on 24 July 2005
First off, this has to be one of THE best albums of the year so far. I hope it doesn't go unnoticed when the awards are being handed out.
Secondly, to ht people comparing this to NIN's previous work (The Downaward Spiral in particular), please stop because it is good enough to stand alone. Also, to those that say that this is a more commercially-friendly record, I don't agree. Yes, it sounds more crisp, more polished, more 'sane' even than Trent's previous work but that is largely to due to him 'cleaning up' his act. New single 'Only' IS catchy and you CAN dance to it but so what? I found that I could dance to 'Closer' but did that make it MTV-orientated? If you listen to the lyrics, they really speak for themselves: "There is no f******* you, there is only me."
Like the previous reviwer, it took me a few listens to fully appreciate the depth of this album but once I got it, I fell in love. Standout tracks for me would be the brooding opener All The Love In The World, the superb Everyday is Exactly The Same, With Teeth, Only and Right Where It Belongs.
If you have only a mild interest in NIN or Trent Reznor please buy this album because I do not believe you will be disappointed!
on 22 September 2005
Its different. Ive read a lot of reviews trying to compare this to NIN's other albums, the simple truth is that this album is different from the others, very different. If you havent listened to with teeth yet then, well, its most like the fragile and i can see what people mean when they say its a 'watered down' version of it, but the watering down of the exceptionally strong, and gritty album that is the Fragile has created the most accessible nin album to date.
When i first listened to it i was expecting a slight progression from the fragile (my favorite of the nin back cateloge) but i was supsrised to hear a much more melodic and punchy track listing, that to be honest, i wasnt that impressed with. But after listening though the entire album several times, i got more into the mindset of the music. Ive had to do this with every nin release so far, but have always been happy with the resulting pleasure of listening.
With teeth contains great music throughout, there are the highs and lows that every album contains but the lows are higher than most 'good' tracks. In my opinion 'the hand that feeds' is one of the weakest tracks. It doesnt quite fit in to the album as a whole, but saying this it is a great stand alone track and is much lauded, and rightly so, as a great song.
There is the usual mix of slower more relaxed songs as well as fast paced 'heavier' ones that i have come to expect from Nine inch nails, each section being placed perfectly within the album to create a undulating ride.
The starting few tracks build up to bring in the hand that feeds, with all the love in the world being a very notable build up track. After the hand that feeds, the ride drops to a slighty slower pace before reaching towards the fantastic tracks of Only and Getting Smaller, that can rightfully take there place as some of the greats NIN have produced.
But there is one track that seems to hide slighty, and this is a shame, it took me several listenings of the album to pick up on how great 'every day' is. The intelligent lyrics perfectly compliment the pace and power of the track while even more emphasising the idea behind the song. The repetitive nature of the chorus creates a master piece of a song.
In all With Teeth took me a while before i really got into it, but now its takes a great effort to replace it in my CD player with something that can entertain me as much. It is widely seen as a more mainstream album, and thats fair enough, it will appeal to a wider audience but will also more than just sate the appetite of NIN fans. It is on a par with the downward spiral and pretty hate machine, but is still just out done by the fragile and Broken in the creativity and overall feel of the album/work as a whole. Well worth buying and cherishing.
on 15 June 2007
Took me a fair few listens to get into this, but I think it is well worth giving it a go, as there are some real nuggets in here! I have never really been into the more straightforward song-based stuff NIN have done - I always found the more sound-design stuff to be a bit more mature than the 'songs', and I liked the experimentation with texture, samples and processing. However, I appreciate the need for Trent Reznor to go back to his roots, and start looking at a more traditional structure. It can be so easy to concentrate on production and engineering and neglect actual songwriting, and I think NIN have pulled off a good album. However, having seen the new live DVD, I was absolutely awe-struck by the performance of Right Where It Belongs. Having listened to this countless times on With Teeth, I think it is a song that surpasses Hurt in the emotion stakes. I think it is a real challenge to write a simple effective song, over layering sounds and samples, and this shows how good Trent can be at pulling together a melancholic, heart-wrenching number.
"With Teeth" is one of those incredibly difficult albums to review -- Trent Reznor's earlier work has become so legendary that his newer work can't hope to get the same response. Especially if he goes in a totally different direction -- in this case, a less electronic, more organic direction.
Sure, it lacks the visceral punch and of albums such as "Pretty Hate Machine," and it doesn't really go anyplace new, musically speaking. But the newest album from Nine Inch Nails has a dark, raw-edged power of its own.
Reznor has always depended, in a way, on pop melodies done in an industrial style, and that sound emerges in songs like the raging, explosive "You Know What You Are?", where he repeatedly shrieks, "Don't you f*cking know what you ARE?" like a banshee with an identity crisis. I know who I am, but what are you?
Dark synth shows up in sputters and thick waves, especially in some of the quieter songs. The closing and opening song are the most prevalent in these, with Reznor singing sadly over nothing but bass and drums, or else over piano and some buzzing synth. But here, the industrial sound seems to have been switched for a more hard-rock vibe -- as Reznor said, it sounds more organic. It sounds almost live. While there is still some thick synth, the sounds that really grab your attention are more hard-rock oriented: Dave Grohl's excellent drumming, and Twiggy's searing basslines.
Is it good? Yes. Is it as good as it could have been. Decidedly not. While it's a pleasant listen, Reznor only dips lightly into new musical styles, hinting at bossa nova in the opener. Most of the time, he quickly returns to what he's already doine before. And the loss of much of the thick, muddy electronica leaves "With Teeth" sounding a bit underdressed.
Fortunately, "With Teeth" retains enough rough, raw energy to be worthy of being called Nine Inch Nails. It can't be denied that the instrumentation is masterful, whether it's the raw basslines, sharp drumming or driving melodies. Grohl deserves special notice for his work here. Reznor sounds like his old tormented self, whether railing about the U.S. government, wistfully murmuring about "all the love in the world," or raging that "Love is NOT ENOUGH!"
No, "With Teeth" is not the best or most innovative thing that Nine Inch Nails has produced. But its dark, rough energy is enough to make it a compelling listen, if taken on its own virtues.
on 27 July 2011
Like all major Nine Inch Nails albums, With Teeth has a deeper unifying theme - a story or concept told in musical form. In this case, it concludes the narratives of The Downward Spiral and The Fragile, as an autobiographical account of someone struggling to maintain their newfound sobriety, and rediscovering the wider world after many years of blinding excess.
On the surface level, however, With Teeth is NIN founder Trent Reznor's most accessible work since his '80s electronic rock hit Pretty Hate Machine. Mixing board trickery and layered sampling takes a back seat, as the sound is dominated by comparatively conventional hard rock guitars and 'live' drums (mostly provided by Foo Fighters and Nirvana's Dave Grohl). Trent's trademark synthesizer experimentalism is still there, accompanying the guitars and bassline to create instantly catchy melodies.
With Teeth feels more focused than any previous NIN release, absolutely intent on delivering a hard rock sound. There are no instrumental tracks, no forays into dense industrial metal, and segments of low-key mood generation are rare (most notably right at the start, and in the superb album closer Right Where It Belongs, which spiritually if not musically evokes earlier hit Hurt). For the most part, it's track after track of loud and memorable rock songs.
And yet, although it's arguably the best point of entry for a new listener into Nine Inch Nails works, there's something missing when compared with the earlier albums. The more concise recording ethos steals much of the musical depth and variety of its sprawling, dense, multi-headed predecessors. Grohl's hammering drums are arguably *too* dominant and rob the album of some subtlety - occasionally they feel incongruous, particularly with the melodic bonus track Home.
With that said, as his recent Oscar win proves, Reznor's extraordinary gift for composition, melody, evocation and production transcends genre, and is strongly in evidence here. It's a new chapter in his life, and the listener is swept along for the ride.
For many fans, With Teeth was a step too far from the industrial-derived style that brought Nine Inch Nails to fame. As a hard rock album, however, it's one of a kind, and unforgettable.
on 25 February 2006
My opinion is this is a good summer album, despite some generic tunes and recycled lyrics. At least they're catchy, and kept me busy for a pretty long while without getting to the point of overkill. I like that it's more song-oriented than The Fragile anyway. Trent can do songwriting and mixing like nobody else, and he's not the greatest singer but he has his own thing down pat. In this genre, I can excuse the lyrics. If it's something I can rock in my car to, then I'm probably not going to be giving a whole lot of thought to the lyrics, anyway. It would still be worth getting just to hear the immense soundscapes.
Many people have hit this album down because it deviates from the original style of the fragile and the downward spiral. Sure, those are great albums, but with teeth is a nice addition to the collection.
Bearing in mind that Trent had a sizeable break from music production to fight an onward battle against drugs and alcoholism, this album commemorates him, in a way, freeing himself from himself and getting back to what he loves doing. In an interview, reznor said "with teeth was, essentially, a test for me. to see if i still got it".
And he has.
The new songs have a melancholy and soothing feel at times (Every day is exactly the same), and then take you by surprise with tracks like "The hand that feeds" and "Getting Smaller".
This is by no means a bad album. Those who state it as so simply trashed it because trent has moved on from his roots slightly.
on 7 August 2006
The latest album from Trent Reznor and co. is a brilliantly hard-rocking, punchy and tuneful set of songs.
In scope With Teeth is simpler and more straightforward than previous NIN discs like the sprawling, ambitious double album The Fragile. It's also a lot more song-oriented, and less reliant on soundscapes, ambient instrumentals or studio atmospherics. Reznor alternates electronic elements like programmed synths and drum machines with the more organic instrumentation of a real rock `n' roll band - metallic guitars, bass, tambourine, piano and live drums courtesy of Dave Grohl. It's a straightforward, high-energy hard rock album, and it's an excellent example of that. It's still Nine Inch Nails and therefore it's still dark and angst-ridden, but there's something fresh here too: a kind of playful positive energy, an element of fun, even a wry sense of humour. It's far too angry to be considered anything like a feelgood album, but it somehow still manages to sound like Reznor coming from a stronger, wiser place rather than always putting himself in the same whiny martyr role.
Reznor has always had a strong gift for creating catchy melodies and memorable hooks, and he's not afraid to exploit his pop sensibilities on With Teeth. Several tracks are funky, danceable and instantly addictive. Three minutes into opener All the Love in the World, it suddenly morphs from gothic piano gloom into a bouncy disco/house beat; Only is insanely catchy, with its robotic 80s drum intro and bubbling New Wave keyboards; Every Day Is Exactly The Same belies its nihilistic title and suicide lyric to reveal an accessible pop core; Sunspots has a chorus you'll be humming for long afterwards. Closing track Right Where It Belongs is a nicely ethereal David Bowie-style piano ballad and this album's equivalent of Hurt or Something I Can Never Have. Other tracks like The Collector, You Know What You Are?, Getting Smaller and first single The Hand That Feeds are brutal, crunchy and hard as nails, driven by chainsaw guitar riffs and Grohl's powerhouse drumming. And the title track - in which Reznor sings the title as "Awitha teetha" over and over - is an awesome slab of fuzzy, distorted industrial noise with the sexiest bassline I've heard in a long time. I was happy to hear that Reznor can still craft music as furious, hard-rocking and plain noisy as anything on Broken or The Downward Spiral.
There are no weak notes or filler tracks on this album. I entered With Teeth without the highest expectations and I was pleasantly surprised to hear one of Nine Inch Nails' very best albums to date. Well worth buying.
on 5 August 2005
As with most Nine Inch Nails albums, this album is easier to describe in the context of the other Nine Inch Nails releases. Thusly:
Pretty Hate Machine was a breakthrough at its time for making industrial music accessible while not watering down the impact. Even though the over reliance on synths and comparatively empty sound scope make some of songs sound dated, this Gary Numan-esque release showed a talent for melody.
However, Broken remains Nine Inch Nails at their hardest and fastest extreme as a howl of metal guitars and screams of fury pummel you into submission.
The Downward Spiral - still perfect in every way. Pure rock kicks for those that want them, submersive depths for those that drown in them, melodies for those that crave them and blasts of incomprehensible noise for those that seek them.
The Fragile - still a fan splitter. Trent seemed to be working himself into rut. It may possess excellent depth, but showcases Trent's lyrical cliché's and perhaps leans too far onto Nine Inch Nail's self-indulgent extreme. It does have some of their finest songs, but some weak bloated songs drag down the experience.
Where does this leave With Teeth? Quite simply, I think it represents an amalgamation of all the essentially different elements from each previous Nine Inch Nails release. It has the pop overtures of Pretty Hate Machine, the metal squeal of Broken, the drownable soundscapes of The Downward Spiral and the occasional lapse into the beautiful indulgence of The Fragile (which is fine if done sparingly).
With Teeth represents a stripping down to the core of the industrial heart and melodic soul of Nine Inch Nails. It sounds rawer and more immediate than anything he has done for over 10 years. The first song ("All The Love In The World) pulls you in as it adds layer upon layer of dance beats to blast out with a pop climax, and then suddenly you are dumped into the metallic anger of "You Know What You Are" with its simple driving riff being supported by the well crafted surrounding sound INSTEAD of being drowned by it (a flaw occasionally present on the Fragile)
The first 6 songs are essential a statement of, "you want a hit single? HERE'S your freaking hit singles!" The album drives along quickly in a fast paced attack on your cynicism, stripping it away until you are left exuberant that even if Trent's lyrics remain the same as before, musically he seems to be having FUN for the first time. The songs sound fresh, unclogged and a joy to listen to.
The half way point of the album, and title track "With Teeth" is where a more Fragile-but-minimalist approach kicks in and the darkness of Trent's layering really does make you want to crack open your copy of The Fragile again and go "ooooh! so THAT'S what he was trying to do!"
The album remains stripped down and raw industrial genius until the final trio of songs (not including the bonus tracks). These represent The Downward Spiral-esque section of the album. Heavily layered, quiet (well, half quiet in "The Line Begins To Blur"), despondent, and thoroughly submersive in a way that makes you wish all music could consume you this heavily. The last song "Right Where It Belongs" is another "Something I Can Never Have" / "Hurt", and is equally as spine tingling.
The addition of an even quieter acoustic version of "Right Where It Belongs" and another fantastically deep and submersive song in "Home" again entirely envelopes and calms your senses that were so heavily ignited for the first half of With Teeth, and therein lays the album's genius. With Teeth really does cover all the Nine Inch Nails bases. Essentially an album of two halves, the first half is so funky, joyous, raw and ROCK that you feel blown away in experiencing a previously unheard of immediacy to Nine Inch Nails, but then you are dragged back to the depths of soul consumption with the second half until you are left begging to gorge yourself on more music that somehow manage to overwhelm your senses so utterly.
In conclusion, With Teeth is still not as good as The Downward Spiral, but then NOTHING IS. While With Teeth cannot achieve the impossible of bettering The Downward Spiral, it does manage to come a very close second and that is the highest compliment I can think of.
on 17 February 2012
The great thing about this version is the extra 5.1 surround mix and the Video for 'the hand that feeds' on the bonus DVD - - It remains my favourite NIN album as it has the most consistent songs - The only thing you lose with this import version is the 'quiet' version of 'Right where it belongs', which is worth the price of admission alone - For that you have to get the standard UK release with the bonus tracks.