Review Summary: A generational shift
Apocalypse has been explored since the beginning of time. Apocalypse on a personal level is not liked or talked about nearly as much. The Downward Spiral
fully realizes the role the individual plays in their downfall, instead of blaming outside forces. And this distinction clearly defines the difference between the current generation and those who were just entering adulthood around the time this album came out. We’re continually losing the ability to find a source of personal accountability. Other people may make choices which you view as unfair or threatening, but it’s your decision to do with them what you’d like. That is what The Downward Spiral
is: a lesson in narcissism, personal accountability, and value of choices. Today the theme is known; the accountability is not.
The majority of the album is incredibly abrasive, with songs lashing out at concepts from broken relationships, God, and violence. It’s very drum and bass focused with various levels of distortion used for the guitar passages to create an effective electronic layering; samples from babies crying to people screaming to bees buzzing display a dire atmosphere as the main character meets face to face with his living hell. There are a few slower moments in the middle of the chaos which fail to change the mood because of their search for depression instead of peace. The protagonist is the man witnessing the unraveling of his life as the antagonist (the decisions, thoughts, and actions taken by the main character) completely destroys the life he once knew one step at a time. There’s no one else to blame but himself. As the character realizes this, he takes his own life and finally discovers the nothingness which was trying to consume him all along. The final realization is met: No matter how we live our lives, they all end the same way.