First time here?  You may wish to take a look at the site index for a list of all posts, see the most popular content, or go to a random post.  You can subscribe to the site feed to be kept up to date on the latest posts as they are made.  If you want to contact me for any reason at all, please leave a comment after any post or send me an email.

Search This Blog


Album Spotlight: Nine Inch Nails - The Slip

Well, as promised in the last couple of singles that Nine Inch Nails released, heading to on May 5th yielded yet another great treat, this time in the form of a new album that is totally free to download. The Slip is the 27th official release from Nine Inch Nails (as you may already know, official Nine Inch Nails releases, including albums, EPs, and singles, have a Halo number assigned to them; The Slip is numbered as Halo 27) and was released on the website with the following message from Trent Reznor: "thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one's on me."

After the ambient, haunting, all-instrumental Ghosts I-IV (which was only released 2 months ago), The Slip represents a return to more familiar sonic territory. All of the NIN trademarks are here: vocals that range from a barely-heard whisper to a full-on scream, frenetic drumbeats, pulsating synths, guitars that are sometimes distorted past the point of recognition, and beautiful piano lines underscoring it all. It's definitely not as adventurous as Ghosts was, but given Reznor's message, I think a more traditional sounding album was exactly what he was going for.

The poppier sound of With Teeth and Year Zero can still be heard in songs like "Discipline" and "Echoplex", both of which are among the strongest songs on the album. "Discpiline" has the same kind of dirty-disco sound that "The Hand That Feeds" had, making it danceable and totally rocking at the same time. "Echoplex" also brings The Fragile to mind, being somewhat mellower and more guitar-driven.

Some of the drum sounds on this album are also particularly noteworthy. I especially like the sound of the drums on "1,000,000" - I can't recall the drums on any NIN song ever sounding so alive, and since the song starts off with nothing but drums, it really grabs the listener's attention. The following song, "Letting You", has some of the fastest drumming I've ever heard on a Nine Inch Nails song; they sound more programmed than live, but they really contribute to the aggressive feel of the song.

The Slip's emotional centerpiece comes in the form of a suite of songs that starts with "Lights in the Sky", a quiet, piano-driven ballad with some of the most gut-wrenching lyrics Reznor has ever written. It leads smoothly into "Corona Radiata", a lengthy instrumental piece that has two distict parts to it. The first is somewhat ethereal sounding, with the main melody played on what sounds like a heavily muted and processed piano; the second is very dark and ominous, with droning guitars, rising and falling synthesizers, and lots of noise, ending with what sounds like a scream that gets silenced just as quickly as it began; I think there are perhaps still some Ghosts making their presence felt in this song, which is fine by me. Another instrumental piece, "The Four of Us Are Dying", follows, this time with more of a Fragile feel to it.

Also included with the download is a PDF with liner notes and artwork for every song. As I mentioned in my review of "Echoplex", the artwork is very intriguing and looks like it could be a part of something bigger. Perhaps most intriguingly, the artwork for "Letting You" includes an element from the Year Zero artwork - does this imply a relationship between the two, or is it just a cool symbol that Trent wanted to reuse? Whatever the case, it is clear that, even if he is cranking out new music ten times faster than he ever did before, he has put an enormous amount of thought and care into the preparation of this album.

All in all, The Slip is one of the nicest surprises I've received so far this year. It contains everything that I like about Nine Inch Nails and is a great reminder of why I love this artist so much in the first place. I can't recommend this album highly enough, so if you are at all interested, please go download a copy for yourself and let me know what you think. Happy listening!


No comments: