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on 24 January 2002
I've been a NIN fan for years and even though Mr. Reznor makes the most amazing albums he often seems to churn out constantly dissapointing companion discs that contain remixes that only the NIN completeist would ever dare touch. After the let down that was Things Falling Apart I hoped and prayed that this latest effort would be something a little more special than a bunch of rubbish remixes. It looks like my prayers were answered...
The Fragility Tour was an amazing experience (I was there) and Trent's decision to diocument NIN at its very best has turned out to be one of the greatest ideas he's had in a while. This CD is stunning, recreating the Fragility experience from begining to end and what a begining it is. Put the CD in your stereo and push play to be instantly attacked by Terrible Lie, loud, harsh and as clear to listen to as if you were there at the gig! While other live recordings have been pretty poor quality this has been worked on for a while and it shows. Every layer of the industrial madness is presented here with full clarity. Moving swiftly on into Sin, and then March of The Pigs you feel as if your there and getting rather hot and sweaty before Trent calms down a little and follows one pig song with another classic, Piggy. Fantastic.
This album could be labelled a "Best Of" as it is jammed packed with NIN classics such as Closer, Head Like a Hole and Starfucker's Inc. and this is by no means a bad thing. It's amazing to hear the difference between NIN live and studio produced NIN. Trent seems to go through a transformation on stage, he seems much more liberated. The stage is where NIN truly belong and this album shows it without a shadow of a doubt.
The companion disc Still is an interesting addition with a few new songs including All That Could Have Been, which is a lovely piece with some songs produced in a deconstructed fashion. But it is the main Live disc that stands out and rightly so.
If you are a NIN fan, you NEED to buy this CD before you can get on with the rest of your life, and for those who have never bought a NIN album and wonder what all the fuss is about, check it out. A fabulous piece of work that wraps up the Fragility experience until the next NIN album...
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on 29 November 2002
When ever I tell people that I think NIN are amongst the best talent around, straight away they snigger and say 'heavy metal is out dude!'.
This live album does EVERYTHING I want it to, to prove that NIN are NOT heavy metal and are in fact a band led by Trent Reznor, who are not afraid to release angst, love, torment and many other human emotions throughout their music. 'Sin', 'Wish','Head Like A Hole' and 'Starf**kers Inc' show a combination of examples of the unhappier side of life, which so many people are afraid to talk about.
I love the fact that NIN reach a level which thousands of fans worldwide relate to and this album shows us why. It is fast and loud then slow and thoughtful and every lyric means something to someone.
I have to say though, that the best part of this is disc 2, purely because it is so relaxing and melodic, it is the perfect example of how NIN are in there own class and have talent beyond the reach of any of the young hopefuls you see day in and day out on TV. We all have different tastes I know, but there is no substitute for talent, but that is what you get across the two discs in this set. Maybe if Trent does a duet with Elton John, deserved praise will be given. 5 Stars!!
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on 1 February 2002
For those of you who didn't fork out the money to have this sent from the US. Let me say, that you are in for a treat. I saw a lot of the Fragility Tour as I was living in the US at the time. The first (live)CD sent shivers down my spine, I was back on the lawn at Pittsburgh when it finally got to HURT, classic NIN. However, the second CD is the real revelation. YOU MAKE IT ALL GO AWAY is pared down and chilling to hear. THE FRAGILE is in the same vein. And some new stuff, very welcome. Things Falling Apart had few bright spots, but this is alive with them. Trent said that the next CD of new stuff would be brutal, bring it on!
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on 2 December 2003
If you wanted to find Nine Inch Nails's polar opposite's you need look no further than this double CD. The live disc captures extremely well the raw energy and pace of the Fragility Live Show. I saw both gigs at the Brixton Academy in '99 and this is a great memento to have. The song list chosen for the show works perfectly, fast to slow tracks, the band picks up speed and then gives the audience an breather with the middle section, then accelerates away again until bringing it all home with 'Hurt' (The DVD of the show gives you way more with the excellent stage visuals by the way). Best live album I've heard in a long time, along with Ministy's 'Sphinctour', another recommendation!!!
The other side of all this is the 'Still' disc. Wow. This is where Reznor's Classical training as a young guy really pays off. Beautiful, haunting, expressive, you can really lose yourself in this stuff. It puts me in mind of some of the more recent 'composers', such as Michael Nyman's earlier work, and Wim Merten's, especially his soundtrack for 'The Belly Of An Architect', another wonderous piece of work. It's such a shame that when you talk about Nine Inch Nails to the regular joes they only know 'Closer' and say 'Aren't they a Trash Metal Band?' D'uh!!! Reznor really should be appreciated in the mainstream more than he is, I mean when you look at Manson's exposure on MTV it just grates when he gets the play and NIN can only sometimes be found at 2 in the morning on 120 minutes..... On the other hand, maybe that's how we Nine Inch Nails fans like it, it's our little secret, and as long as Reznor keeps on supplying us and surprising us with real gems like this album (even the packaging is cool!!), then that's how it should stay. Genius at work.....................
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on 4 September 2002
And All That Could Have Been comes as two CDs - one composed of concert footage ("Live") and the other from the studio ("Still"). Live includes a whole bunch of old favourites, and some newer favourites, all well presented with a lot of Nine Inch Nails rage and energy. All present and correct. Typically for live recordings, though, it lacks the precision and clarity of studio works. I prefer studio recordings, but that's just my taste. There's nothing in particular wrong with Live - it's good fun for a blast at the neighbours - no muddiness in the recordings, shaky noises in the background, nothing at all like that; I just prefer the cleaner sound of studio recordings.
And on to Still. This is a very laid back CD, full of quiet melancholy recordings. This has become my favourite CD in my collection. There are a number of tracks which are stripped down from The Fragile, which in my opinion gain clarity for their simplicity. Something I Can Never Have is reduced to Reznor's lyrics, a piano and an accoustic guitar, for example. This CD definitely benefits from a competent HiFi - some of the tracks are genuinely breathtaking through a high quality playback. Details like breathing near the microphones and the brush of fingers on guitar strings are present on the CD, and add a lot to the atmosphere. What Live offers in rage and energy, Still makes up for in precision and despair.
Favourite track - And All That Could Have Been, from the Still CD. A lesson in loss and self-hate.
Many people write off Nine Inch Nails as noise and thrashing. If that's what you want, Live can probably satisfy you. If not, Still should float your boat. My only sadness is that this CD will never receive general radio play on the mainstream stations, and will probably not achieve the popularity it deserves.
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on 8 February 2002
This album was due for release 4th Feb in the U.K. but due to "production problems" has been delayed until further notice in the U.K. so if you want it keep your eyes open for import copies or the few U.K. versions that have slipped through the net into stores.
The album itself is really nothing more than a greatest hits package with some crowd noise (and I'm a huge nin fan saying this !), but the 2nd disc is really something special. The donconstructed tracks are just beautiful and haunting to listen to, and the new tracks, the first for a little while now, are just fantastic ! I'm gonna give this album 5 stars even though I'm not really that impressed with the live album. The bonus disc is stunning and the packaging up to the usual high standards you would expect from nin.
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on 15 April 2002
this clearly is ana amzing album, the live tracks are just as good, if not better than the originals, every track blending beautifully into the other, unfortunatly there is very little speach from Trent himself, apart from of course his lyrical genious, and if u want to hear the animosity in his voice, then merely buy the dvd/vhs. i have been a fan of nine inch nails for a while now, and i have near enough every album apart from fixed, and i have to say this is one of my most listened to, and not because of the live cd, but because of the still, this is a work of art, if i had to pay double jus for the bonus cd i would. starting of with something i can never wave and finishing with leaving hope, from start to beginning this is an amazing album, if there were two tracks i could recommend for any one that has ever been through some troubles, then it has to be 'all that could have been' and 'leaving hope'. listening to those two songs i dont know wheather to smile or cry, a true ride of emotions, and a must have for any one that considers themself a fan of tool, nin or stabbing westward, truly outstanding, i look out for his new work, and look out for the tapeworm project...
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on 26 March 2002
As a music fan, I've heard a lot of good things about Nine Inch Nails in the past. Things like Trent Reznor is a genius. I should have listened to them all earlier, but the main reason I bought this was not because of the hype I'd heard. It was because guitarist Robin Finck has joined Guns N' Roses and I wanted to hear other stuff he's done.
That's enough of that. This album is one of the best recordings I've ever heard, from Terrible Lie to Hurt, it's a non-stop adrenalin ride. Nothing could prepare me for what has become my favourite Nine Inch Nails track so far, Gave Up with its energy seemingly burning up my CD player.
And now, after days of endless listening, I'm going to say what I've heard a million times before: Trent Reznor is a genius. This album has earned its place in my top 5 and is not just something for me to listen to while I wait for the new Guns N' Roses album like it was originally intended.
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VINE VOICEon 27 March 2002
The new NIN live album was something I'd been long anticipating. The first disc itself is great, but the bonus disc 'Still' is disappointing and it didn't quite live up to what I was hoping for.
The first gripe I have is the track listing. The album is drawn from the Fragility tour 12/4/00-18/6/00 across America, and incorporates tracks recorded over several dates (it's not a single live show, and the DVD/VHS release includes a couple of extra tracks I believe). Material is drawn from all three albums (Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral and The Fragile) as well as the Broken EP.
Understandably no 'greatest hits' set will ever please everyone, but there are some particular shortcomings here. Firstly, a number of popular older numbers are left out - such as 'Something I Can Never Have', 'Down In It', 'Happiness In Slavery' and most noticeably 'Heresy' and 'Reptile'. Also NIN have been known to record quite a few covers (including Queen, Soft Cell, Gary Numan and Adam Ant) - I'd have quite liked to hear a live cover in the set. Of course, the set's still packed with hits, but I feel either some weaker numbers such as 'March of the Pigs', 'Piggy' and 'The Frail' should've been dropped, or the live show should've been stretched to 2CDs to include all the classics.
The selection of newer tracks also seemed dissatisfactory to me. Six of the 16 live tracks come from The Fragile. The choices seem mainly to have been for the more ambient numbers, such as 'The Frail', 'The Great Below' and 'The Mark Has Been Made'. Personally I think 'The Frail' at least should've been dropped - it's an instrumental that on the album works fine, but here just seem like a waste of time between 'Piggy' and 'The Wretched'. If NIN wanted to include the 'softer' numbers, I'd have picked 'I'm Looking Forward To Joining You, Finally' and 'The Fragile'. Even better, I'd have gone for more upbeat numbers such as 'Somewhat Damaged', 'Into The Void' and 'Where Is Everybody'. Apparently at the live shows the new numbers were performed with some quite stunning visual effects on large screens, but on CD that's just lost.
Most impressive of what's shown here are the more aggressive songs. 'Terrible Lie' is a superb opener, sounding fleshed out with plenty of 'oomph' despite being 13 years old. The guitar-driven thrash of 'Gave Up' and 'Wish' also sound particularly energetic and vital. That slower numbers like 'The Great Below' can be interspersed with these without sounding disjointed is remarkable, but they still seem to be missing something - one might as well play The Fragile with crowd noise.
The climax to the set comes in the last six songs. Starting with 'Suck' (the 'hidden' track 99 of Broken), followed by a slightly lack-lustre 'Closer' and, of course, 'Head Like A Hole'. That 'The Day The World Went Away' and 'Starf***ers Inc' come this high in the bill is surprising. They're good enough cuts from The Fragile and I'm sure they could have stood up with the big numbers, but here I don't think they do - mainly because they seem to have been softened up and mellowed out, rather than beefed up as they could have been.
Predictably enough, the set closes with 'Hurt', which marks a suitable come down. An impressive performance I'm sure, but as I've indicated above, perhaps it should've been more. The CD seemed to vary from a questionable choice of 'hits' with crowd noise, to classic songs made to sound more vital than ever. (While I think of it, it's worth mentioning too that although performed live, this album was 'tweaked' in the studio for better sound quality)
And as for 'Still' (the bonus disc). This features 'deconstructed' versions of 'Something I Can Never Have', 'The Fragile', 'The Becoming' and 'The Day The World Went Away' - stripped down to mainly vocals with what sounds like acoustic guitar and piano. An interesting concept, that could show off some quality song-writing and NIN's melodic pop edge (much like Nirvana's 'Unplugged in New York') but which doesn't pull it off with quite the success of that show - rather things just seem to sound somewhat lost and muted. The five new songs aren't much to get excited about either - four are instrumentals and 'And All That Could Have Been' is only of fairly standard quality.
Overall verdict?
Anything from NIN will be hugely anticipated. After the let down of 'Things Falling Apart' this was doubly true here. It's certainly not a complete flop - Kerrang! rated it 4Ks and Rock Sound gave it 4.5/5. I'm inclined to agree that this is certainly a good CD, and NIN completists will want it - if only because it has a Halo number (17). It's not, however, as great as it could (perhaps should) have been - at this price, I'd say for obsessives only.
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on 23 March 2002
Nine Inch Nails never fail to disappoint. This double CD package is well worth the money. An extra copy is advisable simply because, if you`re a NIN fan, you will wear out the first one! Last year I bought Tool`s "Lateralus" which for me is still the most awe-inspiring rock I have heard. I never thought I`d remove it from my CD player, but I had to when NIN released this and since then it has remained in there.
There isn`t much one can say about the "live" CD other than it illustrates NIN`s versatility. The opener,"Terrible Lie", is awesome, whilst "Piggy" is classy. "The Mark Has Been Made" posses serpentine riffing ala Sabbathesque and "The Great Below" is shear quality. If you haven`t got the DVD of this yet, I urge you to get it!!
However, it is the second CD, aptly entitled "Still" which steals it for me. It`s hauntingly beautiful, in fact "amazing". The CD is utterly relaxing and shows the otherside of NIN. It is this CD that I find hard to remove from my CD player. For example, "Adrift And At Peace", "The Persistance Of Loss" and "Leaving Hope" could fit on any classical CD and could be ranked alongside Satie or Albinone`s Adagios! But, for me the track that is "breathtaking" has to be "And All That Could Have Been". No words can do this track justice, it`s simply brilliant from the lyrics to the music. With Tool, NIN are important in the Rock sphere: if not yet, these two bands will be remembered, or indeed go down in history, in the same way the likes of The Who and Led Zeppelin were and still are! Trent and the boys have produced a masterpiece here which is highly recommended!
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