When a band as big as Nine Inch Nails opts to play small venues and do multiple nights, you know that it’s going to be special. Back in 2009, I was lucky to get to go to a few of the Wave Goodbye shows Nine Inch Nails did in Los Angeles. I was able to go to the Wiltern, Fonda and Palladium shows. Each of those nights have always stood out in my concert going history. The Palladium show that evening was special as The Downward Spiral was played in its entirety. Last night didn’t have that happen but it was one of those shows that rank pretty high in my now 18 times seeing Nine Inch Nails.
The final installment of Nine Inch Nails 3 EP set is finally upon us. Bad Witch is the conclusion to Not The Actual Events and Add Violence and it provides a sense of closure to this piece of work. What Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have created is something that they should be proud of. Each EP stands out on its own merit, with each representing something different. Bad Witch seems to take a little bit from each of the other two and deconstruct it and open the wound for all to see.
Starting off with “Shit Mirror” is a perfect way to set the tone for what this EP is to be. Plus with a title like “Shit Mirror” you know you are going to get something that tingles up and down your spine. “Ahead Of Ourselves” is classic NIN over and over. This song could have been found on Broken or The Downward Spiral. And live, this song is one of those that the crowd will eat up. “Play The Goddamned Part” acts more as a segue but adds a very distinct mood to the middle part of the record. “God Break Down The Door” is a very Bowie-esque song that is more of a tribute to the late David Bowie. The saxophone parts on the song make the song feel bigger than it is and full of texture. “I’m Not From This World” is a stark and ambient track that will sink into your head and guide you along an escape from yourself. “Over and Out” segues perfectly from the previous song and in a beautiful way that is almost haunting and leaves you with a mantra.
The distorted electro jazz that permeates from the speakers as you listen to this EP, sucks you in to a vortex of awesomeness. The entire album is a David Bowie tribute in a way. You can definitely hear the inspiration and influence all over this album. In particular Bowie’s “Low” era. Bad Witch is a pessimistic album but it does come with a grain of optimism. It’s crazy to think that it’s been 30 years since Nine Inch Nails was first formed. Being a fan since I was a little kid till now as a full on adult, I and many of the fans out there, have been able to witness the true artistry of Trent. Each era and album that has ever been put out tells its own story. With the world the way it is now, it’s no wonder that this 3 part saga feels the way it does. Bad Witch is the perfect way to end this chapter. I sincerely hope that there is more to come. Trent and Atticus seemed to have really hit on something full of inspiration.
There are certain bands that I will always go see no matter how many times I’ve seen them live. Nine Inch Nails is atop that list and I’ve now seen them 17 times. Each time has been it’s own experience which makes all the shows that much more unique. This past weekend I had the pleasure to see my favorite band at The Joint in Las Vegas and it was just as epic as you would think it was. Trent and company would be performing on 3 different dates and I was lucky enough to be at 2 of the 3. I have to say I’m pretty sure I was at the best shows of the weekend.
How do you keep people’s attention these days when everything is so “instant?” Well, Trent Reznor has figured out a way to keep himself busy and creative. Rather than release a full length album, Trent has broken up the album format with a series of 3 EP’s. The first EP, Not The Actual Events was released late last year and set a tone of what was to come. The sounds permeating through combine lots of synths, ambience, new wave and industrial. In a way, Trent has pushed the boundaries towards a more stripped down “post-industrial” sound. The new EP, Add Violence, is chock full of intelligent and dark laden vibes that will make you feel like you are riding a huge wave into an abyss.
The first track “Less Than,” is a perfect way to open the EP and grab your attention. The song itself has a bit of a Pretty Hate Machine meets Hesitation Marks sound, giving you that “full circle” approach to where Trent is at in his musical journey. From there the EP takes a left turn and moves in a very Bowie-esque way. “The Lovers” and “This Isn’t The Place,” really show the love Trent has for Bowie in the way the music is delivered and the way the vocals are performed. There is definitely inspiration on these songs from David Bowie’s final album Blackstar. “Not Anymore” takes you on a sharp right turn from there and thrusts you into a reverb saturated, dark synth, almost classic angsty Nine Inch Nails song. Closing out the EP is “The Background World,” an almost 12 minute song that is layered with multitudes of sounds and synths that have an almost Massive Attack sort of feel to it.
Add Violence is Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross doing what they do best, and that is all you could ever ask for. Their work together over the years has truly become intriguing and thought provoking. The scores they have done for different films seems to have really inspired them both to see where they can take Nine Inch Nails. These 3 EP’s are not only the logical step for Trent and Nine Inch Nails but, also seems to be a new model for releasing music.
Trent Reznor promised more new Nine Inch Nails music this year and he didn’t disappoint. The new upcoming EP is entitled ADD VIOLENCE and the first single from that is called “Less Than.” What a great song. It contains elements of Pretty Hate Machine and Hesitation Marks, making this a full circle track.
I can’t wait for the whole EP which, will be released July 21!!!