Nine Inch Nails
Ghosts V: Together


3.8
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
March 27th, 2020 | 55 replies


Release Date: 03/26/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The calm before the storm...

COVID-19 "froze" a large portion of areas on the planet, rapidly turning into a pandemic. Over a third of the countries are in lockdown, while the streets begin to reminisce post-apocalyptic movies/videogames. People are stressed out, don’t always obey safety restrictions and those with weak immune systems constantly fear for their health. Meanwhile, eastern Africa battles the biggest locust invasion in several decades. Besides these thrilling sci-fi movie-like scenarios, we’re headed towards a sudden economic downward spiral that will likely shake even the most stable countries in the world. Of course Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have designed a soundtrack for these hard times. Offered for free download (very sweet of them), Ghosts V: Together and Ghosts VI: Locusts are the latest installments in Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts series. Whereas the first four volumes were born out of 10 weeks worth of jamming alongside guest musicians on various instruments (including homemade ones), the latter two follow the electronic ambient approach of the soundtracks composed by the two members. Together was designed lighter in tone, sharing at times a glimmer of hope, meanwhile, Locusts wanders into darker territories.

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 never 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 at the moment 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 can a song’s mood 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.

If Ghosts 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 Ghosts 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, whirring, rustic electronics, and the rare presence of programmed drum beats (a la “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 Ghosts V: Together is more organic and acoustic sounding, 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 the ideas here. There’s a haunted, ugly beauty being displayed here, and it makes things sound all the more intriguing and esoteric because of it. - Simon

Ultimately, these two Ghosts volumes vastly expand this particular layer of Nine Inch Nails’ output. Yes, we’ve heard similar material from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but this (dark) ambient complements very well the other parts in the series. You can also observe the band’s mindset developing on minimalist structures, relying on the dense atmosphere they can build. It is a lot to take in, Together and Locusts require patience and a certain mood, however, both are meticulously crafted and deserve their place in the catalog.




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user ratings (171)
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4.5)
...

jkr5001 (4)
NIN's take on hope and optimism....


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Great collection of tunes, many thanks to Simon for the idea of intertwining the reviews for these two albums.



Stream Together and Locusts here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp58R7BEhrw&list=PLVhjwEM59tQSYKweLE6CxMXtYpkJ7mI7d

Digging: Boris - NO

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 27th 2020


12696 Comments


double woah.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2020


16446 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

cracking rev ins. thanks for joining forces

ArsMoriendi
March 27th 2020


30072 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

More focused than Ghosts I-V, but also still not really my thing



There's occasional moments that are REALLY good though.

Digging: Coil - Stolen And Contaminated Songs

Darius The Imposter
March 28th 2020


22352 Comments


pretty sure "pandemia" isn't an english word and the term you're looking for is pandemic but good review otherwise

teamster
March 28th 2020


5001 Comments


Tremendous. Can’t wait to listen!

Digging: Zealand The North - Brightness of an Endless Light

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 28th 2020


34980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is eerily gorgeous. Incredible isolation/lockdown music to space out to. Prob my favorite NIN in a long time.

Digging: Geology - Light of the Risen Year

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"pretty sure "pandemia" isn't an english word and the term you're looking for is pandemic but good review otherwise"



Thanks. I checked if pandemia is used in the English vocabulary and yes, it's another term for pandemic. Most probably used more in medicinal contexts. I'll switch it nevertheless.

Pikazilla
March 28th 2020


11348 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gonna listen to all of Ghosts today, great stuff as usual from T & A

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

That's gonna be an adventure

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 28th 2020


34980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The end of 'With Faith' is so beautiful...

I love Locusts and the two albums are virtually a tie, but this is being underrated in the context of the simultaneous release I think, if that's possible.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2020


5124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Yes, it seems so

Tunaboy45
March 28th 2020


17162 Comments


This is just what we needed right now

MO
March 28th 2020


22950 Comments


so stoked he released these. dove into a bit of locusts and it's fabulous

Zig
March 28th 2020


2128 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Enjoyed quite a lot. Better than I-IV, that's for sure.



Only didn't like last track's beat part. The rest is awesome to good.

Digging: Koenji Hyakkei - Dhorimviskha

CosmicPie
March 28th 2020


2559 Comments


Must check this. Bookmarked

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2020


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

anyone else hear a super high-pitched noise throughout "hope we can again"? was otherwise really enjoying that song

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 29th 2020


34980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes totally ruined the song for me. I actually said aloud 'are you fucking serious' it was that grating.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2020


1653 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i tried to stick it out because the actual music was so great but i couldn't take it and had to skip it

oltnabrick
March 29th 2020


39528 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

actually the best part about that song





your touch is my fav off this rn

Digging: Jasmine Guffond - Microphone Permission



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