Review Of The Downward Spiral

Originally published in U Magazine on April 1, 1994

Who says misery loves company? Nine Inch Nails rests on the idea that frustration is born of isolation. It's a formula that serves Trent Reznor well, especially on The Downward Spiral -- the full-length followup to 1989's Pretty Hate Machine. "Mr. Self Destruct," a song that progresses much like the title suggests, sets the tone for most of the album. Reznor plays the fiendish tour guide through 14 tracks that assault the listener with their sonic extremities.

While his focus has taken on a harder edge, the new material has some accessible moments. "Closer" is sure to be a dance hit with its quirky electronic beats and blasphemous chorus. "Hurt" offers layers of circuitry that brilliantly compete with Reznor's wavering vocals. Spiral is not easy to digest. Reznor's hook is that his intensity lives up to his ambition.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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