When looking back at the alternative boom in the 90's, many names come to mind: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Jane's Addiction, Beck, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Korn, Radiohead, Faith No More, etc. 90's alternative brought us a slew of new sounds to add to the ever-growing musical library. One of the most prominent bands from that era was Nine Inch Nails. Trent Reznor, the band's only offical member, brought the joys of mixing rock and electronic music to the mainstream. His passion and underlying angst was new when they arrived and set the bar for much of the 90's music scene.
In 1994 NIN released what many consider their masterwork, The Downward Spiral. This album fused together many genres and sounds such as gothic funk ("Closer"), electro-thrash (March of Pigs), ambience ("A Warm Place"), and acoustic balladry ("Hurt") to name a few. The album was a left field hit and sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. alone. NIN were at the top of their game.
With that in mind, an album of remixes only comes natural for an album of the magnitude of The Downward Spiral. That's not to say this album is bad. In fact, it's pretty good. Trent Reznor has always had a knack for choosing good remixes, and on this album, it was his most consistent outing yet.
The Downward Spiral was a dark, atmospheric record, and Further Down the Spiral uses thit as a launching pad. The remixes plunge into the dark and return the songs back in the form of twisted mutations. Songs like "Eraser (Denial- Realization)" and "The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)" truly add to their originals in the fact that they take what made those songs so special and blow it over the top. Also, songs like "At the Heart of It All" and "The Art of Self Destruction, Pt. 1" display this as well with the former showing a thick, haunting, industiral groove, and the latter progressing through a calm disturbing begining to a powerful thrash section that is even heavier than the original.
Despite the overall darkness of the album, there are also a few quirkier moments on the album, too. "Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)" takes out the jazziness of the original and instead opts for a solid porn groove and break beats. Also, in "Eraser (Polite)" strips the song of it's progressive carnage, only leaving it's vocals to stand amongst a whimsical melody. These songs break up some of the more monotonous of the album.
This brings me to the negatives of the cd. One is the fact there is a lack of variety in the songs. Most are pounding, haunting songs that shift back and forth between being weird, sample oriented atmospheres and heavy guitar loops. This is mostly due the over abundance of “Eraser” and “Mr. Self Destruct” remixes. Trent should have added more mixes (the European version of this is a good start). There are many great songs on The Downward Spiral that haven’t been used on the March of Pigs and Closer to God singles (“The Becoming”, “I Do Not Want This”, “Big Man With a Gun” [“Ruiner” and “Heresy” if you don’t count the European version]). This lack of variation and lost potential definitely bog down the album and it eventually grows tiresome.
Overall though, the album provides a great listen for those not familiar with Nine Inch Nails and industrial music in general. The album provides great atmosphere and enough ideas to keep it interesting even if it wears a little thin by the end. In conclusion, a good addition to fans of the genre and something other people should check out if the are interested.
(This is my first review on this site. Please help me in any way you can with my writing for I am always looking to improve.)