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nin hesitationmarks
Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Title: Hesitation Marks
Genre: Alternative / Rock
Release Date: 2nd September 2013
Label: The Null Corporation

Album Review

This highly anticipated record, no, not just a record, an album by the one and only NINE INCH NAILS (or NIN as they have been notably known as more so these days) has had many fans on tender hooks. This is wholly due to the fact that NIN have strayed for some time as Trent Reznor has been filling his hiatus with film scores and soundtracks. Reznor and Atticus Ross (another collaborator in the NIN posse) created an award-winning soundtrack for the Facebook drama, ‘The Social Network’ followed by an acclaimed soundtrack for the US take on ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. During this time, Reznor had developed a new sense of direction; his experience in the soundtrack field is most definitely an aspect of NIN’s spectacular new album, ‘Hesitation Marks’.

The album commences with a slowly built fusion of atmospheric sounds but before ‘The Eater of Dreams’ can explode, it ends abruptly, as if Reznor is awakening us from the very slumber that NIN have resided in the last 4 years or so. ‘Copy of A’ begins with a somewhat delicate beat, which slowly turns into an eerie melody that has an underlying menace; infused by the backing of some digital decay. Hesitation Marks isn’t the fiery electro-goth rock one may expect, in fact, the maturity of this album is one of the finest elements about it. This direction derives from the film scoring experience; ‘Find My Way’ ascertains this perspective, there is a refrain in terms of sound, it isn’t as vibrant or as vehement as the old NIN, however, this makes Hesitation Marks a lot more interesting in comparison to their past efforts.

‘Hesitation Marks’ is most certainly a self-reflective study, a portrait in an almost Francis Bacon style as Reznor often spits the lyrics beginning with an “I” and end with a “me”. Suffice to say, Reznor makes an interesting subject whether defined as vain or self-absorbed, he’s always been a troubled spirit and more often than not, NIN albums are about his experiences. The grinding synths in ‘Hesitation Marks’ have a subtle hint of Dub-step, ‘Came Back Haunted’, ‘Satellite’, ‘I Would For You’ and ‘In Two’ all inherit the same influence. The compositions and layers of sound are undoubtedly some of the best NIN have created thus far; the songs change form with an eloquent composure, seamless manipulations by Ross and Reznor are increasingly affective. Also, the odd integration of unsuspected collaborators like FLEETWOOD MAC’s Lindsey Buckingham, KING CRIMSON’s Adrian Belew and bassist Pino Palladino adds to the broad palette of musical influences.

The arrangement is carefully sewn together; add the ‘Ghosts I-IV’ vibe, the well-crafted soundtracks and the meshing of classic NIN quality, you have ‘Hesitation Marks’. It’s no ‘Downward Spiral’ nor is it ‘The Fragile’, but it stands alone in the NIN discography and that’s not at all bad. Perhaps, maybe, just maybe, this is a new beginning for NIN.


01. The Eater of Dreams
02. Copy of A
03. Came Back Haunted
04. Find My Way
05. All Time Low
06. Disappointed
07. Everything
08. Satellite
09. Various Methods of Escape
10. Running
11. I Would For You
12. In Two
13. While I’m Still Here
14. Black Noise


Trent Reznor – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard
Robin Finck – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Joshua Eustis – Bass
Ilan Rubin – Drums
Alessandro Cortini – Synthesizer, Guitar, Bass

Websites /

Cover Picture

nin hesitationmarks


Music: 8
Sound: 9
Total: 8.5 / 10

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