The "Broken" Ep is one of those strange moments in musical history. In retrospect it seems like the most natural thing in the world, knowing what was to follow. However, at the time this must have come as quite a shock to Reznor's fanbase being as it is far removed from the synth heavy Gary Numan sound of "Pretty Hate Machine". It is a natural step of evolution though for this to be the bridge between "Pretty" and "The Downward Spiral". When the "Pretty" album was performed live, due to the instruments used and the players themselves, the previously synthesizer friendly sound was replaced by a wall of loud, heavy and abrasive guitars and banging drums. After this taste of heavy rock and seeing the disappointment of rock fans who had seen his live show first and bought the record after expecting more of the same, Reznor decided that the only step that he could make would be to incorporate rock music into the Nine Inch Nails sound. It could be seen as Reznor trying to alienate the "Pretty Hate Machine" audience, and it probably did. Right from the starting gun, Reznor's new direction hits you over the head like a sledgehammer. The track "Pinion" works less as a song and more of an intro to "Wish", kicking into the apocalyptic sound that will be only too familiar to fans of "Starf******, Inc" and "Heresy". The other tracks work much the same way, fusing the heavy, mechanical rhytyms of industrial to the loud, heavy sound of metal. The tracks are also quite poppy, when you strip away all of the extremities, Reznor's skilll at song structure and the knack for writing a poppy, catchy melody shine through. "Help Me I Am In Hell" is the intro to the most well known track from "Broken", "Happiness In Slavery", infamous for its universally banned video. There are two hidden tracks here, a cover of Adam Ant's "Physical" and a new version of "Suck", appearing as tracks 98 and 99. What really sets NIN apart from the other industrimetal bands is that Reznor always instilled in his work a real accessibility. Where Ministry were heavy, repetitive and uncommercial, NIN always had the pop aspect to them. Far from just noise, scratch the surface dirt away and its like listening to The Beatles, only NIN does'nt suck.
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