Nine Inch Nails
Ghosts VI: Locusts


4.2
excellent

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
March 27th, 2020 | 86 replies


Release Date: 03/27/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Night and day coincide.

With Trent Reznor, there’s always an ulterior motive behind his actions, especially when NIN is concerned. To hear that Trent had dropped a new album out of the blue was a mild surprise, but even then, considering the recent predicament we all find ourselves in, it’s not all that shocking when you observe the many other artists currently writing new albums in their own isolation. What really got my attention though was hearing that Trent had released not one but two new records simultaneously, and for absolutely free via the Nine Inch Nails webstore. Upon hearing both chapters back to back, it’s pretty clear why it’s been set out this way. For one, it’s a much more accessible project now, segregating this two-hour-thirty-three-minute epic into two parts; but for another, it makes for a far more interesting listening experience that will resonate more with the individual listener. By that I mean it's clearly night and day in terms of its tonal shades: one is bright, soothing and hopefully, the other is dark, disturbing and despondent – yet both stand intertwined, siblings with fundamental similarities.

Chapter V

There is no detailed artwork, just the song titles as guidance to creating your own plot. Ghosts V: Together features a calmer, at times relaxed sound, yet you can feel tension slowly mounting around you. Reznor and Ross don’t allow you to completely let your guard down. Most of the album’s cuts go through several motions, ranging from lovely touches of piano and marimba leads to droning or even harrowing synthesizer pads. The overall atmosphere can be described as an uneasy mellowness for example. Something boils underneath, but for now you don’t want to be aware of that. You try to tend to yourself, as optimism is all you have now and don’t want to lose it. This subtleness Nine Inch Nails developed during the past decade works wonders for them. They knew how easy a song’s mood can be switched with just one chord or brooding sound (see ‘Apart’, ‘Hope We Can Again’ or ‘Together’) and those have become key moments here. At the same time, placing these two chapters side by side, makes you perceive these vibe changes easier. You see things will get worse, yet you don’t know exactly when, so you attentively keep listening to the music. – Raul Stanciu

Chapter VI

If Ghost V: Together was a Lynchian cinematic score, it would reside in The Elephant Man or The Straight Story; not without its murmurings of mild peril, but largely acting out with a light-hearted comportment. As such, if Ghost V: Together is going to be the relaxing introductory, you can bet your ass Ghosts VI: Locusts is the all-out Lynchian nightmare – something I was constantly reminded of whilst listening to it. This is the longest of the two parts – clocking itself in at nearly ninety-minutes – and in that time, you’ll be floating around helplessly in a black vacuum of dejected, sorrow-infused piano keys, trill, rustic electronics, and the rare presence of programmed drum beats (ala “Turn This Off Please”). It’s essentially an endurance test that has an incredible conclusion at the end of it, if you’re daring to brace the repetitive loops and unsettlingly nuanced mood changes. Where Ghost V: Together sounds more organic and acoustic in comparison, things sound and feel more industrialised here; adding to the authenticity of this dystopian hellhole. When I listen to this album, I feel like Thom Yorke’s Suspiria soundtrack played a pertinent role in developing these ideas here. There’s a haunted, ugly beauty being displayed, and it makes things all the more intriguing and esoteric because of it.

As a whole, I think I prefer Ghosts VI: Locusts, simply because of how effective its deranged sound palate is. Both albums work their way up to a crescendo, but the last thirty minutes or so of Ghosts VI: Locusts feels that little bit more cathartic and rewarding by the end of it. What starts off as simple, sombre piano notes eventually swells up to synthetic ambiences, and the rise of a mechanically unsettling apex for the album’s closing quarter. Both of these albums require time set aside to really benefit from their journeys, but it’s time well spent if you’re willing to accept it. If you’re more of a jump scare kind of guy/gal, this probably isn’t for you, but if you like a psychological creepfest, something that gets under your skin, Ghosts VI: Locusts is the way to go. Equally, if you like beautifully crafted, minimalistic ambiences that sit on the ethereal/spiritual spectrum with an unsettling undercurrent, Ghost V: Together will feed that insatiable hunger as well. Either way, this much content for absolutely nothing is a winning scenario for music lovers, and when you consider what a sterling job both of these albums do, it makes everything taste that much sweeter.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL

PACKAGING: N/A.

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://store-uk.nin.com/



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user ratings (129)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
jkr5001 (4)
The perfect soundtrack to the uncertainty and uneasiness most of the world is feeling right now....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

considering how this was released, myself and insomniac decided to do a little collab with this one. hope you all enjoy it.

Digging: Paradise Lost - Obsidian

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 27th 2020


12518 Comments


woah.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


5100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thanks for the collaborative review! Now I can take my time listening to Locusts as well! I listened to Almost Dawn separately and I probably kind of ruined all the buildups

Digging: Paradise Lost - Obsidian

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 27th 2020


34509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice work both of you. I'm not what you'd call a NIN fan, but I have always enjoyed the best cuts Reznor has to offer. Will check both albums (commenting here because the 'dark' aesthetic has my interest piqued more than the supposedly lighter-hearted 'Together').

Digging: Motion City Soundtrack - Go

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


5100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Thank you! Together in a way is complemented by Locusts, while the latter is a complete journey of its own (if it makes sense)

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks sow, let us know what you think.



“I listened to Almost Dawn separately and I probably kind of ruined all the buildups”

Awh, man, such a great closer as well!

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
March 27th 2020


9614 Comments


Psyched to check these

Digging: Jeff Rosenstock - NO DREAM

TetraVaal
March 27th 2020


180 Comments


I just started 'Ghost V', and I really like it so far.

'Letting Go While Holding On' sounds like it could be used perfectly for a series like David Fincher's 'Mindhunter'.

ArsMoriendi
March 27th 2020


29717 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Better than the other one, but still not my favorite thing ever.

Digging: The Kinks - Something Else by The Kinks

Lord(e)Po)))ts
March 27th 2020


54559 Comments


Yeah it's almost as if David Fincher has used Reznor and Ross before... uncanny

Digging: Populous - W

TetraVaal
March 27th 2020


180 Comments


Yeah it's almost as if I made that post based on them working together in the past.

Because it's not like they're currently composing the score for Mank or anything.

teamster
March 28th 2020


4923 Comments


And the other half. Thanks !

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 28th 2020


34509 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is such an unnerving/menacing experience. Feels like a slow descent into total blackness, but with weird sense of calm. This and Together are equally as good as each other.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

^



almost whole-heartedly agree. i think this one is a shade better though, just because the last few tracks really up the ante

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


43738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

good writeups here boys. given how dry it was from 2009-2015 on the Reznor front (I know we got Hesitation Marks, but that album sucks so whatever) we've been getting fed insanely by these lads. since then:



NTAE in 2016, Add Violence + Broken, Downward Spiral, The Fragile reissues in 2017, Bad Witch (his best work since like the 90s honestly) + Mid90s in 2018, *deep breath* With Teeth reissue, Bird Box, Waves, three volumes of Watchmen, Bird Box extended in 2019, and now two double-length albums for free and we're not even a quarter way through 2020. these absolute madlads are on a tear and I love it

Pikazilla
March 28th 2020


11126 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wtf hesitation marks did not suck

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

it did

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

and yeah, totally agree row, NIN's output has been plentiful. cant be a hard working artist, especially one that releases quality content time after time

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


43738 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

it did [2]



only good song on that shit is Copy of A, rest was bland or outright awful

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


16396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

easily NIN's worst album. i initially liked it, but replay value just wasnt there and the cracks quickly began to show



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