Review Summary: Classic album that captures fear, aggression, paranoia, and regret all in one not-so-pretty package.
When Pretty Hate Machine
was released by Trent Reznor under his psuedonym Nine Inch Nails back in 1989, rock and industrial fans had no clue how great this band would truly become. One of the most influential rock and industrial bands of all time, Nine Inch Nails would go down as God's gift to industrial music. But with Pretty Hate Machine
the music wasn't as aggressive, or beat-driven as traditional industrial music. When Broken
was released, 'Nails fans got a taste of what was to come from Trent Reznor's pet project in the future. Loud, aggressive, furious, and angry, the album captured a more mainstream style of industrial rock, while incorporating some of Trent Reznor's famous angst-filled lyrics. But what happened in 1994 would change industrial rock forever; as The Downward Spiral
hit store shelves.
There is no perfect album, but Nine Inch Nails' second full-length release comes darn close. Managing to capture angst, depression, insomnia, and paranoia all in one twisted album, The Downward Spiral
excels in ways not many bands will ever accomplish. Not many bands can manage to tell a story as dark as this album, but it does very well. This album follows a tale of suicide, from the aggressive Mr. Self Destruct
to the absolutely depressingly dark Hurt
; the album tugs at emotions and will forever be one of the best emotional albums of our time.
When Reznor decided to record this album in the Manson murder house, he had no clue what was about to happen. He was about to capture human fear, emotions, and anger all in one exclusive package in the best place you could think of; a house with horrible, horror movie-esque stories. Trent Reznor sited the house he recorded this album in many songs, such as the title March of the Pigs
, and in random lyrics thrown about the album; and it all seems to fit together nicely. Filled with ferious, aggressive tracks like Mr. Self Destruct
and The Becoming
to slower, dancefloor-like beats Closer
or atmospheric, heavy-hitting emotional songs Hurt
, it manages to be a wild trip through human emotion.
The way the album flows together is impeccable; and it never seems to overwhelm like Broken
. After a nasty fast, feriocious track like Mr. Self Destruct
it slows down into the rhythmic, catchy Piggy
, and it does this for most of the album. There's plenty of tracks that blend together perfectly as well, as if they were meant to be played together, like the duo I Do Not Want This
and Big Man With a Gun
. It gives you plenty of room to breathe, especially like the slow-burning tracks like Eraser
. You just can't pass up how varied and how well this album works as a whole.
There's one song on this album that deserves a whole paragraph dedicated to it, and that would have to be Closer
. Everyone's heard it at least once even if you don't know it. It still turns heads, still shocks and scares people at the same time with its dirty, unprintable chorus. The dancefloor beat to this song is addicting as well as the keyboard squiggles, tones, and the beats that mix along with the main beat. And, if you can get past the sexual connotations in the chorus line, you see a darker meaning, representing actually about degredation of oneself through sexual acts; which manages to shine a bit more light on the lyrics and the video; making it less vile and repulsive lyrically.
The Downward Spiral
works together perfectly and tells a terrible, tragic story of a man contemplating suicide, commiting suicide, and looking back upon what he had done. Its angry, just like most Nine Inch Nails albums, but it has a certain 'epic' charm that even The Fragile
and Year Zero
don't have. What this is, I don't know; and has become one of the 90s best albums, if not one of the best albums of all time. I don't know how I lived my life without hearing it, and you will too once you've listen to The Downward Spiral
all the way through.
Go out and buy it.
Mr. Self Destruct
March of the Pigs
I Do Not Want This