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Downward Spiral

The Downward Spiral

4.7 24
by Nine Inch Nails

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The Downward Spiral positioned Trent Reznor as industrial's own Phil Spector, painting detailed, layered soundscapes from a wide tonal palette. Not only did he fully integrated the crashing metal guitars of Broken, but several newfound elements -- expanded song structures, odd time signatures,


The Downward Spiral positioned Trent Reznor as industrial's own Phil Spector, painting detailed, layered soundscapes from a wide tonal palette. Not only did he fully integrated the crashing metal guitars of Broken, but several newfound elements -- expanded song structures, odd time signatures, shifting arrangements filled with novel sounds, tremendous textural variety -- can be traced to the influence of progressive rock. So can the painstaking attention devoted to pacing and contrast -- The Downward Spiral is full of striking sonic juxtapositions and sudden about-faces in tone, which make for a fascinating listen. More important than craft in turning Reznor into a full-fledged rock star, however, was his brooding persona. Grunge had the mainstream salivating over melodramatic angst, which had always been Reznor's stock in trade. The left-field hit "Closer" made him a postmodern shaman for the '90s, obsessed with exposing the dark side he saw behind even the most innocuous façades. In fact, his theatrics on The Downward Spiral -- all the preening self-absorption and serpentine sexuality -- seemed directly descended from Jim Morrison. Yet Reznor's nihilism often seemed like a reaction against some repressively extreme standard of purity, so the depravity he wallowed in didn't necessarily seem that depraved. That's part of the reason why, in spite of its many virtues, The Downward Spiral falls just short of being the masterpiece it wants to be. For one thing, fascination with texture occasionally dissolves the hooky songwriting that fueled Pretty Hate Machine. But more than that, Reznor's unflinching bleakness was beginning to seem like a carefully calibrated posture; his increasing musical sophistication points up the lyrical holding pattern. Having said that, the album ends on an affecting emotional peak -- "Hurt" mingles drama and introspection in a way Reznor had never quite managed before. It's evidence of depth behind the charisma that deservedly made him a star.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nine Inch Nails   Primary Artist
Adrian Belew   Guitar
Flood   Synthesizer,Drums,Hi Hat
Andy Kubiszewski   Drums
Stephen Perkins   Drums
Trent Reznor   Guitar,Drums,Vocals,electronics
Danny Lohner   Guitar
Chris Vrenna   Drums,Sampling

Technical Credits

Flood   Producer,Audio Production
Trent Reznor   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Tommy Lee   Contributor
Russell Mills   Paintings
Brian Pollack   Engineer
Chris Vrenna   Programming,Artist
John Aguo   Engineer
Gary Talpas   Cover Design

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The Downward Spiral 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
''The Downward Spiral'' is an excellent album by one of the great bands of our time. If you are narrow-minded, then this is not for you. NIN defies classification, and this album is proof that they will be making innovative and inspiring music for years to come. The lyrics are terrific, though not for the faint of heart. Reznor's voice is, as usual, full of emotion and portraying everything from helplessness to pain to tremendous anger. Even the packaging is unique! (It confused me at first.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I became a big Nine Inch Nails fan when ever I heard the song closer on the radio. So then I decided to buy The Downward Spiral and It is the best album I own!!! The only song I could kinda do with out is Heresy. (Listen to it you'll see what I mean!) But the song I like the most is Big man with a Gun. Man that song is sooooo cool , but it would be nice if that song was longer it's only 1 and a half minutes long. But like I said it's the best album I own. This album is great but certainly not for the easily offended. NIN ROCKS MAN!!! :-)
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although Pretty Hate Machine is the highest point of Trent Reznor's nearly perfect musical career, it's still hard to say any album is better than this album. This album is great, but for different reasons than Pretty Hate Machine. As Pretty Hate Machine was Classic more for it's Vocals and Lyrics, Downward Spiral is classic more for it's music. That being said, you know when you get a NIN album you're getting the deepest, darkest thoughts of a mangled man. To help convey the greatness of this album, know that I believe in God, yet I still love "Heresy", which is basically one fatal blow to God, and the people who believe in him. Though obviously my view of God is much different than his, I still have tremendous respect for a person that can put his hatred for something like that so brilliantly. This song is either loved or hated for obvious reasons, but there is much more to this album than Trent's extreme Nihilism. Though Closer is impossible not to love, the best part of the album is the shortest song, "Big Man With A Gun". It is quite possibly the hardest song ever made, and feels like a quick, brutal rape. Such simple lyrics make it genius. But also, there are very introspective moments I.E. The Becoming, Hurt, The Downward Spiral, and others. This album needs to be mentioned up there with the greatest albums of all time, along with Pretty Hate Machine. 5 STARS!
whf9q More than 1 year ago
Since its release in 1994, Nine Inch Nails's "The Downward Spiral" has hardly seen any competition from other artists with respect to its eclectic sound that ranges so far and wide. Although intensely involved lyrically, this album's instrumental and sample use are on a level that is beyond what other artists have even attempted. Right off the bat, "The Downward Spiral" exemplifies its ability to switch from a loud, in your face pulse to a soft gentle melody, and then jump right back in your face. This occurs right away on the album with "Mr. Self Destruct" and is celebrated on the album's first single, "March of the Pigs" where front man Trent Reznor takes heavily distorted synthesizers along with a driving beat and cuts right into a sweet melody accompanied by only acoustic piano. This use of heavily contrasting dynamics is demonstrated across the entire album where songs such as "Heresy" and "Big Man With a Gun" overwhelm you with a wall of sound while songs such as "A Warm Place" and "Hurt" can be calming by their soft melodies. "The Downward Spiral" is an album that features sounds that come from all over whether they have been synthesized, sampled, or performed acoustically by the artists themselves. These sounds have all been put together by Reznor to create an album that runs you over like an eighteen-wheeler and then picks you up for one wild ride. The album's third track, "Heresy" features synthesized loops that are constantly being layered on top of each other making it nearly impossible to pick them all out from what could be deemed controlled chaos. These, combined with samples that have been filtered beyond recognition, as well as heavily distorted guitars create the perfect atmosphere for Reznor's distorted, screaming lyrics. Trent Reznor's ability to take what could be considered white noise and morph it into a powerful punch in songs such as "Heresy" is one of the few ways that this Nine Inch Nails album has stood out from the rest. Reznor's rhythmic use of white noise is used throughout the album to emphasize movements and in other cases to create a rhythm in itself as in parts of "I Do Not Want This" and "Closer." Many aspects of "The Downward Spiral" are exemplified in the track "Eraser," which starts off with a few quiet looped samples and becomes more layered and layered as the song progresses. A solid drum loop comes in, followed by a synthesized riff, then a guitar joins in, and soon enough more and more samples are layered to the point that your mind's focus shoots around to all the different sounds. It is then that the song follows the pattern of the entire album, where the built up energy is then dropped to a soft interlude. The soft interlude lasts for a bit, but as the whole album has done, the song cuts to the heaviest part of the song, demonstrating the extreme dynamic changes that occur throughout. "The Downward Spiral" is an album that plays with the layering of many different sounds, panned all over and built up to then drop off to soft melodies with lots of room. It is then where Nine Inch Nails will startle you by getting right back in your face with heavily distorted guitars, driving beats, and Trent Reznor's distorted voice screaming lyrics that will bring you back again and again to try and grasp his emotions. With all of the different instruments, synths, samples, timbres, and dynamic changes, "The Downward Spiral" is an album that explores so many areas making it stand out to this day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who attempts to say that any one song on this album doesn't fit into the entire puzzle is not understanding the concepts being portrayed. This album is a dive into sin itself. It begins with ''Mr. Self-Destruct'', an anthem which is bent on the decay of the human soul and the processes which it goes through to get there. The listener goes through a wave of emotions. One moment we experience rage incarnate, a self-absorbed arsenal of screams questioning reality. Another moment we are so tranquilized that we accept this reality. Mr. Reznor touches down on the subjects of sexuality, suicide, Christianity, and hate and violence in general. We go from an array of belligerent power trips on ''Big Man with a Gun'' to a subtle massage of the nervous system on ''A Warm Place''. The album ends on a note that leaves hope for redemption, but it becomes obvious that this redemption is only achieved through much sacrifice and pain. This album is for those whom are in touch with each rusty chord of emotion that dwells within the caverns of the human soul. It's an album to feel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
not only a great industial album, but one of the greatest rock albums of all time!! at this point in time, the nothing record label has been established, and trent had himself a great band with him as well. it has some of the best songs the band has written: "piggy", "march of the pigs", "closer", and "hurt." eventhough this album is a masterpiece, you cant enjoy it to it's fullest untill you own 'pretty hate machine', 'broken', and if you want... 'fixed' so you can witness the huge change from a genious debut that was done completly by trent, to when he gets a part-time band and uses more guitars, to the first re-mix cd which is one where you either love it or hate it... but anyway, enjoy 'the downward spiral'... ha.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is NIN's best album. From start to end its amazing. As a musician myself i listened to this record over and over to try to hear every sound on every track, the fact the Trent does this all on his own only shows the talent and insanity it takes to lock yourself into a room and record non stop. He is true to his craft and i have seen him many times in concert and even live he kills it. Closer is an amazing song and when i saw the video for it - made it more sick more sexy and more raw. I think that is the only video in history that really captures the song visually. Hurt of course is classic NIN always putting in one slow song eventho the content is anything but soft (my personal favorite). From Pretty hate Machine to Broken to Year Zero all his records are amazing in sound and intensity. NIN to me is the only bad that can grow and mature musically but still keep its core.
Kainless More than 1 year ago
This album I heard many many years ago when I was in high school and it helped me understand many emotional things about myself. Religion, Politics and many personal topics went into making this album by Trent Raznor and honestly i think this is one of the best works of art he has made. All his album while true are amazing this one stands out in that I personally can't just listen to one song on it. It is a must from track 1 to the end. It has both very fast and aggressive tracks such as "March of the pigs" and also slow and melodic tracks such as "Hurt". This is a must listen to too anyone that is trying to get into industrial rock.
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