Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Single Review | Nine Inch Nails | 'God Break Down the Door' (2018)

image credit: nine inch nails

I know I’m not the only one that has been feverishly awaiting the news regarding the next Nine Inch Nails EP. After Not the Actual Events was released in 2016, Trent Reznor announced that it was the beginning of a trifecta of extended plays, which would be succeeded the following year with the release of Add Violence.

The waiting time between EP two and three was a long one, but we finally got the news on Reznor’s 52nd birthday no less (May 17). Not only will the last installment be arriving next month, but it’s an LP, not an EP … well, it’s pretty much the same length as the previous EPs — close to thirty minutes — but whatever you say, Reznor. Bad Witch will be the final installment in the trilogy and will technically be NIN’s ninth studio album.

On the same day that the album — Bad Witch — was revealed, a North American tour with The Jesus and the Mary Chain was also announced alongside the release of ‘God Break Down the Door’, the fourth track from the record, acting as its first single. And it's simultaneously what you would and wouldn’t expect from NIN.

First off, Reznor’s vocals. In an interview for Beats 1, Reznor said he’d “never had the courage to sing like that”, and I’m sure no one else realized he could, either. Instead of his gnarling, brooding vocals that are usually intertwined with distortion and electronic dissolution, here he sounds like a melancholic Sinatra. His voice croons and his voice swells in a vibrato that is so strange to hear that it almost doesn’t sound like Reznor. It’s only when his mannerisms and growls creep in that your reminded. His voice sounds deeper and contained, and it suits the sadistically smooth ‘God Break Down the Door’ perfectly.

Along with the newly adapted vocal structure, Reznor and Atticus Ross create a soundscape that Reznor has vaguely explored before on the soundtrack to David Lynch’s Lost Highway. It’s a sound that I can never quite pinpoint; there’s an obvious mix of ambient music and jazz in the instrumentation along with the obvious industrial undertones that NIN are famed for.

Then again, you could even go as far as saying that ‘God Break Down the Door’ — and the majority of the tracks on Lost Highway — are their own mystical genre of futuristic avant-guarde jazz / lounge music or something along those lines. Each and every element of the instrumentation that Reznor creates and Ross arranges is something that cannot be replicated again.

That’s the beauty of NIN. It’s a band and collaboration that is forever evolving and never dwelling on the same genre practices twice. 

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