Quantcast

Review: Nine Inch Nails emerges from darkness

This undated publicity photo provided by Columbia Records shows the album cover, “Hesitation Marks,” by Nine Inch Nails. AP

Nine Inch Nails, “Hesitation Marks” (Columbia)

Sun-kissed harmonies, funk-flecked guitar lines and — whisper it — a saxophone workout all make an appearance on “Hesitation Marks,” a surprising new offering from Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails after a lengthy, self-imposed hiatus.

In the five years since the industrial rockers’ last album, the 48-year old Reznor has won an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on “The Social Network,” married musician Mariqueen Maandig and become a father to two young boys. These developments are apparent in the makeup of “Hesitation Marks,” where chinks of light occasionally penetrate the darkness so prevalent on the band’s previous releases.

“Wish me well – I’ve become something else (just as well, really)” sings the front man on the surprisingly poppy track “Everything,” which has spawned a fan-made video of Reznor riding a white unicorn in front of a rainbow. Elsewhere, the falsetto-vocals and staccato guitar line of “All Time Low,” and the brass stabs that punctuate the shuffling rhythm of “While I’m Still Here” suggest Reznor is leading his troops to markedly new terrain.

The band’s trademark brand of decaying electronica and discordant noise has not been ditched altogether, though. The opening four tracks play like a “best of” Nine Inch Nails. Lead-off single “Came Back Haunted” couples existential lyrics with aggressive synths and a searing guitar line. And spiritual ballad “Find My Way” echoes the group’s 1995 single “Hurt.”

The intriguing “Hesitation Marks” often resembles a ship trying to break free from its moorings. Once the final rope snaps, Reznor promises to deliver one hell of a trip – but, until then, longtime fans of Nine Inch Nails will be relieved to find that underneath the album’s occasionally bright, brash surface there’s still a heart of darkness beating strong and steady.


Follow Us






Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94