13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent effort from NIN,
This review is from: With Teeth (Audio CD)
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.