Nine Inch Nails leader Trent Reznor is back, and it's as if he never left

By TERESA GUBBINS for Dallas Star-Telegram on October 18, 2005

Angst as suffered by the young white male resurfaced snarling and roaring Monday night with the return of Nine Inch Nails, the industrial-rock band led by Trent Reznor, the angst-iest white male of all.

It's been six years since Reznor put out a record, but it might as well have been two weeks ago. That's how smoothly he picked up the thread of his old, if powerful, schtick.

He's a masterful performer who knows how to play to an arena while retaining a sense of the individual. Few rock musicians are as cunning at contrasting loud and soft; at juxtaposing huge, symphonic passages against moments of quiet simplicity where just his voice is backed by a brooding line of percussion.

Reznor played selections from Nine Inch Nails' new disc, With Teeth, along with staples including Head Like a Hole, Sin and an especially aggressive rendition of Wish.

He and his band, including new drummer Alex Carapetis, opened their set at American Airlines Center behind a gauzy white curtain and stayed there for the first song, Love Is Not Enough, looking like ghostly silhouettes with smoke issuing behind them. When the curtain finally rose, it seemed all the more dramatic to the crowd of about 11,000.

The two opening acts, Queens of the Stone Age and Death From Above 1979, seemed to embody two sides of the NIN coin.

Death, a scraggly two-piece from Canada, was chaotic, unruly noise.

Queens of the Stone Age, promoting a new record called Lullabies to Paralyze, possessed the same kind of measured self-awareness for which Reznor is known.

Like NIN, Queens of the Stone Age is led by a man with a strong, singular vision, in this case singer-guitarist Josh Homme. Like Reznor, Homme can seem to be on the verge of combustion, although he executes it with casualness, as he did when he threw down a dysfunctional guitar and then tossed its two pieces into the crowd. But where Reznor works out his issues with therapy-like analysis, Homme dispatched them with a powerful groove and awesome precise sprays of guitar.


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