Monday, May 5, 2008

Nine Inch Nails
The Slip
Rating: 4/5 stars

Mr. Reznor has gotten mighty ambitious since his departure from Interscope Records. For a man who used to put an album out every five years or so, to have four new albums (five, if you count the Year Zero Remixed album) in only three years is just unheard of. So when does he start to sound monotonous? When will his new material begin to sound bloated? Not just yet. Just released on NIN’s official website at 2 this morning, The Slip is a fitting album with the rest of Reznor’s oeuvre. Equipped with even heavier guitar distortion (most likely owed to the return of former guitarist, Robin Finck) and more computerized beats than before, this record is a heady step forward from the entirely instrumental Ghosts I-IV. While Ghosts was a veritable eye of the storm after the chaos of Year Zero, The Slip throws you right back into the destruction and calamity we’re used to hearing from Reznor. And what would a Nine Inch Nails album be without hooks? Never fear, pop fanatics, TR has retained his catchiness in songs like the lead single “Discipline,” and “Head Down,” which is easily the highlight of the album with its complex drum loop and beautifully frail vocal delivery. A strange serenity occurs towards the end of the album in the form of “Lights In The Sky” and “Corona Radiata,” which, with their piano-based sound (and lack of vocals in the case of the latter track), seem like outtakes from The Fragile. But when an album as texturally layered and complex as this comes along as a free gift from a musical madman like Reznor, it makes more sense to embrace it than to question it . . . and when it’s this good, that won’t be too difficult to do. - Neil Miller, Jr.

Nine Inch Nails will be performing at Lollapalooza.