded to Youtube. On August 27, 2013, the album was streamed on iTunes after it leaked online. The album will be available in two different masters for digital download, a “standard” version and an “Audiophile Mastered Version” - the latter having extended dynamic range, not meant to be competitive in the loudness war.
With Teeth is the fourth studio album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released on May 3, 2005, by Interscope Records. The album was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and long-time collaborator Alan Moulder. It was Reznor’s first original studio album since The Fragile, released in 1999. Reznor has indicated that the album is influenced by his battle with, and recovery from, alcoholism and substance abuse between albums.
With Teeth became an immediate commercial success, debuting at number one on the Billboard 200 and selling more than 272,000 copies in its first week. The album generated three singles: “The Hand That Feeds”, “Only”, and “Every Day Is Exactly the Same”, which all became number-one singles on Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Nine Inch Nails’ sixth studio release, Year Zero takes the concept album further than it may have ever gone before. In advance of its release, URLs were hidden in tour t-shirts, music- and image-filled USB drives were ‘found’ at concerts, and dozens of websites have been packed with conspiracy stories that all involve the year 2022 or ‘Year Zero.’ Each clue is part of a cohesive whole, requiring a listener to follow an exhaustive web trail to grasp the entire tale. Focusing specifically on the music, “The Beginning of the End,” the powerful first vocal track, is like the sonic and lyrical equivalent of an emotional ascension to a rollercoaster’s peak, with the last few cacophonic seconds equaling the fall of individual freedoms. “Survivalism,” Year Zero’s first single, follows with guest vocalist/Slam artist Saul Williams pumping up the passion in its urgent chorus. While still industrial in genre, it’s clear that Trent Reznor’s musical evolution finds him bringing more mellow songs to the mix than he has on previous discs (“The Good Soldier,” “The Greater Good,” “In This Twilight”) as well as an increased number of funk-affected rhythms, specifically in standout tracks “Capitol G” and “Me, I’m Not.” Devotees of NIN’s harder sound will appreciate the metallic crunch of “My Violent Heart” and “Meet Your Master.
Pretty Hate Machine is the debut album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released October 20, 1989, on Tvt Records. The album was out of print from around 1997 to 2005 due to the much publicized falling out between Nine Inch Nails’ core member, Trent Reznor, and the original publishing label of the album, TVT Records. Rykodisc re-released the album around the world in 2005. Pretty Hate Machine is compiled of tracks from the Purest Feeling demo, as well as tracks recorded after the Purest Feeling recording. The album spawned three singles, the most successful being “Head Like a Hole”, which has become a staple in Nine Inch Nails’ live performances. A remastered version was issued on November 22, 2010.
The Fragile (also known as Halo 14) is a concept double album by American Industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released in 1999 on Reznor’s Nothing Records. The album is Nine Inch Nails’ fourth major label release and the fourteenth halo. The album continues the plot of The Downward Spiral, despite the complete change in sound and style of the album. Instead of heavily distorted instruments, and gritty industrial sounds, the album relies much more on soundscapes, electronic beats, ambient noise, and heavy metal-laden guitar, such as in the single “Starfuckers, Inc.”
Trent Reznor describes the album’s plot and story as “a theme of things falling apart.” Reznor has also said the album is bleaker than The Downward Spiral, despite the more aggressive, depressing tone of that album. Many songs on the album borrow bass, guitar, and keyboard lines from other songs on the album; most notably “The Frail” piano becoming “The Fragile” guitar and the bassline used in “La Mer” reappearing in “Into the Void”.
Further Down the Spiral is a remix album by Nine Inch Nails, and was released on June 1, 1995. It is the tenth official Nine Inch Nails release and is the companion remix disc to The Downward Spiral. There are two editions of this release, one denoted as Halo 10 (released in the US) the other as Halo 10 V2 (released in Japan, Australia and the UK), each containing a different set of tracks with a large degree of overlap between the two.
Things Falling Apart is a remix album by Nine Inch Nails released in 2000. Things Falling Apart is the sixteenth official Nine Inch Nails release and is the companion remix disc to The Fragile. The unofficial U.S. promo CD for Into the Void is also labeled as Halo 16. Unlike The Fragile, it is not a double album.
And All That Could Have Been is a double album released by Nine Inch Nails in 2002. The live album contains music recorded during the Fragility v2.0 US tour in 2000; Disc 1 is a live album of (most of) their normal set list of the time, while disc B contains a studio album titled Still containing "deconstructed" versions of previous NIN songs and some new material.