By MIKE ROSS for Jam! Showbiz on September 1, 1999

Has "Dark Side of the Moon of the '90s" been taken yet?

OK, Radiohead, give it up.

Like the famous Pink Floyd record, Nine Inch Nails' new double CD contains music to be experienced rather than merely listened to.

Producer Trent Reznor - who for all intents and purposes is Nine Inch Nails - has crafted a masterpiece of sonic adventure that fuses the finest elements of groove, electronic music and heavy metal. Focusing mainly on human fears and weaknesses - give us your frail, your wretched, your fragile - Reznor deploys every musical instrument imaginable (including the kitchen sink, I think) while he veers from interludes of delicate, haunting beauty to raging industrial fury. It's presumably called "industrial" because it sounds like it was recorded in a sawmill. Reznor uses distortion, discord and angst like a great painter uses colours.

This is not just angry noise. Actual coherent songs lurk under what at first seems like a cacophonous soundtrack to some surreal, post-apocalyptic horror movie. Starf---ers Inc., which reveals Reznor's feelings about the modern cult of celebrity in no uncertain terms, is also certain to get your blood pumping. No You Don't, The Wretched and Even Deeper are other heavy highlights.

Reznor's dramatic symphony of doom sprawls over two CDs - designated "Left" and "Right" (do not play them both at the same time) and more than 100 minutes of some of the most fascinating music you'll hear this year - "alternative" rock in the truest sense of the term. The result is more than just a trip. It's a long and challenging journey.

Transcribed by Keith Duemling

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