Alternative Press


Januar 2002




Autor: Jason Pettigrew



Nine Inch Nails - and all that could have been

Live concert document reflects Trent Reznor‘s ambition, but not at the expense of audience satisfaction.

While Nine Inch Nails recordings have always offered sonic discovery and lyrical invective, the band‘s live shows have always been unhinged displays of mania. All of that impenetrable fog, strobe lighting, equipment destruction and grievous bodily harm consistently raised the dynamic stakes of their music. There‘s a big difference playing, oh, NIN‘s Broken EP on your home stereo, and then hearing Trent Reznor bark through a 120-decibel sound System while you are surrounded by a bunch ot people you‘d like to see on the business end of a sawed-off shotgun - especially if they‘re feeling the same way about you.

Fortunately, and all that could have been isn‘t just a barrage of 199-bpm sucker-punches. Sure, the Pretty Hate Machine anthems are here (save for “Down In It“; thanks, Trent!) and so are the fuel-injected displays of misanthropic nihilism that make The Downward Spiral and Broken so alluring (“Gave Up?“). But while many NIN fans couldn‘t get their head around the subtlety of 1999‘s The Fragile, the tracks representing that album here offer a well-balanced respite from this disc‘s fist-flying madness. Sure, “Starfuckers Inc.“ is a given meth-soaked ‘banger, but the delicate “Frail,“ the noirish “The Day The World Went Away“ and “The Great Below“ prove that a whisper can be just as intense as a throat-shearing yell (a concept lost in nü-metal America). This time, though, NIN‘s subtlety doesn‘t detract from the listening experience the way the ambient portions of the Fragility shows puzzled concertgoers.

With this live disc (and corresponding DVD), Nine Inch Nails have arrived at that elusive point where artistic fulfillment and audience expectation coalesce. The album works as the best NIN mix tape you never got around to making, as well as an aural resume of Reznor‘s capabilities and his potential future aesthetic options. The days of him stomping an assembly line of DX-7 synths to rubble onstage may be over, but that only means something else - man, machine or perhaps Reznor himself—is gonna pay later. Even after 11 years, NIN‘s ride remains as exhilarating as ever.

(nothing) Jason Pettigrew


and all that could have been

Personnel: Trent Reznor (vocals, guitars, synthesizers), Charlie Clouser (synthesizer, samplers, vocals), Robin Finck (guitars, vocals), Danny Lohner (bass, synthesizer, vocals), Jerome Dillon (drums)

Producer: Trent Reznor

Engineers: Dave “Rave“ Ogilvie, Jan Lemon, Leo Herrera, Paul Forgues

Recorded live during the 2000 Fragility 2.0 tour in various American cities