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4.4 out of 5 stars
Hesitation Marks
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2013
Hesitation Marks is an interesting album. In recent years Trent Reznor has been taking NIN in a slightly different direction from the albums and tracks that made the band's name. This album, whilst continuing that trend somewhat, does pay homage to the NIN of old.

The album makes a fantastic start - the first two songs after the intro Eater of Dreams are cracking. Copy of A and Came Back Haunted hark back to the good old days of NIN, giving a nod to albums such as The Downwards Spiral and The Fragile. Songs afterwards lean more towards the new-look NIN that Reznor has shaped since With Teeth. Satellite is the stand-out track from these 'fresher' offerings; it has some insanely catchy loops and grows on you with each listen.

Hesitation Marks is much less aggressive than early NIN; Reznor has matured and grown through his younger angsty phase and this is reflected in the lyrics he has penned. Not all fans will appreciate this change in direction, however; I personally feel the lyrics have been rendered less personal and poignant by this shift. Musically the album carries a cleaner, crisper sound that may have developed from his involvement with other band's projects and working on film soundtracks. This approach may also irk some fans; Everything is so far removed from the NIN that we all know and love that, without Reznor's recognisable vocals, we could mistake it as a track from a completely different band. It is almost poppy in its construction at times.

The Deluxe Edition of Hesitation Marks comes with a second CD that contains three remixes from the album. In truth I was unimpressed with these offerings. The remix of Find My Way has its moments but they are unfortunately choked to death by too much uninspiring filler.

Overall this is definitely an album all Nine Inch Nails fans should check out. It contains a handful of tracks that will get any long-time admirers reminiscing about the 'good old days' and I personally rate it more highly than With Teeth, The Slip and Year Zero.
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on 14 December 2013
As ever, this NIN album requires a few passes before its full impact can be felt. Its worth it though. This offering does not have the immediately recognisable strident edge and grinding rhythms. Its more subtle than that and that is its killer blow. It insinuates itself into your brain and wont let go. An excellent offering.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2013
I wanted to listen to this album as much as possible before I decided that I disliked it. When "Came Back Haunted" came out as a single I loved it, finally back to a more synthed up NIN but it's been well over a dozen listens so far and I still haven't found a way to like this album.
Sadly this album really sounds like Reznor is on autopilot, each song starts with a vintage drum machine loop that mostly stays with the song throughout, arrangements are monotonous and there's pretty much none of the anger or emotion that have become NIN's cornerstone. Tracks are as stretched out as possible with up to an additional 2 minutes of unaffecting outro added to some, and I don't mean interesting evolving soundscapes like on The Fragile, these are just "don't turn that loop off just let it run for even longer".
Another thing that makes listening difficult is Reznor's vocal style for the album, vocals are pretty raw but jump between incredibly bored on some tracks ("Find My Way", "Disappointed", "While I'm Still Here") to much more pop than usual which he doesn't seem to have the voice for. In previous moodier songs the imperfections in Reznor's voice helped the song paint a picture of torment and fragility but in some of the tracks on Hesistation Marks the style is a lot more adventurous and his falling off notes or strained vocals gets slightly cringeworthy.
There are some definite highlights to the album however, "Came Back Haunted", "In Two", "All Time Low" (the instrumentation and flow is great even if the vocals and lyrics are a bit... hmm) and the minute-or-so-long intro and outro tracks "The Eater of Dreams" and "Black Noise".
I would have loved a more synth based Nine Inch Nails album but Hesistation Marks is not it, it's just Trent with a 1-pattern drum machine murmuring lyrics.

Also the Deluxe Edition seems to just be a sales technique, the 3 remixes that make up the additional CD are just more minimal/boring versions of the originals and since the CD2 tracklisting is a sticker added to the back of the case it makes me think that the CD was finalised later to justify a more expensive release of the album, I would prefer Deluxe editions to exist because there is additional content available, rather than additional content being cobbled together to justify a Deluxe edition of the release for die-hard fans.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2013
Trent Reznor is in his late forties, married and has two small children. He is no longer the angry young man he was 20 years ago when he recorded The Downward Spiral.

I am in my mid-forties, married with three children. I am no longer the young man I was 20 years ago.

I got The Downward Spiral back then, and I get Hesitation Marks now.

The album presents a new Trent Reznor - a satisfied one, an optimistic one - still angry, but it is a focused anger at the things that annoy you once you've lived through life and grown a bit wiser.

The music is a journey, still recognisably NIN, but with influences of funk and prog thrown in for good measure.

The album starts with Copy of A and Came Back Haunted which is my only criticism of the album. Whilst both are good songs, they have been in circulation for some time now and seem overly familiar. I felt I wasn't been drawn into the album as I knew these songs too well.

Following on from these tracks the album builds slowly, but impressively towards the album's highlight - Everything, a perfect uplifting punk/new wave rush of adrenaline.

The album then settles into a solid groove which provides a satisfying journey to the last four songs. This section includes Various Methods of Escape which is another highlight of the album. Running is the weakest track on the album, but has an strong chorus and some interesting vocals which increasingly become out of breath as the song progresses towards the end as if Trent is indeed running through the song.

The final four tracks provide an epic conclusion to the album. Everything may be the finest track on the album, but In Two gives it a close run. A sonic masterpiece which draws the listener towards what is in effect the closing track - While I'm Still Here. Which in a similar manner to Hurt on the Downward Spiral is a introspective track which pretty much lays bare Trent's new outlook on life and the future.

Not quite an Upward Spiral, but more like the completion of a circle.
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on 28 June 2014
Slightly different slant from previous albums but still obviously the work of Trent. Some songs have you nodding your head in a way you haven't before compared to previous pieces but honestly that is not a bad thing at all. Enjoy.
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on 11 June 2014
I do very much like this Album though not as much as say The Fragile. The 4 and 5 star reviews here pretty much cover it. This album is just different, more electronic, but having just seen him live at Manchester I can say that he has not lost the ability to deliver his previous stuff at all. This album reflects where he is now which to me is much more preferable than to have him producing poor imitations of his previous stuff.
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on 25 March 2014
Let's get one thing clear, nin have never hit the high benchmarks set by " the fragile" or " downward spiral" and quite frankly it's not up to a band who have been around since I was six to carry the flag for industrial music.

Anyways onto trents latest offering of digital rock punishment. First thing that hit me is this album almost feels simple and lacking texture and layers of sound that nine inch nails fans adore , however after a few listens you realize there is plenty to soak up. Over time.

Singles " came back haunted" and copy of a " are a good start to proceedings. Both are catchy and we'll written. The latter is probably the best thing trent has written for a decade.

" find my way " is a slow burner and a nice change of pace. " all time low " is a big surprise, trent takes on funk. Thankfully he wins. Next to catch the eye is " everything" closest thing to a pop song nin have ever aattempted. " satellite " and "in two " both have epic moments. I can't bur help smile when the guitar kicks in on satellite. And the end guitar solo on in two is devine.

If you like nin buy it. Beware though if you want a decent booklet and lyrics buy the deluxe version.
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on 16 March 2014
I am a big fan of NIN but this album is a great dissapointment for me. Empty, too cold, there is nothing attractive in it, it is very hard to listen to for me. I am still trying but I get bored with it.
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on 5 March 2014
Being a fan of the majority of NIN's music, the prospect of a new album was obviously exciting. Having heard only 'Copy Of A' before listening to the entire album, I was intrigued to hear what they had created next. On my first listen, I was dubious at whether or not I was impressed. On my second listen, I felt much the same, perhaps even a little 'Disappointed' (sorry). Rather than abandon it, I felt perhaps I wasn't 'getting' it, and continued to give it my time. Listen by listen, I grasped onto each and every song and now (having listened to it on and off since it's release) can easily describe this album as a classic.

The album glides flawlessly from track to track, maintaining the classic NIN sound yet simultaneously sounding fresh and new. Every track is rich with depth, and I have found myself finding something new in it after every listen. Despite such depth, all sounds are used brilliantly sparingly, with nothing gone to waste; complete quality over quantity. My only concern for some NIN fans would be the lack of much heaviness within the album, something I initially missed, but soon got over after my appreciation of the album grew and grew. Though the album is in itself worthy of your time and money, my personal stand-out tracks would include Various Methods of Escape, Satellite and In Two.

So, don't hesitate...
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on 28 February 2014
no intellectual ramblings are needed for this album it is quite simply ,fab,and on the strength of it i have forked out £30 odd quid for the upcoming live show in may .
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