Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Aug 18th, 2017

Nine Inch Nails: Add Violence

Nine Inch Nails
Add Violence
(The Null Corporation)

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At this point in the game, Nine Inch Nails doesn’t really have to do anything outrageous. They pretty much drove the definition of a genre, and inspired a generation of angry kids to don fishnets and buy Casio keyboards. Trent Reznor and company have been moving in some shape or form for 25+ years from the likes of Pretty Hate Machine to the Academy Awards with the soundtrack to The Social Network.

Reznor has bleeped, and blopped his way to superstardom on a razor’s edge with a sound that was molten metal and steel cut from the Rust Belt. Reznor has put out some outstanding music over the span of his career. Unfortunately, in the last decade or so his music outside of the David Fincher films has been mediocre at best.

The originality of what NIN has all but disappeared and left us with only a cool angled 3 letter bumper sticker. All of their work from Pretty Hate Machine through The Fragile were A-list game changers, but much of their music since has really been hit or miss. Late last December, Reznor put out an EP titled Not the Actual Events, which was meant to be the first of a trilogy of EPs. The second EP with Atticus Ross as a full time member, titled Add Violence, starts in that vein of early 90s NIN, and adds some clarity to the noise that he has pushed for so long.

Out of the gate, “Less Than” brings back a classic NIN sound with high energy and those 5th grade poetry lyrics I have come to love so much. “The Lovers” breaks out with a Latin beat that Reznor could have lent to Drake to turn into a Top 10 hit. The spoken word poetry in the song adds to its overall mystique.

“This Isn’t the Place” is an eerie, horror-movie piece with piano arpeggios a la Bowie circa Aladdin Sane. The smoky, Twin Peaks jazz club feel is very welcome. “The Background World” plods along a deep computer generated landscape something that would have fit nicely on an episode of Stranger Things.

The great thing about NIN is that their music lends itself very well to images, there is a world lurking behind their songs. Ghosts I-IV was where they unleashed that, and it was certainly underrated. Here’s hoping the greatness of Reznor and Ross’s love of film scores eventually merges with the angst of a NIN project.

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Nine Inch Nails: Add Violence