Nine Inch Nails
Hesitation Marks


4.0
excellent

Review

by Andrew Gold CONTRIBUTOR (68 Reviews)
August 28th, 2013 | 276 replies


Release Date: 09/03/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The happy side of Trent Reznor.

It’s safe to say Trent Reznor has been a pretty busy man these past few years. From collaborating with Atticus Ross on the soundtracks to The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2010 and ’11 respectively, to his side project How to Destroy Angels releasing their first LP Welcome Oblivion earlier this year, it’s amazing that Trent found the time to squeeze out another treat for his devoted Nine Inch Nails fans. Sonically, Hesitation Marks is the most logical step for NIN to take at this time. After the interesting ambient direction he took with Ghosts I-IV, it was nice to hear Trent put out another solid slab of industrial rock with The Slip. Hesitation Marks, however, brings the classic NIN sound back in full force, with a number of tracks sounding like they could’ve been taken straight out of their glory days in the 90’s. Lead single ‘Came Back Haunted’ in particular wouldn’t sound out of place on The Downward Spiral with some Pretty Hate Machine dance elements added in for good measure, and ‘Satellite’ is like a dance-y take on the Year Zero sound, with ominous background effects and beefy synths adding to the song’s dense atmosphere. Other tracks take NIN’s sound into places its never gone before, like album centerpiece ‘Everything’ delving into noisy pop territory, the eccentric saxophone jabs in ‘While I’m Still Here’, and the funky ‘All Time Low’ being an upbeat “clap-along” song featuring some of Trent’s well done falsettos.

Despite the versatility in Hesitation Marks, it never manages to lose focus. Every song, no matter how far a stretch from Trent’s typical style, sounds unmistakably like NIN, albeit a happier, less angst-y side. It’s a very uplifting album, with many choruses being pleasant to the ears and a large emphasis on major chords this time around (‘Copy of A’, ‘Everything’, ‘I Would for You’). The heavy guitar riffs from The Fragile have largely been replaced with smoother synth melodies, and oddly enough the most prominent use of guitars is found in the least dissonant, poppy cut, ‘Everything’. Even the lyrics are optimistic, something usually foreign to Trent. That’s not to say Hesitation Marks is a soft album – ‘Came Back Haunted’ as previously mentioned is reminiscent of The Downward Spiral with its ‘Closer’-esque synth riff and an infectious, anthemic chorus, and the driving beat in ‘In Two’ compliments the falsetto work nicely, making it one of the most interesting tracks on the album. These heavier cuts also provide a welcome contrast to the more subtle ones, like ‘Find My Way’ and ‘Various Methods of Escape’, giving the album a well-rounded feel and showing off the full scope of NIN’s new sound well - something The Slip failed to do.

It’s hard to compare an album like Hesitation Marks to previous masterpieces The Downward Spiral and The Fragile because Trent is a completely different person than he used to be. He’s no longer the cocaine snorting, self-loathing alcoholic who wrote the vile ‘Big Man with a Gun’ and the depressing ‘I’m Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally’ – he’s a family man now, with a beautiful wife and children, living off doing what he loves: making music, and really, who could fault him for that?



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user ratings (747)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


21473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didnt disappoint in the slightest

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

JWT155
August 28th 2013


9300 Comments


Meh, I've enjoyed the record but it irks me that this record seems to be more in the vain of HTDA then past NIN records.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


10870 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yea was pretty good. I've only heard this and TDS. What record you recommend next? And good review by
the way.

JWT155
August 28th 2013


9300 Comments


I'd start with Pretty Hate Machine and work chronologically through NIN's discography.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


21473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

chronologically works. his early material is definitely his best, but this and year zero come pretty close

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


10870 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool thanks guys.

JWT155
August 28th 2013


9300 Comments


The song Everything really shows off Trent's Post-Punk and New Age influences.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


19933 Comments


black widow

Digging: Coldworld - Melancholie

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


21473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thats some subtle subliminal messaging atari lol

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


19933 Comments


hehe :3 good review as always

slagun
August 28th 2013


713 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Anybody else loving Various Methods of Escape?

crazyblinddude
August 28th 2013


3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review man. Really nailed it. The album was a nice surprise, especially since I had not been keeping track of what Trent has been up to these past few months.

FearThyEvil
August 28th 2013


12629 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I honestly can not stand this album.

theshelfmaster
August 28th 2013


221 Comments


Funny that you mentioned "I'm Looking Forward to Joining You, Finally" because the beat of "While I'm Still Here" reminded me of that song

Green Baron
August 28th 2013


20010 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I Would For You is probably my favorite so far, Find My Way a close second. Everything can (and probably will) change on my second listen

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Green Baron
August 28th 2013


20010 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I Would For You is probably my favorite so far, Find My Way a close second. Everything can (and probably will) change on my second listen

theshelfmaster
August 28th 2013


221 Comments


Came Back Haunted is a cross between Closer and The Hand that Feeds or somethin

greg84
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2013


7421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Cool review. Pos'd hard.

Digging: Dope Body - Lifer

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
August 28th 2013


19933 Comments


greg why don't you make an avatar it's not that hard lol

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2013


6206 Comments


Good review, pos.

Should check this, I guess.

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation



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