Hateful : Nine Inch Nails "Downward Spiral"

By Carl Hammerschmidt for Hot Metal Magazine on April 1, 1994

It's a beautiful moment when, halfway into the fourth track, March Of The Pigs, all hell is breaking loose in the inimitable Nine Inch Nails fashion. Heavy techno bass, a high speed break beat, metallic high hat gnaws, mutated synth, distorted guitars saws-and Trent Reznor screaming for all he's worth. It's a sonic melee teetering on the verge of chaos which cuts to bass, a few bars, and nothing. Total silence. Then it happens. A melodic, smarmy piano refrain over which Trent does his best to harmonise, "Doesn't it make you feel better?". More silence. A moment's reflection. Then it cuts back to chaos. It's astonishing, it makes you laugh and it makes a point. And in answer to your question Trent, yes it does make me feel better, if only for a little while. You see, album number two for NIN is pure industrial strength catharsis. Like previous releases, The Downward Spiral is frustration distilled into an electronic palate of emotion: lyrical desire and repulsion framed by samples, keyboards, live drum loops and dirty guitar overload. It's a right musical purging that's both brutal and subtle, ugly and attractive, engrossing and abrasive. It's an album which takes some work, but if you're willing let's just say it's the gift that keeps on giving. Don't go changing Trent! 4 skulls out of 5.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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