Nine Inch Nails
Bad Witch


4.1
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
June 25th, 2018 | 184 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: year of the witch

Bad Witch makes me greedy. Greedy for more volume, more depth, more songs, more spins: it makes me want to write essays upon essays about the sound of its sound. The laptop rock was conceptually fitting for Year Zero but got old pretty quickly, and for those who hold production and mixing as one of Nine Inch Nails' most important qualities like I do, you'll find plenty of ear candy here. Here a "Shit Mirror" or an "Ahead of Ourselves", absolutely crackling with kinetic energy, Pretty Hate Machine drum tracks wrapped in razor wire around a pair of nasty looking knuckle-busters. There a "Play the Goddamned Part" with saxophone and guitar lazily wandering in and out of the mix while the Ghosts-sounding drums clatter on and on, until a "God Break Down the Door" segues from it perfectly, saxophone suddenly wailing and drums thundering away like a cut from the Lost Highway soundtrack making a resurgence.

The transitions are what make the thing, equally as important as the actual songs here. Bad Witch finds Trent at a rare peak in terms of song flow and focus, and as a piece is absolutely deserving of the LP distinction, brutally short runtime be damned – has Kanye West taught us nothing? Not only that, but it attempts to provide some cohesion to a retrospectively inconsistent trilogy, and it can do so thematically if not in the actual music. "...Feels like I've been here before, but I don't know anymore, and I don't care anymore" was how "Branches/Bones" announced itself two years ago now; "feels like I've been here before, over and over again" is where our protagonist ends, suggesting either some very deep and thoughtful commentary on society or that Trent Reznor just likes to reuse lyrics, which honestly seems the most likely option. I don't know what the story of these EPs is supposed to be or how they might be related, and I don't know if it even matters; if we're supposed to obsessively hunt down the inherent clues like Year Zero or just nod along with recurring motifs a la With Teeth. It's whatever. The ambience which tapers off the end of Bad Witch evokes far more than Trent's often clumsy lyrics can do themselves, and if the man can't paint pictures with words, he does it fine with blasts of white noise, splintered instrumentals and a distortion pedal.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
JayEnder
June 25th 2018


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heh nice summary. A stab at Death Grips eh?

Spec
June 25th 2018


35547 Comments


Gotta check

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
June 25th 2018


24264 Comments


nice job with this one, kinda like the tone employed as it's definitely written for any NIN fan. I'll prob pass on this until I educate myself a bit more, however

ZombieToyDuck
June 25th 2018


6619 Comments


check downward spiral con, def a must

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2018


18217 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Ahead of Ourselves may be the best cut from this

Digging: Nina Simone - Wild is the Wind

JayEnder
June 25th 2018


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ agree with that. Or Over and Out.

Toondude10
June 25th 2018


13469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked Not The Actual Events a little more than this but this was still a good album nonetheless

Digging: Lovebites - Clockwork Immortality

Faraudo
June 25th 2018


2514 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ahead Of Ourselves is probably one of my favorite NIN tracks ever.

Digging: Chapel of Disease - ...and as We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced

bloc
June 25th 2018


53450 Comments


With all the "Time is running out" repetition, you'd think Over and Out is a Muse cover.

Ok album, kinda sucks that like 2 of the 6 songs on this thing are interludes but I'll live. Never was a big modern NIN fan anyway.

Digging: The Presets - Hi Viz

DropTune
June 25th 2018


1242 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice writeup. The transitions are great, but there's something about the album that keepa it from a 4 imo.

Toondude10
June 25th 2018


13469 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah I wasn't too big on the instrumental tracks either, that was my only real gripe with this

treeqt.
June 25th 2018


16962 Comments


instrumental tracks are by far the best simply because all the vocals are god awful

Tyler.
June 25th 2018


15676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

??



why the weird question mark ??

JayEnder
June 25th 2018


2643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Idk bloc Over and Out was super cool imo.

bloc
June 25th 2018


53450 Comments


It was fine, I was just making a poor joke lol

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2018


4658 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good review! I thought there was gonna be a deeper story in the trilogy, especially since the "booklet" for Add Violence contained a "world destruction synthesizer" closer to the Year Zero story (hence the sudden change from that direction - he mentioned he was getting too predictable with Add Violence). Reznor mentioned Not the Actual Events started with the idea that he's not fitting in the musical world anymore, he's older, not in touch anymore with all the trends. On Bad Witch he returned to this statement (after considering he was in fact okay and not obsolete), only fighting to create something new, interesting and up to date. Maybe I got it wrong, but he mentioned these things on that interview with Zane Lowe.



Anyway, I wish he added a couple more songs to have 40 minutes of material, but the LP stands well on its own even at 30 minutes.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
June 25th 2018


40868 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

A stab at Death Grips eh?




more just a reference, I like the new Grips a fair bit



Ahead of Ourselves may be the best cut from this




it might be, they're all honestly on about the same level for me, super consistent



why the weird question mark ??




uh cos normal ones show up as quote marks now my dude



cheers insomniac, I thought there was gonna be some crazy story too with all the mentions of being asleep, the recurring lyrics etc but honestly I'm glad they moved away from it

Digging: Earl Sweatshirt - Some Rap Songs

Tyler.
June 25th 2018


15676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didnt realize the website couldnt handle question marks lol

Tyler.
June 25th 2018


15676 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didnt realize the website couldnt handle question marks lol

decoyoctopus
June 25th 2018


159 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I genuinely believe this is Trent's best work since The Downward Spiral. It's so raw, noisy, and aggressive without much of the childish angst that dominated his earlier work. Consider also that at approximately 30 minutes of run time, its all fire and no filler. And the inclusion of saxophones on "Play the Goddamned Part" and "God Break Down the Door"? Genius.



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