Review Summary: The usual NIN crowd as well as new fans will be pleased.
Here's my track-by-track review for NIN's newest album Bad Witch
1.) *** Mirror
I probably would have liked this track if it wasn’t so distorted. I like distortion, but it can be taken too far for my own tastes and I like to be able to hear Trent Reznor’s natural vocals. Then again, it IS called “*** Mirror”, so maybe every layer is supposed to sound like a crappy, refracted, over-processed reflection of itself.
2.) Ahead of Ourselves
As soon as the edited percussion came in, I thought “It’s Perfect Drug again” But it lacks all the weight, emotion, and clear vocals of Perfect Drug, so I think I’ll call this one “***ty Drug”. It’s a bare-bones, more distorted version of a hit they’re recycling.
3.) Play the Goddamned Part
Instrumental, electronic editing, no vocals. The beginning sounds more experimental like tired sludge followed by messy instrumentals. I found myself wondering if they just recorded the musicians tuning they’re instruments in someone’s garage and then added something a little more orderly later. Some aimless-sounding saxophone and high-pitched squealing comes in with some more distorted guitar. I kind of like some parts for the haunting effect the tones have. As the track goes on, it sounds less random and noisy and becomes patterned enough to sound either improvised or composed, or at least edited by the end of the track. I don’t hate it, and it’s relaxing to have on in the background while you’re doing something creative (I was cutting drawings out of old sketchbooks) but, to be honest, I had to listen to it 3 times because I kept forgetting it was on and zoned out. So, not badly-done, but, boring for me. I have a feeling it’s a track you really have to listen to for it to grow on you.
4.) God Break Down the Door
Kind of sounds like they just continued playing the last track but added vocals and more boingy noises and ear-hurty noises and drum set. It’s slightly less boring than the previous track, but definitely a song you have to be in a mood for. I think drugs would help. I feel this is sort of the star track, though, because it delivers what I think most NIN fans come to this band for.
5.) I’m Not From This World
Another instrumental track I listened to 3 times because I forgot I had music playing. I like it much better than track 3 because it seems to be more of a dark mood-music piece for goths who want to put on something to have sex to, but their partner is someone who can’t get into full-blown goth industrial. This track makes me think of a bunch of campers at night in the wilderness getting silently picked off one by one by some un-named beast. It’s ominous and ambient and relies on the suspense of one, lone instrumental part or 2 blending into the next unexpectedly. This one was probably my favorite.
6.) Over and Out
Very similar to track 5 but with vocals (still too edited for my taste, I just wanna hear him sing or scream!). A little more moody, more random layers of distorted stuff, but also adds some pretty stuff like a harp and piano and faded guitar.
It left me wanting for a little less distortion and clearer vocals, but still a pleasurable album that's well-done. I would have liked one more energetic track with a little punch to it, but I think the usual NIN crowd as well as new fans will be pleased. Overall 3/5.