Review: Nine Inch Nails, "With Teeth"

By Adam Graham for Detroit News on May 6, 2005

Trent Reznor is Frustrated Incorporated, and "With Teeth" -- Nine Inch Nails' fourth full-length album in its 15-plus years -- is his grand re-opening sale. Come one, come all, he seems to say, for misery loves company, and "With Teeth" is the pity party of the year. Reznor is still as isolated and full of self-doubt as ever, but he's corralled his demons -- both personal and artistic -- and created an album that's concise, cohesive and soberingly angry. Exhibit A is first single "The Hand That Feeds," which plays like a long lost sequel to "Head Like a Hole" and closes with Reznor repeatedly, with increasing frustration and urgency, screaming the song's chorus, in an attempt to aurally assault the listener. And it works. Yes, Reznor's tools are familiar, but his execution is streamlined. Nine Inch Nails once again sounds like a band, instead of an art project (as it did on 1999's laborious "The Fragile"). Throughout, the album packs a pulverizing percussive punch -- thanks to Dave Grohl -- and stings with industrial strength self-loathing. As for Reznor, he's down, but not out: "I think I'm losing my grip, but I can still make a fist," he intones on "Getting Smaller." He can still gnash his teeth too. "With Teeth" bites -- in a good way. GRADE: B+