By Dane Anderson
Released August 30th, 2013 - UMusic
Back in 2009 when Trent Reznor announced that Nine Inch Nails would ‘disappear' for a while, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking Reznor was going to retire and happily live off the riches of previous NIN hits.
Thankfully Reznor is not like that, in fact it seems he's the complete opposite as he went from How To Destroy Angels with his new wifeMariqueen Maandig and Atticus Ross, to Movie Soundtracks for The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to contributing to the Sound City album, and even the latest Queens Of The Stone Agealbum.
So with such a heavy work ethic it came as no surprise that he was making music again under the Nine Inch Nails moniker.
Hesitation Marks is the eighth studio album for Nine Inch Nails and their first album since 2008's The Slip, and while its no surprise Reznor has revived the band which we know him for, what does come as a surprise is how pop-friendly the album is. Granted you won't hear any Britney Spears or Taylor Swift style tunes, as Reznor still maintains the Industrial rock feel the band is renowned for. But the songs seem accessible in a more catchy technique.
Originally Reznor was putting together a couple of tracks for a greatest hits package but the songs gave way to more and ended up producing an entire album. Those songs were the infectious 'Everything', which has a pop-punk feel in the verse before a typically louder chorus and the more industrial ‘Satellite' whose lyrics seem relevant to our current GCSB saga.
Both are surprisingly lighter than previous NIN records though still maintain the addictive melodies Reznor plucks from obscurity.
Gone are the vast landscape of sounds created on parts of The Fragile, Year Zero, and Ghosts I-IV, instead replaced with more defined songs.
‘Came Back Haunted' is the lead single and isn't anything you haven't heard from NIN with its layered synthesizer parts, rhythmic patterns, and heavy bass line, making it sound more of an update in a previous NIN song.
‘Copy Of A' is a certain standout with its drum machine, loops, synths epic trance feel. While other standouts include the almost Radiohead sounding ‘Disappointed' with its bleeps and bops verse and screeching guitar hollows in the background, the catchy chorus of ‘Various Methods Of Escape' driven with its distinctive guitar, and the repetitious ‘Running' with a funk and groove sound to it.
There isn't a lot wrong with Hesitation Marks as it sees NIN return to an album akin to The Downward Spiral, with the main exception of Reznor being in a much better head space this time round, with more maturity, less angst and void of all his previous publicised addictions with drugs etc.
While it may not live up to the standard if you're into the more heavier sounding Nine Inch Nails, but you have to be thankful of Trent Reznor and his ability to produce music that will always push the limitations of what a band should be.
4 / 5