The Downward Spiral
Carson gave this album
The Downward Spiral - or Halo 8 - is full of the energy the fans have come to expect from Nine Inch Nails.
Many of the tracks on this album have been remixed for other releases which is an indicator that the songs were versatile enough to be reinterpreted and still sound aesthetically pleasing enough for there to be a market for them. quot;Mr. Self Destruct", "Piggy", "Eraser", "The Downward Spiral", and "Hurt" appear on Further Down the Spiral. Closer to God contains versions of "Heresy", "March of the Pigs", and "Closer". While March of the Pigs (UK) and March of the Pigs (US) contain versions of "March of the Pigs", "Big Man with a Gun", and "Reptile".
The album version of "Mr. Self Destruct" is extremely energetic and is much better than the the remixes. "Piggy", unfortunately, sounds like a lullaby from Trent Reznor; putting listeners to sleep on the second track of an album is never a good idea. However, this setback is quickly forgotten because "Heresy" more than makes up for it. Featuring heavy vocal distortion and the fast pacing that is typical of Nine Inch Nails, this song details the oppression and violence enacted by misguided practitioners of "peaceful" religions.
"March of the Pigs" is - like much of the album - fast paced, stereo is used to good effect with different instruments on each channel, and th crowd applause sample sounds unique. One of the tracks that uses sound to invoke imagery is "Closer" where the opening percussion is reminiscent of a heart beat. "Ruiner" is a great track and I wish that it was remixed on one of the singles to see what new directions it could be taken. Like much of the album, this song is fast paced, energetic, and features distorted vocals. The end of "The Becoming" is one of those tunes that readily gets stuck in listeners' heads. The vocals are relatively slow and, overall, the song gives the impression of an machine which fits well with the lyrics "the me that you know is now made up of wires".
The almost poetic sounding vocals of "I Do Not Want This" is a refreshing change, and its subtle stereo, distortion, and heavy percussion make for an interesting listen. "Big Man with a Gun" is an extremely short song dealing with the topic of rape. Many of Nine Inch Nails' albums have an instrumental (or at least a song that is mostly and instrumental) and The Downward Spiral is no exception having "A Warm Place". This track has an ambient, melodic feel to it and leads perfectly into "Eraser". "Eraser" sounds mostly like an instrumental until the last minute and a half and becomes a little tedious after awhile; overall, the remixes on Further Down the Spiral are more impressive than this version.
"Reptile" features pneumatic sounds - which is interesting - but runs a bit too long. The dissonance of "The Downward Spiral" fits its message of suicide well, but as with "Eraser", the remixes are better than the album version. The vocals are hard to understand over the screaming and the music. Finally, we come to "Hurt". While this song sounds different than the album as a whole, it does not feel out of place. This is a very slow song about an individual looking over their past filled with bad choices and lost relationships; wind-like sounds permeate the background giving the sense of the character's life blowing away. "Hurt" may be the most powerful track on the album, and is a phenomenal way to close.
The songs on The Downward Spiral flow fairly well into each other with notable instances being the transitions between "The Becoming" and "I Do Not Want This" and between "A Warm Place" and "Eraser". However, this album falls short of the single long song feel of Pretty Hate Machine. Imagery, which is something Trent Reznor is exceptionally talented at evoking, is well represented on this release. Overall, this is a well thought out high energy album that all Nine Inch Nails fan should own.
|1.||Mr. Self Destruct||8.||I Do Not Want This|
|2.||Piggy||9.||Big Man With a Gun|
|3.||Heresy||10.||A Warm Place|
|4.||March of the Pigs||11.||Eraser|
|6.||Ruiner||13.||The Downward Spiral|