Tag Archives: nine inch nails

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction

Live Review: Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction
Venue: 02 Arena, London
Date: 15th July 2009

Nine Inch Nails

What’s to be said that hasn’t already been written, spoken or thought by the thousands of people crammed into London’s 02 Arena last Wednesday? It’s rare to see the countless faceless entities of the internet almost be in harmony about something, but a miracle seems to have occurred – the internet seems to have completely agreed on just one word to describe Nine Inch Nail’s final UK headlining show – wow. Continue reading Live Review: Nine Inch Nails/Jane’s Addiction

Opinion: How Good Is the Internet for Music? [Part 3]

Given the vast expanse of time I now have being on my summer holidays from university, I’ve found myself spending more time than usual in front of a computer screen, and I started to wonder as I browsed the web and listened to album upon album – is the Internet revolution a good or bad thing for the music industry? In the next few Opinion articles I want to talk about the Internet’s effect on the music world, and try to come to some sort of conclusion as to whether we should welcome the change with open arms or if I’m being a cynical bastard. I’d really welcome any opinions readers might have on the whole thing, so leave a comment.

Continue reading Opinion: How Good Is the Internet for Music? [Part 3]

Album Review: Black Light Burns – Cruel Melody

Black Light Burns - Cruel Melody[This review coincides with the re-release of ‘Cruel Melody’, which has an extra DVD tacked on it for your viewing, and their promotional, pleasure. It’s released on 23rd June.]

It must be difficult making the decision of going it alone in the music business. After spending years of his life with Limp Bizkit, selling over 30 million records and becoming generally known as that guy with the weird face, Wes Borland had to face a brave decision when he left the rapidly sinking ship that was Limp Bizkit. He turned his back on the easy money, he turned his back on being instantly recognisable, and he turned his back on the commercial success of nu-metal. Now, with a supporting cast that includes Josh Freese from A Perfect Circle and Danny Lohner of Nine Inch Nails, Borland is ready to start steering his own ship. But has anything really changed?

Opening track ‘Mesopotamia’ (I assume a word that scientists are set to use for a futuristic potato-related disease) gets things off to a good start, grinding along with a fair drive that sounds a fair bit like ‘Hotride’ by the Prodigy. It’s got a groove, and Borland’s vocals are surprisingly good, sounding a little bit like Josh Homme.

Unfortunately the quality of Borland’s voice never really remains consistent. At times he sounds great, taking strong cues from the likes of Trent Reznor, notably in ‘Animal’, but on some tracks his voice is just dire – ‘Coward’ is a pretty painful example, with some terribly drawn-out lyrics, sung in the kind of nasal tone you’d expect to hear from a school band. Perhaps he’s just trying different things out, experimenting with a whole new range of instrumentation, and he just needs to find that balance because there are moments on ‘Cruel Melody’ where his voice is genuinely impressive.

Wes Borland

Borland still retains his love for the theatrical, with dark costumes cropping up in press photos.

Although Wes Borland is the name on the solo project, it is more than clear what the other members of the group have brought to the table. Some tracks, such as ‘Animal’ share more than a few resemblances to the industrial sound of Nine Inch Nails, thanks to Lohner’s influence, and Freese’s drumming remains borderline experimental. Unfortunately he does let the side down with some jarring drum fills and speed changes that either do not fit into the songs or just sound sloppy.

There is no doubt here that Borland has shunned his nu-metal roots. Although there are certain points where there are hints of the disposable Limp Bizkit sound coming through, such as the high pitched guitar tweaks on ‘The Mark’ and the detuned riff of ‘One of Yours’ that wouldn’t have been out of place on ‘Three Dollar Bill Y’all’. But for the most part Borland does explore new ideas and territory, and proves himself as a more talented guitar player than a lot of people give him credit for.

Cruel Melody is a fairly good album. It’s never going to be taxing on the brain, and the lyrical content is for the most part, laughable, but Borland has taken this opportunity to spread his wings somewhat and shrug off the reliance on big, catchy riffs. But the name of Limp Bizkit and those of its members are, unsurprisingly, dirt in the majority of music circles, and I think Borland is going to have a hard time reaching out to an audience that can overlook his past, a problem that is exacerbated by putting the name Limp Bizkit on the front cover.

The video for ‘Lie’.

It’s not a bad album, and actually has some intriguing ideas, but there is a lot here that can either be expanded upon or improved drastically. Quality control is just one thing, as towards the end of the album things really begin to drag out. To those who are intrigued, but are put off by Borland’s past I strongly suggest giving it a try as it does showcase a new side to the guitarist, and brings out some of his, and his fellow member’s, worthy talent.

This review is also published over at Sonic Dice.

Opinion: How Good is the Internet for Music? [Part 2]

Given the vast expanse of time I now have being on my summer holidays from university, I’ve found myself spending more time than usual in front of a computer screen, and I started to wonder as I browsed the web and listened to album upon album – is the Internet revolution a good or bad thing for the music industry? In the next few Opinion articles I want to talk about the Internet’s effect on the music world, and try to come to some sort of conclusion as to whether we should welcome the change with open arms or if I’m being a cynical bastard. I’d really welcome any opinions readers might have on the whole thing, so leave a comment.

One of the biggest changes that the Internet has effectively brought about is a new era of relationship between the artist and the fan. It is now a necessity to have a band Myspace account, where fans can congregate and often leave many well wishing messages. But these days even that is beginning to look like it isn’t enough. Gone are the days where a permanent divide exists between the band and the listener. We are now facing an age where the band need the fan to survive even more, and not just to buy the music and attend the gigs.

One such example of musicians refreshed attitude to their listeners came in 2007, when Mudvayne announced they wanted their fans to compile a new album, picking out the songs, and determining whether they would be live versions, or old demos. It was certainly a fresh idea, given the majority of record labels reliance on the staid release of B-side best of’s that usually comes after a band’s explosion in popularity, in the search of a cheap buck (I’m looking at you, EMI). The album was appropriately titled ‘By the People, For the People’ and sold pretty well, which came as a surprise given how awful their previous release ‘Lost and Found’ was.

Mudvayne

The great thing with this idea is that it inevitably creates a much happier fanbase. Imagine being given the power to have your input in your favourite band’s next release. What if Rage Against the Machine were to announce a similar idea, just think of all the great stuff you could fight to get in that release. Or if U2 jumped on the bandwagon – with U2 fans in charge, it’s possible you could create the worst album known to man.

But joking aside, if an artist wanted to put together a true best of, what better people to ask than the people who probably know the musician’s discography better than themselves? What could possibly go wrong with that? Well, there are a few issues with this idea. For a start anyone who takes a passing glance at a band’s forum will immediately know that it is impossible to satisfy everyone, especially on the Internet where there is always one wanker who wants to go against everyone and disagree. Furthermore, Mudvayne are a band on the wane, struggling to find any relevance to today’s audiences who have moved far away from the tainted genre that is nu-metal. Such a stunt acts as a great cover up for a lack of ideas, whilst still appeasing those who still consider themselves fans, an easy to exploit market.

One other example, and perhaps one of the greatest perpetrators of the side by side evolution of music and Internet is Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails. Not only did he embark on a massive viral campaign for 2007’s ‘Year Zero’, creating a storyline throughout the web and hiding memory sticks in toilets, he also invited listener’s to remix songs from the album, giving them complete access to all the individual tracks, essentially meaning anyone could create a whole new song out of the files. Not only did this provide some fantastic free advertising, but passionate fans embroiled themselves into the murky, futuristic dystopia of Year Zero, further elevating Reznor’s status as an Internet innovator.

But once again, some doubts begin to come into my mind as to the strength of such an idea. It demands a great deal of effort and knowledge from fans to put together a half decent remix (although to counter this, Nine Inch Nails does have some extremely passionate fans) but most importantly it once again makes me question the motives behind a concept. Is Reznor doing it for fun? Or is he also struggling to stay relevant in today’s music world, relying upon his fans to create new ideas out of his old ones.

At the moment, fan participation remains fairly one way. We go to the gigs, we buy the albums, essentially we show our appreciation by keeping them alive financially. But I think there is a possibility that as the music industry struggles to reinvent itself, these ideas will become more mainstream and could change destroy artist/listener separation forever. But do we really want to be in cahoots with the musicians? Isn’t it there job to entertain us? These questions can only be answered by the mainstream, whose participation will determine the overall success of these bold ideas.

Opinion – Nine Inch Nails: Whores or Scores?

I’ve always kind of struggled to see what’s so incredible about Nine Inch Nails. I mean, I don’t find Trent Reznor‘s music painful to listen to, but I’ve never really seen what so many people seem to find in it. And then when I do like something he comes out with, like the relatively anthem heavy ‘With Teeth‘ in 2005, it would seem that what I like is his poorest work to date.

But recently I’ve been giving the band a lot more of my time, encouraged by Reznor‘s selfless devotion to pleasing his fans and testing the mettle of the music industry since NIN and Interscope reached the end of their contractual obligations. He did it again this week, releasing another new album, The Slip’, out of nowhere completely free. It’s a brilliantly brave idea and one that at the moment I am struggling to get my head around.

The Slip Album Art

The free download of The Slip comes with a .pdf with album artwork.

Despite Radiohead’s internet release that even today still has people shouting a slew of compliments about them, it really has been Reznor who has taken the fight to the labels and is really pushing the boundaries to see just what happens when you go full out on experiements like these. A little earlier this year Reznor released Ghosts’ as both a free download (for only the first nine tracks) and offered alternate versions which involved payment, but saw you getting in excess of forty tracks of music.

Now, I think it’s bloody brilliant that someone like Reznor is doing something as groundbreaking as this. But I do have just one problem with it all, and that’s the question of whether what he is releasing is actually worth anything. To the die hard NIN fan, anything Reznor touches (including the Trent produced Saul Williams album, Niggy Tardust) is gold in their eyes, but to the average music fan is he proving that such proliference is beneficial or just a matter of throwing out half baked ideas that dilute the overall quality of an artist’s discography.

Nine Inch Nails in the studio recording The Slip

Reznor is a master of the internet, using it to entice and tease his fans. He also understands the usefullness of distribution methods such as .torrents.

It’s really an issue that has me in two minds. Personally I’ve found the new stuff Reznor has put out to be quite enjoyable so far, despite the sparseness of the ‘Ghosts’ soundscapes album. But I’m left wondering if all this is set to be as groundbreaking as Reznor believes it should be, or if people are just going to begin ignoring his output due to it’s consistency and risk of similarity.

I think at the moment, Reznor is just reaching the peak of the idea. The novelty is still there, and people are still intrigued to hear what he has on offer. Whether he is set to prove that this method of releasing albums is a viable way for the future is yet to be seen, but as it stands at the moment I hope that the experiment continues, and Reznore shows the record companies whom he despises so much where to shove it.