"Hesitation Marks" (Columbia; 2013)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The name of this disc is taken from the act of self-harming: Before you actually cut, you hesitate.  Yeah, you thought NIN went soft or something? This is NIN's eighth studio disc and it's been five years since "The Slip" so it was good to hear they were back with some new material. Although they will likely never rise to the fame of "Closer" or even "Head Like A Hole" status, NIN still capture the Industrial and Electronic Rock flag without even trying. Plus, I don't think they were writing those songs to be radio hits anyway.

Most people who have heard Nine Inch Nails did so in a club or in an industrial setting. This isn't the kind of music you cue up for a lazy afternoon, it's the type of music you get up and move to. I'm moving right now while typing this review. It's too hard not to! All of the music on "Hesitation Marks" is excellent. I don't listen to NIN too often, I'll admit, but as long as they keep releasing music, I'll come back for more. As futuristic as this disc sounds, it still has that time stamp on it from 1990 because that's the sound we all know.

NIN: Trent Reznor vocal and instrumental performance, production; plus a whole lot of other people.

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"Ghosts" (Self-released; 2008)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame has once again stretched the limits of heavy music. With "Ghosts," Reznor allows the listener to choose the level of recording they want: You can download nine songs for free, 36 songs (plus artwork) for $5.00 (I picked that one), a two-CD set for $10.00, a deluxe edition for $75.00 and an ultra-deluxe, limited edition, signed package for $300. What a truly genius marketing plan! 

As for the music, each track is entitled "Ghosts" and each has a movement and number. I now have thirty-six songs named "Ghost" on my iPod. Each cut is a look into the inner workings of Reznor and friends. The songs are dark and twisted images and each one could be and should be listened to in a darkened mansion with candles and wind blowing in the background. 

Oh, by the way, did I mention they are all instrumental pieces? That in no way detracts from the overall coolness of this recording. There is more than enough here to allow you to sit back and let the music take you on a trip. 

So, what can I possibly say about this recording that has not been said already? Okay. Here goes: If this music were not so sinister, perverse and darkly original, it would not be Nine Inch Nails.

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"Live. And All That Could Have Been" (Nothing; 2002)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Okay. In most cases you don't want to pick up a live CD that has the following words proudly inscribed inside its cover: "All audio was edited, assembled and manipulated on Macintosh Apple computers using DigiDesign's ProTools software." ProTools is a great software program but, In most cases, you want a live CD to be as pure and as true to the live performance as possible. You don't want a bunch of in-studio mucking about after the original performance has been captured on tape. You want the show you saw - mistakes and all.

With the complex, industrial music of Nine Inch Nails, that in-studio tweaking seems to work just fine. This CD, captured during the band's recent tour, is a full-on, NIN experience that surprises you with its full sound and riveting performances. The music here isn't only tight and explosive, it's crystal clear and dynamic.

Containing 16 tracks and running at just over 74 minutes, "Live. And All That Could Have Been" is a fine document of a NIN concert as well as a unique recorded event that stands on its own. If you've never heard NIN, this might be a good CD to start out with.

Also offered via a CD insert is a second CD, "Still," that the record company calls "a special-edition companion CD." "Still" contains "deconstructed" performances of several Nine Inch Nails songs and unreleased new tracks. To order, visit

Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor; Danny Lohner; Jerome Dillon; Charlie Clouser; Robin Finck.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06 Mar 2022 14:38:30 -0500.