Album Review

Hesitation Marks

Hesitation Marks

by Nine Inch Nails


Columbia/Sony Music
7.8 / 10
16th September 2013

Reviewed by Paul Larsen


Over 25 years, eight studio albums, almost 1000 live shows and a list of past members and collaborators stretching into the dozens, Nine Inch Nails remain one of the true survivors of modern rock. After a successful stint in the world of soundtracks and somewhat less successful marital collaboration, the nucleus and architect of all this success, Trent Reznor has dusted off the NIN moniker for new studio album, Hesitation Marks.

While this is unmistakably a Nine Inch Nails record, there remain few remnants of the raw, scattergun aggression from embryonic records such as 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine. Hesitation Marks is a carefully crafted record featuring sweeping synths layered amid infrequent but unrelenting drum beats.

Make no mistake however; this isn’t Nine Inch Nails lite. Twin currents of despair and isolation are carved into the landscape of Hesitation Marks (named for the scars of aborted self harm). Though the themes are familiar, the sound is complex and compelling. The irregular timings and aborted rhythms of tracks like ‘Satellite’ and ‘Disappointed’ may veer a little close to soundtrack territory for some but recent live staples such as ‘Copy of A’ and ‘Come Back Haunted’ are on hand to offer a satisfyingly energetic counterpoint. Overall, this is some of Reznor’s most enthralling work and bodes well for the next 25 years.






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