With Teeth Review

By Johnny Davis for The Vanguard (U of South Alabama) on June 14, 2005

On Nine Inch Nails' latest release, Trent Reznor proclaims, "[I'm] less concerned about fitting into the world ... your world, that is."

NIN released "With Teeth" on May 3, their first studio album since 1999's "The Fragile." The songs on the new record appear to reveal a new attitude on life, maybe even happiness, from the man who spent much of the 1990s making some of the angriest music on the scene.

"I'm pretty happy now. Wait! Don't print that! You'll ruin my reputation," Reznor told Revolver Magazine in a recent interview. "At least lie and say that I've got a dead body in my closet or something."

The new album still sounds like a NIN record, though it lacks some of the aggression that defined NIN on 1992's "Broken" and 1994's "The Downward Spiral." Where "With Teeth" falls short in aggression, it makes up for in perfect song structure, brilliant lyrics and catchy electronic beats.

If Pink Floyd, Fatboy Slim and Ministry got together and made an album, this is what it would sound like.

NIN is considered a group, though the main contributor has always been singer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Reznor. He came out of the Cleveland underground scene in the late 80s and went from recording studio janitor to independent label powerhouse with his first release, 1989's "Pretty Hate Machine."

Reznor brought industrial music to the mainstream in the 90s after it began in the underground with Ministry and Skinny Puppy in the 80s.

Reznor followed the success of his first album with "Broken," which won him a Grammy for Best Heavy Metal Performance. He reached the pinnacle of his career with "The Downward Spiral," featuring the song "Closer," which dominated MTV and rock radio in the mid-90s.

This artist threw the industry a curveball five years later with "The Fragile," a double-album that was hard to grasp by many of the fans that had jumped on "The Downward Spiral" bandwagon. A lot of the songs from "With Teeth" could fit well on "The Fragile," but Reznor continues to pus boundaries.

The new album lacks some of the "teeth" of his earlier work, but Reznor continues to produce some of the most powerful and creative songs in heavy music today.

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