Reznor's nails sharp as ever

By Alan K. Stout for Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre) on November 9, 2005

WILKES-BARRE TWP. Ð Industrial. Electronica. Alternative. New wave.

Progressive. Metal. Funk. Modern-rock.

Those are all words that have been used to describe Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor's incredibly intense musical melting pot that blasted the Wachovia Arena on Sunday. And those are the same musical ingredients he brought to the stage before the crowd of 5,000.

This band is fierce.

The group opened with the new "Love Is Not Enough" and "You Know What You Are?" and followed with a brutal, pounding and stomping performance of 1989's "Terrible Lie." Later, the band thumped its way through an excellent rendition of "Closer."

NIN remains a remarkable musical project. One minute, you feel like you're at a metal show, the next you feel as though you're at a rave. And often, this happens within the framework of the same song. While plenty of song writers and musicians like to say they combine lots of musical styles into their sound, Reznor really does it. Try to find another band that mixes Ministry with Megadeath, Tool and Depeche Mode.

NIN is also a noisy bunch and mixes its versatility with volume. Reznor, who sometimes appears completely enraged while he plays, screams as much as he sings, but it only adds to the power of the music. He's also always been known for his love of visuals and theatrics, and on Sunday there were some brilliant uses of video accompanying several songs.

Reznor is also good at piecing together a set list. The flow was seamless, the pacing perfect and the selection of songs from albums such as "Pretty Hate Machine," "The Downward Spiral," "Broken," "All that Could Have Been" and the new "With Teeth" all came with the same furor. The set ended with "Hurt," "The Hand That Feeds" and "Head Like a Hole."

Grooving one minute, thrashing the next. Even the late Johnny Cash, who beautifully covered "Hurt," was intrigued by NIN. Add two more words to that list of descriptions:

Still fascinating.

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