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Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth

Review: Jack Foley

NINE Inch Nails' frontman, Trent Reznor, describes the band's first album in five years as one of their most deeply-personal records to date.

What's more, it takes risks by being accessible, delivering singles that make it easy for listeners to latch on to.

It followed a period of intense self-investigation and subsequently startles with its clarity, juxtaposing some startling moments of renewed vigour with quieter moments of introspection.

Take the first two tracks, for instance.

All The Love In The World is a desperately brooding affair that builds slowly to its aching chorus without ever unleashing any of its pent up fury (the tingling piano and atmospheric bassline provide a haunting presence throughout).

You Know What You Are, however, is a full on assault on the world, driven by Reznor's tortured vocals and lyrics such as 'don't you fucking know what you are? You better take a good look because you're full of shit'.

With its warped, electro-tinged guitars and tidal wave drum rolls, it's one of several records that recall the brashness of some of their biggest singles (Head Like a Hole being the most obvious example).

Another of these is Getting Smaller, a fast and furious guitar anthem that recalls the best of the back catalogue, while also standing up to comparisons with the likes of Dave Grohl's Foo Fighters.

The album is at its best, however, when delving into so-called risk-taking territory.

New single, The Hand That Feeds, is certainly one of the more commercially accessible the band has delivered in ages, as well as deeply political.

In a recent interview, Reznor said that he wanted to resist too much world commentary, but had become so 'irritated and fed up with the political situation in America' that it just slipped in - hence emotive lyrics such as 'what if this whole crusade's a charade, and behind it all there's a price to be paid for the blood on which we dine, justified in the name of the holy and the divine'.

Elsewhere, Only hints at a retro-style that is becoming common-place in American music, but emerges triumphantly as a self-expose of how Reznor sees himself.

While the slow-building Right Where It Belongs is a genuinely tender moment, fuelled by some delightful piano that feels all the better for arriving after some of the heavier anthems.

Forthcoming single, Every Day Is Exactly The Same, is another belter, delivering Nine Inch Nails fans everything they could wish for and more from an NIN anthem.

And UK fans are in for an extra special treat as well, given the quality of the bonus tracks, Home and Right Where It Belongs (in a different, even more intimate format), which bring the album to a memorable finale.

So while Reznor may be trepidatious about the commercial nature of the album, he has little reason to be.

With Teeth is a masterful return that has plenty to delight the die-hard fans while reaching out to a much wider army of listeners - especially if they've been impressed with the latest efforts from Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters.

It may be personal, but it proves that one of the most influential bands of recent years has lost none of its bite.

Click here for Nine Inch Nails audio/video





Track listing:
1. All The Love In The World
2. You Know Who You Are?
3. The Collector
4. The Hand That Feeds
5. Love Is Not Enough
6. Every Day Is Exactly The Same
7. With Teeth
8. Only
9. Getting Smaller
10. Sunspots
11. The Line Begins To Blur
12. Beside You In Time
13. Right Where It Belongs
14. Home (Bonus Track)
15. Right Where It Belongs (Alternate Version 2)

Click here for Nine Inch Nails audio/video

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