Nine Inch Nails fans have a tough time. The average time-span that separates the releases between albums is around five years. During this time, NIN fans are forced to witness albums come out by lesser-quality artists more frequently than those by their beloved Trent. However, once Trent Reznor drops a new Nine Inch Nails album, NIN fans always get the pleasure of listening to a new release that is incredibly different and varied very time. Whether it’s the synthesized-based Pretty Hate Machine, the hard-driven guitar-inspired Broken, to the dark and bleak The Downward Spiral or to the epic The Fragile (my personal favorite). What makes all of these albums unique in sound and style is that they all contain the typical Nine Inch Nails vibe; they just simply differ in approach and style. The same could be said for Nine Inch Nails’ latest release, With Teeth.
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For With Teeth, Trent abandoned his typical sound of layered synthesizer and guitar sounds, in turn for a stripped-down and raw sounding record. The sounds are much more limited in scope, in turn Trent now favors more typical instruments such as guitar, bass, and live drums (provided by the essential Dave Grohl). The result though is simply outstanding. This record is still Nine Inch Nails; however, it’s just articulated much more differently this time around. This is not Trent Reznor’s St. Anger, in that the songs are actually strong. The opening track, “All the Love in the World,” is an ambient-inspired drum and bass track with piano parts thrown in between, which then builds into something much heavier, but the vocals have a very ‘60s and ‘70s R&B-type vibe to them, which sounds rather interesting. On the next track, “You Know What You Are?,” is by far the heaviest song by Nine Inch Nails to date (I never thought I would hear double-bass in a NIN song). It reminds me in a way of a Pantera song-meets-NIN’s classic anthem, “Wish.”
Another fantastic song on the album is the title track, which is an incredibly complex track, and it may be very hard for some people to get into, however, I do enjoy this song very much with its great use of distorted bass and an unusual vocal melody. Another great album track is “Sunspots,” which has Trent once again using an R&B-inspired vocal melody meshed around an another great baseline as well as the heavy guitars. “The Line Begins to Blur” is set to become another classic, with its heavy use of distorted chaos which then fades away to a ambient synth-melody which then fades to a Pink Floyd-influenced guitar solo. The album’s closing track, “Right Where it Belongs,” is a morningfull and sorrow-laced ballad that is reminiscent of “Hurt.”
As a whole, With Teeth by far surpasses by expectations for this record have been far surpassed. With Teeth may not have the epicness of The Fragile, the chaos and hostility of The Downward Spiral, or the rage of Broken, but With Teeth is a solid effort by Trent Reznor, as he his simply expressing his musical growth, which has always been an enlightening and enjoyable experience. Once again Trent, well done.