Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth

By unknown for Spacelab on May 3, 2005

The techno-industrial bohemoeth Trent Reznor is back from self-imposed exile with a new album. It's called With Teeth and it's the new Nine Inch Nails album.

The album is of course dark, industrial, and electric. I think it makes an improvement over the transitional album The Fragile. That was a good album, but very muddled, as NIN worked through new sounds and ways of making music. With Teeth is more stripped down to the bone (and teeth) of the NIN sound. It's more forward, and direct, and right in front of your face.

Trent seems to have returned to some the motivations behind Pretty Hate Machine and Broken, and retranslated them back through what he was doing on The Fragile. It ends up as a quick moving machine, but kind of unpredictable, and you feel like if you don't keep an eye on it it will fly out of control and crack you across the mouth.

The opening song, All The Love In The World, warms up with building noise and piano, and launches you into the second track, You Know What You Are. And this kicks you like old-school industrial from Skinny Puppy or Pigface. It's all thrashy guitars and noisy distorted vocals and sharp drums all over the place.

The Hand That Feeds comes up two songs later. This is the first big single from the album. To completely experience NIN you must see the visuals at the same time, so try the video link below to watch the video that goes with it. On the first listen I thought it was built with too much thought behind mass consumption, like it was radio-friendly or being left open for a TV soundtrack compilation. But that notion kind of wore off after a few listens, after hearing the song side-by-side with other songs on the album. And seeing the video.

It's dark and almost bitter and cold. At the same time, it's filled with parts that are more human and approachable, so it's not down the whole time. And that kind of makes it interesting, because too much time on either side would be less of an album.

RATING: ***** 4 out of 5 stars