Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth

Our Rating - 7 Readers Rating - 9

By Jeremy Gladstone for Kludge Magazine on May 1, 2005

The loyal following of Nine Inch Nails will certainly buy and like the new album With Teeth. Some artists can do no wrong for their fans, and Trent Reznor certainly falls into that category. The quality of the music of Nine Inch Nails has swelled and grown with each recording. Pretty Hate Machine was good, but overshadowed by The Downward Spiral the moment it came out. The same thing happened to The Downward Spiral when he released the mega-assault double album The Fragile. The progression, depth and maturity between each release are astounding. But when you release an amazing piece of industrial art like The Fragile, can your next album sound anything but slightly off the mark?

Because let me tell you; even though the new album has everything you’d hope a NIN album would have, the loud/quiet effect, the crunchy riffs, and the tortured vocals of Reznor but something about With Teeth lacks bite. A good listen to the album is accompanied with a strange feeling, like, couldn’t he have done more? It’s a good album, but why isn’t it a great album?

It could be because a few of the tunes are passable. This is a new thing for Nine Inch Nails, where each track has been carefully plotted out and ultra-recorded. The album almost sounds slack for what we know this musical genius is capable of, and perhaps there’s evidence of this on the recording itself. “Every Day is exactly the same,” might very well be an indication that Reznor isn’t having as much fun as he has had in the past. Ironically, it’s one of the best tracks on the album.

And there are other goodies. “Sunspots,” is slick like a slow funk, creative and dangerously sexy. “All the Love in the World,” With Teeth’s opener is laden with great harmonies and piano, and the beat that drives the middle is reminiscent of “The Hand That Feeds,” the album’s first single. “The Line Begins to blur” is the magnificent writing we have come to regard Reznor so highly for. It builds steam with some of the lowest end bass ever recorded and Reznor shouting in what sounds like an abandoned warehouse. It transforms into a hazy melodic chorus, featuring a vocal pattern that fits perfectly with the music.

Again, the point is that it’s not bad. It’s just not epic. And somehow that takes away from this recording just a little bit. There are a million reasons to get it anyway, any fan will tell you. There are a slew of aggressive tracks, fantastic sequencing and some great new vocal ideas. It’s not possible for Reznor and his crew to put out an album of low quality.

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