Nine Inch Nails - Add Violence

by paul_guyet Rating:9 Release Date:2017-07-21

Note: I’m not going to even mention the ARG here. Okay? Good.

Add Violence is the second in a trilogy of related EPs from Nine Inch Nails…and it’s real good, you guys.

"Less Than”, the EP’s “radio single" is misleading in the best way possible. It’s like an ideal version of “The Hand That Feeds”, which was tired about two minutes into its first play; here’s hoping the weirdly retro synth and drum programming along with the jump kick to one’s front teeth this song provides will forever replace it in all future Nine Inch Nails live shows.

“The Lovers" is as dark and eerie as a song called “The Lovers" by Nine Inch Nails should be, featuring lyrics such as "hot swollen skin / want me take me / perfect embrace / black and bloody / rotten and perfect” and instrumentation that harkens back to “The Believers”, a track from the first How To Destroy Angels EP.

“This Isn’t The Place” has an almost jazzy feel to it and a gorgeous, syrupy slow build, culminating in some of the most vulnerable vocalizations Trent Reznor’s ever created.

"Not Anymore” is driven by an utterly filthy bass line, reminiscent of 2005’s “The Line Begins To Blur” but…just fucking filthier. Atticus Ross, you wash your bass, young man. It’s also creeping and schizophrenic and just unsettling as hell, one of the band’s most unique tracks to date.

Add Violence ends with “The Background World”, which clocks in at nearly 12 minutes. The first four and change are a solid Nine Inch Nails song, nothing more, nothing less, but the last seven and change are the digital equivalent of a locked groove, but instead of repeating the same few seconds over and over until the needle is lifted, the nine second phrase slowly degrades until it’s just a sludgy buzz. It’s…memorable.

This is some of the most challenging and experimental music from Nine Inch Nails since the stranger moments of Ghosts I-IV. Though I will say that, after one listen, I never have to hear those last seven plus minutes of “The Background World” ever again, just like I never need to hear Coil’s “Tunnel of Goats” ever again.

For those keeping track*, there are references to 2007’s Year Zero, 2013’s Welcome oblivion**, 1999’s The Fragile, 2011's score for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, last year’s Not The Actual Events, and even Bleedthrough, the unreleased concept album that later became 2005’s With Teeth….and that's not even taking into account the nods, Easter eggs, and allusions scattered around the cover art and accompanying music videos. Folks…there’s a lot to unpack here. But, for those who saw that episode of Twin Peaks and downloaded “She’s Gone Away” then heard “The" Nine Inch Nails had a new thing coming out and decided to check out Add Violence…well, sorry. After “Less Than”, you might just be let down and/or confused and/or terrified…and/or a Nine Inch Nails fan for the rest of your life.

* Like the thousands of people over at the Echoing The Sound forums

** Debut LP from Reznor’s side project How To Destroy Angels, which consists of Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Reznor's wife, Mariqueen Maandig.

Overall Rating (1)

5 out of 5 stars