Rambo-like Reznor Ripe with Rage

By Dan Aquilante for New York Post on May 17, 2005

DEEP, dark Trent Reznor hit the nail on the head with an aggressive yet tuneful concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom Sunday.

Reznor, who is Nine Inch Nails, got help crafting his industrial strength songs from a hard rock quartet most notably featuring the powerful rhythms of his longtime drummer Jerome Dillon and ex-Marilyn Manson bassist Jeordie White.

NIN snarled through the just-released album "With Teeth," as well as material spanning back to the group's late-'80s debut.

Reznor generally prefers to wear black — that is, until they invent a darker color — so he shocked fans by appearing in a starched, Sunday-school white dress shirt. But after just a couple of tunes, he had soaked it through with sweat and stripped down to a black tank-top.

With jet-black hair matted to his skull with perspiration, biceps bulging from his undershirt and a grimace of pain, Reznor sported a distinctly Rambo-like look. It was quite a change from the skinny, drug-addled guy who played the Garden during the "Fragile" tour just three years ago.

While most of the songs were played with head-banging vehemence, Reznor was razor sharp during music from 1994's "Downward Spiral."

Of the new, the bottom heavy "The Hand That Feeds" and the screamer "Getting Smaller" were his best efforts.

On "Burn," a concert rarity, written for the "Natural Born Killers" soundtrack, Reznor was so scary screaming "I'm gonna burn this whole world down," you wanted to take away his matches and hose him down.

Over 90 minutes, Reznor's set built in power and volume, leading up to the finale, "Head Like A Hole," the hit track from 1989's groundbreaking "Pretty Hate Machine."

He gave no encore, probably because it would have been anticlimactic. "Head Like a Hole" transformed the audience into a single-minded, fist-pumping machine — all ready and willing to obey the refrain: "Bow down before the one you serve."

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