Nine Inch Nails
Bad Witch


3.5
great

Review

by DropTune USER (65 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2018 | 56 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "You won't find the answers here, not the one's you came looking for."

Readers underestimate the difficulty in describing a Nine Inch Nails album. We’re taking a mystery wrapped in a riddle and penning it to a page. A group that was ruled too obscene for televised performances and mainstream radio waves is somehow expected to be described rationally. While scuffling through my notes, I wondered if any dictionary or thesaurus had phrases close to the Nine Inch Nails. The real question, however, was whether there were any existing words to describe Bad Witch. Breaking the chain of EP’s through the years, Reznor turns us on our heads with their shortest release to date. Barely making the margin of LP status, Nine Inch Nails opt for a commercial approach to their latest album in hopes of reinvigorating themselves. If one thing’s for certain, Nine Inch Nails know how to keep people guessing. I doubt anyone expected a jazz/industrial mash-up, then again, no one expected ‘Closer’ to be a hit single.

Nine Inch Nails look to find their place in the post-Trump cesspool of angst-ridden acts. Previous Reznor interviews saying the likes of, “You’re seeing the fall of America in real time,” hinted at something similar to With Teeth. Luckily for us, the Nails take a more aggressive approach to their music. The tone is dark and gritty with grinding synths and foggy atmospheres. ‘Sh*t Mirror’ thumps its way through your ears with a grooving bass and channeled vocals. Many, including myself, found Bad Witch to be influenced by his recent musical scores. The two instrumental tracks (‘Play the Godd**ned Part,’ and ‘I’m Not From This World’ respectively) carry a certain cinematic aspect. ‘Play’ has a sound similar to the recent Doom series or even Reznor’s work on Quake. The eerie atmosphere and machine-like effects give off an otherworldly aesthetic. This is all juxtaposed by the apparent jazz influence Bad Witch carries. ‘Over and Out’ begins with a jazzy beat that reminds me of A Perfect Circle’s ‘When the Levee Breaks.’ “Time is running out/I don’t know what I’m waiting for,” echoes from a tense Reznor voice as we fade into an oblivious cycle of instruments.

Bad Witch mostly continues with themes of old. Although it treads political territory (mostly in ‘Sh*t Mirror’), the record revolves around humanities weaknesses. Reznor remarked to The Guardian, “We’re just animals that, left to our own devices, will kill each other,” which seems to be the mission statement for ‘Ahead of Ourselves.’ “Created us in his image/Better be proud of his work/That is if he existed (Not so sure anymore)/That is if he existed,” Reznor spouts in a blasphemous tongue questioning God’s work. Witch acts as closure to the EP’s by ending Reznor’s “longing for truth” and moving onto grander themes. ‘God Break Down the Door’ does a great job tying those loose ends with, “You won't find the answers here” repeating through the song. The lyrics are barren as they usually are in a Nine Inch Nails album. Most are delirious and hidden within the music as it spirals in and out of your brain.

Overall, Bad Witch is a fine album. There isn’t anything too special going on here aside from the surprise EP break. It’s a short and sweet album that stands on its own two feet. I enjoy the newfound aggression employed throughout. It doesn’t try to imitate Downward Spiral and play like a sequel to it. Bad Witch shamelessly beats to its own drum. The record does borrow a bit from Bowie’s Blackstar, which isn’t surprising considering Reznor’s ties to Ziggy Stardust. It’s a fun little Easter egg to find while listening. My only problem with Bad Witch is there aren’t any takeaways from the album. It’s an enjoyable listen, but that’s as far as it goes. There aren’t any smash hits I’d see myself riding home about. It mostly does its job closing out the EP trilogy and establishing a newer darker sound. I find the record more creative than Add Violence, but not as grand or appealing as it should be. That isn’t to downplay the quality of course. It’s not a disappointing release, but not quite as fulfilling. I still recommend it to listeners nonetheless. It’s a gritty intellectual Nails album sure enough to scratch the itch left from its predecessors. If you like the EP’s, you’ll love Bad Witch. If not, you’ll like the heavy instruments and moody atmosphere. Do yourselves a favor and listen to some Nails.

Standout Tracks
Everything.



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user ratings (605)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Rowan5215 STAFF (4.1)
year of the witch...

AriDoe (4.5)
Not only the strongest of the trilogy, but the strongest Nine Inch Nails have been in a long time...

CaliforniaCatGirl (3)
The usual NIN crowd as well as new fans will be pleased....



Comments:Add a Comment 
KevinKC
June 22nd 2018


1191 Comments


"You won't find the answers here, not the one's you came looking for."

ones

DropTune
June 22nd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heh, thanks.

ArsMoriendi
June 22nd 2018


40763 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review, slightly harsher than my view though

Faraudo
June 22nd 2018


4516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I profoundly disagree with this review and with the avg.

DropTune
June 22nd 2018


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

>Nice review, slightly harsher than my view though

Harsh seems to be my trademark. Most of it is unintentional because I love the Nine Inch Nails.



>I profoundly disagree with this review and with the avg.

What's your opinion Faraudo? I'm always up for a good challenge.

bloc
June 22nd 2018


69399 Comments


Hopefully we get a chopped and screwed version of this called Bad Bitch

luci
June 22nd 2018


12844 Comments


nice to see a more balanced take on this album

heyadam
June 22nd 2018


4390 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get why people aren't super into it.



but ya this rules. def best of the trilogy and my fav project from Trent in a while

Faraudo
June 22nd 2018


4516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"What's your opinion Faraudo? I'm always up for a good challenge. "



Well, to make it short, a lot of it reminded me of albums like Broken (A 2018 NIN album sounding like that is nothing short of a miracle), The Downward Spiral, Year Zero and The Fragile to a degree. It also felt like a very dark Bowie album, like an homage of sorts, but with NIN's unique spin. Lyrics are concise and very strong, angst is back without feeling forced, instrumentation is quite complex and unique (I've never heard an album like this one to be quite honest), and the writing overall seems focused and thematic.



Gyromania
June 22nd 2018


36909 Comments


Downward spiral takes a MASSIVE shit on this

Faraudo
June 22nd 2018


4516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Of course it does, I said parts of it reminded me of TDS.

Frippertronics
Emeritus
June 22nd 2018


19511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Honestly the best thing NIN has put out since The Fragile



or, at least, it curbstomps anything he's done post-Year Zero

Faraudo
June 22nd 2018


4516 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Honestly the best thing NIN has put out since The Fragile"



Maybe with the exception of Year Zero, this is a correct assessment.



ArsMoriendi
June 22nd 2018


40763 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Year Zero is my favorite NIN album

Frippertronics
Emeritus
June 23rd 2018


19511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

ngl I could never get into YZ but it's one of the better post-Fragile records he's done

Gyromania
June 23rd 2018


36909 Comments


Downward spiral is the only nin album I like in its entirety. Fragile has some mad boring songs

MyDixieRekt
June 23rd 2018


346 Comments


this is pretty damn good, nice review bud

goblinilbog
June 23rd 2018


1073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

What I would do for a full length album like this and Not The Actual Events...

JayEnder
June 23rd 2018


19202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is cool and all but Year Zero is still my favorite post Fragile NIN.

goblinilbog
June 23rd 2018


1073 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Honestly With Teeth is probably my favorite post Fragile NIN but that's due to a large part because of personal connections to the album and because it was one of the first I heard (Hand That Feeds was the gateway song). Strictly musically speaking though, this Trilogy is #1 post fragile.



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