CD Review: Nine Inch Nails, "With Teeth" (Interscope)

By Jon Zahlaway for liveDaily on May 6, 2005

It's been nearly six years since Trent Reznor served up a new studio album--and, as usual, the industrial-rock mastermind's latest was worth the wait.

Unlike 1999's sprawling, 100-plus-minute "The Fragile," "With Teeth" is a compact collection that, in typical Reznor fashion, runs the gamut from lullaby-quiet to flesh-shreddingly fierce--sometimes within the same song.

All of the cuts bear Reznor's trademark man-vs.-machine, post-apocalyptic vibe, but longtime listeners will notice him venturing into new territory.

Examples of that evolution include lead-off cut "All the Love in the World," which starts off ultra-soft, briefly morphs into a lush, piano-driven pop tune, and ends sounding like something best described as industrial-gospel; politically charged first single "The Hand That Feeds," one of the catchiest songs Reznor's ever recorded; and the complex, cyborg-meets-swing title-track, which Reznor anchors with his flashy delivery of the chorus (pronounced "a-with-a-teeth-a").

Another new dimension: live drums on a number of cuts (Foo Fighter Dave Grohl's unmistakable signature is hammered all over mid-tempo rocker "The Collector," an evenly split Foo-NIN hybrid).

Lyrically based and, despite its varied textures, largely a straight-up rock album, "With Teeth" is a set that casual listeners will find more accessible than its predecessor; like any NIN album, though, there's still more than enough nuance to keep hardcore fans busy studying each track for some time to come. (Note to Trent: probably not enough to keep us busy for another six years, though, OK?)

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