Archive for the ‘Industrial’ Category

h1

Halloween Albums

October 24, 2008

Halloween is near, and I have started to pick out some spooky favorites from the music library. I figured it might be appropriate to acknowledge some of the more genuinely scary or creepy albums I have come in contact with over the years. Six might seem like a rather arbitrary number, but these releases are of a rare breed and I find each one to be essential to the list. Of course there’s nothing wrong with traditional Halloween music (the Monster Mash, sure), or some other fun retro music that might be appropriate for the holiday (The Cramps!), but if you want something that might really creep you out, this list might be able to help.

♦♦♦♦♦

Alice in Chains – Dirt

Alice in Chains’ second album Dirt arrived just in time for the Halloween season in 1992, and took over the grunge scene with its spooky hard rocking style. The album is almost unbelievably advanced past the band’s debut album Facelift, every song taking on its own texturally rich identity. In terms of technical skill, every member of the band is in prime form despite their drug addictions which are reflected heavily in the album’s lyrical themes. The late and great Layne Staley spits “what the hell am I/thousand eyes a fly/lucky then I’d be/if one day deceased” on one of the album’s underhand knockouts Sickman. We can hear both the anger and anguish associated with personal breakdowns and drug abuse. The consistency of the album alone makes it one of the finest albums that grunge had to offer, with a killer lineup of singles, the hammering Them Bones, Vietnam reminiscent Rooster, and possibly the greatest grunge single ever, Would?. But the highlights don’t stop there; the album also has a slew of brooding, slow moving, moody masterpieces (Dirt, Rain When I Die, Down In A Hole), as well as many other sleeper highlights (God Smack is the origin of the name of AiC knockoffs Godsmack, to exemplify the album’s influence). Although Alice in Chains’ best work may be scattered throughout their albums and EPs, Dirt is easily their most representative and possibly most accomplished work, a scary, fun, and emotional masterpiece of its genre.

♦♦♦♦♦

Slint – Spiderland

Considered the premier post rock album, Slint’s second and final album Spiderland is made by a band with absolutely nothing to lose. Perhaps it is this that makes it so startlingly affecting. How out of no where the album must have seen at the time is also probably a reason that it was as vastly influential as it is. But legacy aside, Spiderland is quite a scary album by all accounts, softly building damaged melodies out of nothing and then disassembling them again. As soon as the opening arpeggiated harmonics of Breadcrumb Trail start, it sounds like the beginning of the end. This mysterious, slow urgency pulls the listener through the albums six unsettling songs with great anxiousness. All of Slint’s weaponry is fully formed here; their percussive anger, David Pajo’s atmospheric guitars and sense of instrumental tension, and Brian McMahan’s oft whispered creepy poetry. These elements make for six completely perfect songs, the rocking Nosferatu Man, the quiet, brooding Don Amon, the sadly beautiful Washer, and the extremely quiet instrumental For Dinner… It all seems to lead to something, and when it does, we get one of the single scariest and most beautiful songs of the nineties, Good Morning Captain, which evades all explanation. It may disappoint fans that the subsequent two song Slint EP was as far as the band would ever go, but Slint’s three releases, and particularly Spiderland were all they needed to be one of the most important bands of their genre.

♦♦♦♦♦

Boards of Canada – Geogaddi

With Board’s of Canda’s second major full length release Geogaddi, brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin make certain that their love of degradation and psychosis plays itself out on more than just their own production values. In fact, one might be given the false impression of their own mental degradation while listening to the album, it is so elaborately and eerily constructed. Although its format is essentially the same as its championing predecessor Music Has The Right To Children (long pieces dispersed with very short pieces, beat driven IDM), their style is distinctly advanced over their previous works. The album is almost extravagantly detailed with myriad fascinating jigsaw pieces of sound; reversed beats, distorted vocal samples, dissonant chords, and heavy aural contrasts provide the album’s basic groundwork. Although some pieces here are vaguely reminiscent of previous fan favorites (Sunshine Recorder, 1969, Dawn Chorus), every song is highly advanced and vaguely unsettling. Throughout the album Boards of Canada paint as they call it a vast, winding, labyrinthine “journey” through a beautiful and horribly warped dreamland. Once you follow the white rabbit down the hole, something immediately seems very, horribly wrong, and this feeling is played with, turned upside down and inside out at every turn of the album. The more you think about it, the more it scares you, and the more one recognizes its intricacies such as mathematical structures, biblical references, and distorted fascination with the occult, the more one wants to dismiss Geogaddi as pretentious and supersaturated. However, it is a genuinely creepy album, and its ominous atmosphere cannot be denied. And yet the brothers state the ultimate innocuousness of the album in interviews. “…If we’re spiritual at all, it’s purely in the sense of caring about art and inspiring people with ideas.” (interview “Play Twice Before LIstening” by Koen Poolman). Despite what its message is, Geogaddi is an album that genuinely brings you to the brink of your own mind and refuses to let you forget the experience.

♦♦♦♦♦

Coil – The Ape of Naples

If any album has ever been literally haunted, or at least come close, The Ape of Naples is the culprit. Created posthumously after Coil frontman John Balance tragically fell to his death over the banisters of his Mansfield home in a drunken stupor, The Ape of Naples is actually a collection of the industrial/electronic band’s leftover material. This makes the overall cohesion of the album nothing short of a small miracle of planning. In fact, it makes little to no sense that this album is more than a rarities compilation, and it is more, much more. Through it’s lengthy textural songs it develops many stories with real life reference points, perhaps outlining both the experiences of the unsettling said ape on the cover art as well as John Balance’s descent into alcohol addiction. The haunting opening chords of Fire of The Mind (the original title of the album) set the stage for an album loaded with treasures, all uniquely disturbing and affecting. Songs call on an eclectic selection of instruments such as accordions, marimbas, horns and pipes, and as always carefully synthesized melodies, beats, and atmospherics. Songs range from gentle to violent, and the album’s transformation is downright scary. The Ape of Naples is an all around great performance from all those involved, but John Balance remains the album’s key player. His voice touches every song in different ways, and his emotion is fluid, sometimes gracing songs with subtle melancholy and other times with spitting anger. The album comes to a close with a cover of the British sitcom Are You Being Served?’‘s theme song Going Up, featuring vocals from Balance’s final onstage performance at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival in 2004. And with John Balance’s final vocals, locations of bedding materials, tea, and travel products as well as the final direction of an elevator, it isn’t hard to hear him simultaneously falling down and going up.

♦♦♦♦♦

Merzbow – 1930

Many non-noise fans may turn on Japanese noise godfather’s quintessential album, 1930, and be disgusted. It is, to put it one way, a deliberately disgusting album, barely music in any traditional sense, and more of a terrifying sound assault. Perhaps best at home in a torture chamber (just how the bondage obsessed Merzbow would like it), listening to 1930 at loud volumes is a potentially terrifying experience that can push one’s sanity to the limit. Once again, it is barely even music, but more an aural representation of a mile high battleship with cannons filling every square inch, all firing at the listener at the same time. Reach for the off switch and the terror goes away temporarily, but curiosity will make you turn it on again at some point, and when you get curious enough to listen to the entire thing, you probably won’t be able to turn it off as much as you want to. There is something almost inhuman and unearthly about 1930 that manages to consistently fascinate here, and even if you can’t bear to turn the volume up higher than a whisper, it is unspeakably overbearing. Everything from the fiery title track to the dizzying cacophony of Degradation of Tape to the final explosive, twenty two minute, ever changing Iron, Glass, Blocks and White, everything here is sheer chaos. For how brutal and unpredictable it is, it is no surprise that this horrifying album is considered a cornerstone of noise music. To say it is good or bad is irrelevant, because it definitely shouldn’t be judged by the same standards as any other album on this list, let alone any form of “art” on this planet.

♦♦♦♦♦

Brian Eno – Ambient 4

Brian Eno’s final installment in his Ambient series is possibly the most emotionally startling ambient album of all time, and may be considered to be the first dark ambient album. In that sense it is hard to imagine the entire genre of demonic dark ambient texture without this album as a precursor, although Ambient 4 is anything but paganistic or demonic. In fact, there is little to nothing subversive about Ambient 4 in the slightest, except perhaps its one odd song out, the deliberately creepy Shadow featuring Jon Hassell on trumpet, although if we are talking about scare factor the song is the album’s clear winner. Beyond this song, the album makes its goals known almost instantaneously and follows through with its goals systematically, like the other members of the beautiful ambient family. Moreso than any other album on this list, Ambient 4 carries a wide range of emotions with it, of which horror is only one. The collection of soundtracks to geographic locations here range from touchingly calm (A Clearing) to impendingly scary (The Lost Day). The distant chains of Lantern Marsh, the distorted miasma of Tal Coat, the birds and frogs of Leeks Hills…The album is startlingly emotional in ways that can be simultaneously relaxing and unsettling. On one hand, you get the feeling that at any point during the album someone could appear behind you and cause your heart to skip a beat, and yet at the same time the soundscapes are warm and completely safe sounding. The wide range of emotion here is mostly due to simple skill in production and crafting of music. The soundscapes sound so deftly realistic that the emotion comes quite naturally and makes the overall product quite moving. This may be the one to play on the boombox outside when the trick-or-treaters come by.

♦♦♦♦♦

Advertisements
h1

Nine Inch Nails – The Slip

June 3, 2008

The price of admission for a Nine Inch Nails album has hit all ends of the spectrum. From high prices for The Fragile and Still to a fascinating marketing campaign for Year Zero, to a choose your own price and format trick following in Radiohead’s footsteps (which Reznor subsequently trash talked), and now to the ultimate price, free.

Yes, that’s right, you no longer have to pay anything for a Nine Inch Nails album, but unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t have paid that much for it anyway. The sad truth is that The Slip sounds like a rehashed With Teeth, except worse in almost every respect. In fact, I’m sure we could line up tracks from either album back to back and anyone who had not heard either album before could not distinguish any stylistic differences. The music features pounding drums like With Teeth, tired riffs with the same tonal leaps and dull modulations, and lyrics that once again work against Trent Reznor’s for the most part excellent vocal talent.

Almost every song is disposable. The album starts out like it might actually be doing something worthwhile. A first impression might sense that Reznor has decided to keep each track moving at a fast pace, improving upon the With Teeth style flaw that was many slow, boring passages. However, both 1,000,000 and Letting You are fairly forgettable. Even the single, Discipline, has nothing new to offer. But nothing much anyone can say will ease the blow of the downright embarassing Echoplex.

The album is not without it’s successes. The victories come in through the hushed soundscapes of 999,999, Corona Radiata, and Lights In The Sky, which says something about Reznor’s knack for his recently taken up ambient style. But until Ghosts V-VIII, we have The Slip to listen to, and the ambient tracks will not save it.

Anyone except a Nine Inch Nails fan would want to skip this album, even at the free price. And fans will be disappointed too. The style that With Teeth established was never that great to begin with, but The Slip makes With Teeth look like The Downward Spiral. The fact of the matter is that Trent Reznor will never make any albums as good as Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, or The Fragile ever again, and it is time to stop believing that he can.

h1

Nine Inch Nails – Still

July 19, 2007

When Trent Reznor released the live album And All That Could Have Been in 2002, some versions were packaged with an individual “Halo” (his personal moniker for an album) called “Still.” You can’t find it in stores. It’s too rare. You used to be able to find it for purchase on Nine Inch Nails’ website, but it’s sale was discontinued. And if you were to find it in a used record store, it’s rarity would nail it at a ridiculous price. To be sure, this is the exact wrong Nine Inch Nails album to be the rarest, not only because it is a wonderful commodity to fans but also because of the unique and important place it holds in Reznor’s discography. The catch of this record is that it is Nine Inch Nails in it’s most stripped down form, most of the time featuring nothing more than Reznor’s voice, a piano, soft synthesizers, a few non-intrusive beats, and on one occasion an acoustic guitar. To put it simply, this is as close to a Nine Inch Nails Unplugged as anyone will ever get.

Having gotten this on a whim simply because it sounded interesting, it was at first off putting, mostly because I am so used to hearing Reznor’s brutal beats and blistering synthesizers. Whatever scary things I thought I had heard from Nine Inch Nails before, nothing could have possibly prepared me for Still. This nine track simplistic reinvention of Reznor’s music is much more destructive than The Downward Spiral and a vital part of his career that NEEDED to be released. In comparison, And All That Could Have Been simply pales and seems unnecessary. It is more emotionally powerful than the equally brilliant The Downward Spiral, and it rivals The Fragile in scope. To truly understand the record, one must rewind three years back to the release of The Fragile, the most progressive album in Trent’s career where his sound was completely reinvented and a whole new landscape of music was wrought out of raw emotion and studio know-how. Stylistically, Still sounds very much like The Fragile mostly because a lot of the songs are from the Fragile sessions. And in fact, a lot of what The Fragile was about was, go figure, musical fragility and the part it plays in music that is aurally huge. These songs are mostly just piano and are the very spirit of fragility.

What is certain is that this acoustic album is the core, the keystone, the ultimate facet of Trent Reznor’s career. Whether or not it is the greatest is up for grabs. The Downward Spiral and The Fragile are both killer albums worthy of much praise, but they both have their individual issues that push listeners away. Still, on the other hand, is in many ways a quintessential recording, and probably the most accessible and easy to understand record he has ever made. And yet with as much honest and forthrightness as Still contains, it is still emotionally biting and as destructive as any other Halo.

The song selection is quite interesting and highly effective. The first song, Something I Can Never Have, features only piano and vocals and, while not a complete reinvention, is quite moving. The problem here is the lyrics, which cannot be changed from their cheesy originals, but are still nonetheless given fine vocal treatment from a generally fantastic vocalist despite his mediocrity in lyrics. It is a good song that was meant for this album. This is not the only vocal highlight, though. The song The Fragile is given a wonderful, somewhat chilled rendition as well. And The Day The World Went Away is given similar treatment. What made the original so striking was it’s layered sound, and yet the melody stands just as strong at it’s barest. And possibly the most striking, And All That Could Have Been is an unbelievable display of versatility moving in waves of subtle melody through more intense sections and one of Reznor’s most pained vocal performances. These songs are true winners.

One song that needs to be individually addressed is The Becoming. Upon the release of The Downward Spiral, the song was dismissed as being annoying and kitschy with it’s repeating backdrop of the sounds of people screaming in terror. And yet it was one of the best songs on the album. In any case, the song is extremely heavy and probably not meant for Still, an album that prides itself on albums of the exact opposite stature. Some might say it works, and others might say it doesn’t. There is something completely convincing about Reznor not refraining himself from screaming his lungs out and doing the original version justice even in this stripped down version. It is an important song and represents The Downward Spiral very well. It is usually by the time The Becoming rolls around that the listener realizes that The Downward Spiral is a themed album, about someone going completely insane and throwing everything away, one piece at a time. The lyrics “it won’t give up/it wants me dead/god damn this noise inside my head” is the final straw that collapses the camels back and makes the listener realize what is going on with haunting precision. In this way, it is essential, even though it’s sound and anger does not fit in with Still. It is a more instrumentally reserved version that is well appreciated.

Four of the songs on the album are instrumentals of unmeasurable power and emotion, and are easily the greatest assets of the album. Instrumentals have always been an interesting strength of Nine Inch Nails, some of the best being La Mer, A Warm Place, and Just Like You Imagined (which many may know as one of the various themes of the movie 300). However, all the instrumentals here almost make everything else seem like a waste of time. The albums second song, Adrift And At Peace, perfectly represents it’s title and features the signature Fragile piano sound. Then midway through the album, the interestingly named Gone Still is more haunting than anything that preceded it. But the true, haunting resolve comes in the last two instrumentals which make up the last ten minutes of the album. They are completely triumphant in marking Still as Nine Inch Nails’ most telling, moving album.

If you ever had any doubts about the integrity or talent of Trent Reznor, this is the place you should go. This is the core of his career, created at the height of his drug addiction, at a time which his emotion was brought to the forefront in his music. Regardless of whether or not you like the rest of his music, chances are Still will move you in some way. If you are a Nine Inch Nails fan who doesn’t have this, make it an immediate goal to acquire it. And if you are looking for a place to start and you know someone who has this, go for it. I can’t stress enough how moving this album is. It might be his most valuable, rewarding disk. Triumph feels great.

h1

Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

April 18, 2007

I wasn’t really expecting too much from this album. At all. It already didn’t have things going for it, considering there was only a two year gap between albums this time as opposed to the usual five or six, so one would have to assume that the product would be far less up to par than the other Nine Inch Nails that were so meticulously constructed over a long period of time. But really I think I could have thought the opposite too. With Teeth was good, and it’s best moments were very original, but it wasn’t quite up to par with the rest of Reznor’s discography and at times the motivation could have been calculated as a simple cash in after a really long musical break. I don’t know how long this took to make, but I can imagine it must have been under less stressed conditions and without many obligations. I do wonder if Reznor’s New Orleans mega studio was damaged during Katrina. Anyway, this has a lot of people talking. I wasn’t that excited about it when I heard four of the tracks had been released, two officially and two purposefully leaked by Reznor himself in flash drives carefully placed in bathrooms in venues on NIN’s current European tour. Trent is clearly outdoing himself on this album. Not only does he plan to release every song individually in garage band format to give fans a chance at remixing, but he has also has constructed an elaborate propaganda driven advertising scheme (see anotherversionofthetruth.com and then click and drag your mouse around the screen). The album is clearly themed, mostly around a fictional American future where the government and religion has complete organized control over the masses. Really, this doesn’t play into the music or lyrics too much, so no biggie. It sounds just pretentious enough to be annoying but it’s not. What is left to judge is the music itself, which in some ways was better than I was expecting but falters in some ways as well.

What I will say first is this is a much more interesting and progressive listen than With Teeth, which in some ways is good because it almost seemed like at times With Teeth was tired and burnt out as great as it was, and it borrowed a lot of it’s elements from it’s already sprawling predecessor The Fragile. Year Zero conversely is long, changes it up fast and often, and it establishes it’s own identity better. Reznor hasn’t changed his goals, but that’s good. He still tries to make very good industrial styled music driven by catchy synthesizers, adrenaline pumping beats, and sheer testosterone. What’s good about this is he’s still one of the few people in the business that can make industrial music without acting like a complete tool. The idea now is to be more electronic and less rock. What is convenient about this is Trent can do whatever the hell he wants on the electronic spectrum and still recreate his style with ease, this time without the grindy guitars and such. The beats are now much more toe tapping and the mood can change at a whim from the contemplative grooves reminiscent of The Fragile to electronic dance tracks almost rivaling closer. This is good. The versatility is appreciated.

The biggest problem I find with the music here is Reznor’s vocals. Not his voice though. Like Eddie Vedder, it seems that his voice hasn’t deteriorated at all within the last twenty years. And he is a very good vocalist for what he tries to do. His vocals here are simply mediocre at times. Instead of taking a more melodic approach like his earlier stuff, he now doesn’t seem to know what to do with his vocals and just kind of starts yelling a flat tone every once in a while. It doesn’t completely ruin everything, and it’s a flaw that isn’t too difficult to get over and look past, but it does leave a bitter taste in my, uh, ears. Me, I’m Not otherwise sounds like the most interesting computer glitch you’ve ever heard but is unfortunately kind of ruined by Reznor’s shot at hip hop styled vocals. A complete misfire. The vocals were actually the problem I had with the single Survivalism. This song is a grower, for sure. Reznor’s yells at first sound very ascending and aimless, but he is in fact hitting a note that wasn’t so apparent on the low quality early leaks. It’s a good song, but just not obviously. The album isn’t without it’s downright weak songs. They are mostly towards the last half of the album, and The Greater Good comes to mind as the worst.

But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the strengths are better than the weaknesses. There aren’t as many outstanding songs here as on previous albums, but most everything is at least good. After some consideration I’ve decided that Survivalism is worthy enough to represent the album, and My Violent Heart is the most catchy synthesizer line since Ruiner over ten years ago. This is an album worth cranking the volume on, but there are some recurring demons. Because the album progresses at such a quick pace, often times the best hooks that are worth hanging onto for the span of an entire song are left as interludes. Even the opening instrumental HYPERPOWER! is very good, as stupid as it sounds. And what Reznor has done is successfully removed himself from the introspective pain that he held onto for quite a few years with The Fragile and With Teeth. Once again, this is a very interesting album to listen to and hear develop, and it builds it’s own personality pretty damn well.

BUT. I’m not sure that it is better than With Teeth. Upon further listening things are opening up more and more to me, but in general this stands alongside With Teeth as being weaker than anything else in the discography. This is alright though, because it does have moments that justify it, and at times this can be downright compelling. And to be honest, Nine Inch Nails have never released a bad album. They do, however, have a hard time releasing an outstanding album. It’s still somewhat sleazy industrial music, and there really aren’t that many great songs, but like always the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts. But this album shows promise, it’s inevitable sequel is apparently already being written, and it makes for a fun and surprisingly good angry electronic album. Some people despise it and call it another blemish on popular music and other people are hailing it as a modern alternative rock opera. To be honest, it’s not nearly that bad but at the same not nearly that standout. When you listen to this, just remember not to take the brilliant marketing campaign into too much consideration when you decided how much you like this. If you didn’t like Nine Inch Nails in the first place this won’t convert you, but if you liked the “bands” earlier stuff than this is well worth getting.

h1

Nine Inch Nails – Broken

January 6, 2007

With all due respect, should Pretty Hate Machine really stand as the obelisk that it is over the industrial genre? I’m personally not so sure. It is a great record, that much is true, but if anything it should get the respect for breaking ground and being the first great industrial record there was. But by now, the record is simply dated. While the songs are mostly fantastic, the production does not quite live up to todays standards, a fair amount of industrial ideals are not fleshed out, and it is simply not the best industrial record there is. It sounds very eighties even when I listen to it now. There is a lot of echo on the vocals and snare, and the instrumentation is very programmed. Pretty Hate Machine is damn good, and it brought a vital sense of clarity to the genre, but not only is it not as good as The Downward Spiral but it also doesn’t change much or express the anger that the industrial genre can often times be all about. Trent Reznor was really getting somewhere with Head Like A Hole and proved himself by making a fantastic electronica record, but it wasn’t until his follow up EP record Broken when his ambitions truly came first circle.

By 1992, Trent Reznor, the main man behind Nine Inch Nails, was in a frustrating place. He had basically been fucked over by TVT for the past three years and was having extremely hard times with the label releasing any music. That as well as a live lineup that was hard pressed to settle and the frustration of setting up a new lable that he wouldn’t be pained by, the still active Nothing, surely made Reznor pretty upset. The freedom of having his own label prooved fruitful, because now he could move where ever he wanted musically and express anger through music of his recent problems. That’s exactly what he did. He sacrificed a bit of polish to get his feelings out appropriately. For that reason, while Broken may not be as good, important, or rewarding as Pretty Hate Machine, it at least seems to make a bit more sense and is more honest about things. This is the first of NINs records to feature outward anger and grinding guitars that would come to distinguish some of the later records. For these reasons and more, this is sort of a landmark record in NINs career.

The opening track Pinion is a bit of useless filler, but it foreshadows things to come, so it does sort of have a use. Same thing goes for Help Me I Am In Hell. Both are essentially throwaway instrumentals, but some of Reznors later instrumental creations would be in the same league and yet infinitely better. These tracks could have just been made louder and they would have meant significantly more. But if these tracks really meant that much and Reznor really had that much to say, this would have been a full album and not an EP. But theres not anything wrong with just an EP, because this one does justice. The other four initial songs are fantastic.

The second song Wish is the standout, and the one that got radio play. It’s fast, driving, and adrenaline pounding, qualities that nothing on Pretty Hate Machine had all of. Head Like A Hole had two of them but it was just a bit too top heavy to really get the listener completely excited, and at that it’s intentions were simply different and it suceeded more in being a sexual song. Wish, however, does the job. It’s flaw is a big one though that almost puts it on the line. I have never had a problem with any of Nine Inch Nail’s production other than with this song. After Trent says “This is the first day of my last days,” the guitar explosion sounds mediocre when it could sound less fuzzy and much cooler. The rest of the song is fine but this misfire that repeats itself throughout the song is a big problem for the song, and for that reason it doesn’t quite unseat Head Like A Hole as coolest and most effective song for up to this point in Trent Reznor’s career.

The other songs are just as good. Happiness In Slavery is a fantastic jolt of anger, and expresses honest feelings about a lack of freedom in the record industry (at least that’s what I think). A heavy swagger is enduced fully and effectively by Last, and is just as headbangable as Wish despite how slow it is. It broods, something that is great for industrial music. And Gave Up is cool too, but not quite as good as it’s predecessors. It does feature guitar production that should have been featured on Wish, and putting the two next to one another is very telling.

And then after Gave Up wraps up, we have ninety one consecutive one second long tracks of silence. Anyone with half a brain knows there is a bonus track in store. In fact, there are two, and they are both covers. The songs are Physical (You’re So) by Adam And The Ants (interesting choice) and Suck by Pigface. Both songs aren’t very close to the mood of the rest of the songs on the EP, but there was really no reason to hide them as they are both very good. Physical (You’re So) is a perfect vessel for Trent Reznor’s more light tastes, and yet it is just as heavy and romping as it’s predecessors. Even so, it is almost positive in a hard rock sort of way. It is a completely faithful yet strikingly new interpretation on an already good song. The last track, Suck, measures up though. I’m not completely familiar with Pigface at all so I don’t really know the origins of this song too well at all, but I believe even the original had Trent on vocals and he may have also been a songwriter. I don’t think this is Pigface’s original version, but it’s a great song.

Really, I can’t say enough good things about this EP. It’s actually one of my favorite EPs ever just because it stays completely consistant without really missing a beat save a few tiny things I could nitpick about, and it builds on Trent Reznors ever-expanding stylistic repertoire. This is essential for even casual fans, and stands tall next all of NINs full albums, even Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral. If you like industrial, or even just hard rock or metal, GET THIS. Don’t even think twice.