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Old 05-15-2008, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
jackhammer
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: This Is England
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I will personally disregard the fact that the album is free and judge the album as an official paid for release. I think the general consensus amongst fans is that no matter how good Trent Reznor is a songwriter, vocally he is not the best. The track HURT addressed this somewhat until Jonny Cash's superlative version knocked this down a peg or two. However this should not distract from what is a fairly good NIN release.

Echoplex has a monotonous, spiky quality that has Joy Division written all over it and Letting You is a typical NIN chunky riff played over a repetitive drum pattern that echoes their early work. There are similarities with their debut Pretty Hate Machine on here minus the bleeps and squelches of a keyboard, which is no bad thing at all. Despite all the external noises and F/X that NIN sometimes bury themselves under, the fact stands that Reznor can write catchy accessible hooks and melodies that would not out of place on some pop albums.

What seperates Reznor from pop banality (ignoring the distorted adornments for a while) is the ability to write atmospheric and mournful tracks that still fit into an easy song structure.

The Four Of Us Are Dying carries itself on a simple drum loop/bass line and yet it manages to build atmosphere and album closer Demon Seed uses an off kilter drum pattern coupled with the lazy NIN riff we all love. A simple bass line appears a minute in and adds to the tracks simplicity yet charges the complexity of the song.

I personally think this is better than their official release Year Zero and although it will not win points for originality these days it is still comprehensively a solid NIN album.
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