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As a placeholder between the full-length Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral, Broken packs a serious punch. Angrier and less poppy than Machine, this EP is full of noisy hooks, if such a thing is possible (check out that guitar riff on the full-throttle ”Wish”), and much closer aesthetically to the industrial subgenre that informs Trent Reznor’s music. As song titles like ”Help Me I Am in Hell” suggest, Broken is a work of undiluted rage, which is, of course, a big part of its appeal. –Genevieve Williams

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  • IF the industrial genre tag should ever be applied to NIN, it should be on this album only. Dark as hell, heavy beats, lyrics surrounding torture, and thrashy songs all make this album amazing. The Skinny Puppy and Ministry influences can be heard througout, and Trent hits the Nail on the head (sorry for the pun!)

    You can listen to this album every day for weeks and not get tired of it. Happyness in Slavery is my personal favorite song of the album, it’s angry and sexy at the same time. However every song on this album is stellar, including the bonus tracks (Trent’s cover of “You’re So Physical” is awsome)

    After listening to this go download the Broken movie if you want to really see how pissed off trent was when he made this, it’s still the most disturbing music video I’ve EVER seen.

    Posted on November 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m sure you’ve heard the story behind this album, but I’ll tell it again anyway. Pretty Hate Machine became a surprise hit. While it never broke into the top fourty it stayed in the top 100 for over a year, which is quite a feat. TVT felt that if they had more control over the music Trent recorded, than they could have an even bigger hit. Obviously Trent was not happy with this. This album was recorded secretly and is basically his “f**k you” to TVT. This is easily his angriest album, but if you can look past the angst you’ll find a great mini-album.

    This is not only his angriest album, but also the only one that would really fall into a Metal category. You can tell that Trent had been listening to a lot of Ministry around this time, because it sounds pretty much like their heavier albums with better singing. That’s not to say that it’s a total rip-off, though. These songs are a lot catchier than Ministry was in their industrial-metal prime, and have a more melodic feel to them. There are also no political messages or samples, which were, and still are, a big part of Ministry.

    The album opens with Pinion, a short instrumental that repeats the same 6 chords over and over. It begins almost silent with something that sounds like the wind in the background, but as the song goes on it gets louder and louder until it finally becomes undistorted. 3/5

    Immediately after the last few chords of Pinion, Wish begins with a very memorable drum beat. This is probably the most well known song on the album. It has an interesting music video, and it won a Grammy for best Heavy Metal song of 1993. It’s easy to see why. It follows Trent’s signature loud-soft-loud plan, and it’s as good as any of his heavier songs. 5/5

    Next is my personal favorite song on the album, Last. A lot of people find the lyrics to be cheesy, and I will say that he goes a bit over the top here. But the music is incredible. It’s very rare that a song can be both this catchy and still retain all of its heaviness, but this songs suceeds. It also contains probably the best solos I’ve heard in an NIN song to date. 5/5

    After Last is Help Me I Am In Hell, which is a short, soft instrumental break before the chaos of the next track. It’s almost acoustic, and it keeps the album from becoming monotous. 4/5

    The album’s fifth track is the very noisy Hapiness in Slavery, the other single from the album. The video for this song featured performance artist Bob Flanigan being tortured to death. Of course this wasn’t real, but the video was quickly banned from MTV after one airing, which usually gets more publicity for a song than being in rotation anyway. This is probably the only thing to hint at the Downward Spiral, but it still doesn’t feel out of place. 5/5

    The actual album finishes with Gave Up. Like Wish, it opens with a memorable drum beat, and is probably the most straightforward rock track on the album. However, it’s also one of those songs that sounds a lot better live than in the studio. The version found on And All That Could’ve Been is much better. This version is still nice, though. 5/5

    Depending on your copy of the album, the next track will be Physical, the album is over, or there are many tracks of silence following Gave Up. You should still have the last two tracks in some form, though.

    The first of the two bonus tracks is Physical, which is a good cover of Adam Ant. If you listen closely you will hear Trent’s dog barking in the background, and Trent will say “Eat your heart out Stevie”, referring to his situation with TVT. This is a great track quite unlike anything Trent has done. It’s also probably his raunchiest one, even more so than Closer. 5/5

    The second of the two tracks is Suck, which has seen many versions, including various demos. While Trent was involved with the first released version by Pigface, this one is a lot different. That version was just Trent’s vocals, Drums, and Bass, but Trent has fleshed it out with guitars on the chorus and a catchier bass line. He also added a bridge to the song. The opinion seems fairly unanimous that this version is better. Even Pigface plays it Trent’s way. This also seems to be one of Trent’s favorite songs to play live. The version on And All That Could Have Been is a bit heavier, but I think they’re equally good. 5/5

    If you’re more into metal than alternative rock, than this is the NIN album for you. Even if you’re not really a metal fan, you should still check it out, because it’s a lot more interesting than some metal, and obviously it’s more than just straightforward metal. It’s the best EP Trent ever released and it’s a very important chapter in the history of Nine Inch Nails. If you had any previous interest in NIN and don’t own this, then you shouldn’t hesitate. You won’t be let down.

    Posted on November 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album hits your serotonin receptors like an atom bomb. It’s damn near impossible to listen to this whole thing without rocking out to the beat or singing (screaming) along. Genevieve Williams describes it as a placeholder. It’s not. It grinds Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral into the dust with blasting guitar noises and soul-wrenching rhythms. It’s all the quality of a normal-length CD concetrated into an EP.No, I’m not a sales rep, but if you’re even considering buying this album, you want it. You’ve been needing it for years to fill that empty gap in your life… You know, that gap a lot of us tried to stuff with trite nu-metal garbage and jerking off… “Broken” is a confrontation with the naked id — an album for a dysphoric world, for beautiful destruction, for screaming at the top of your lungs at everything and nothing, for fear, for angst, and somehow — for hope. Even as galaxies collide, supernovas explode, and the universe shatters, there is a phoenix hidden in the flames on the album cover. When we have reached the bottom, there is nowhere to go but up….Alright, maybe I’m over-dramatizing. Maybe I *am* a sales rep =). Maybe Trent Reznor is just trying to capitalize on a vast teenage market of angst-turned-commercialism. Nonetheless, this is still the perfect album for when you’re angry, upset, depressed, or confused like so many of us are. Works better than prescription medication. Reznor may repeat many of the same self-destructive themes in his songs, but guess what? So do we in life. “Broken” brings to consciousness that relentless voice inside our heads that tells us to screw everything and just let it all out. By the time I’m done listening, I have nothing left to vent.More to the point, if you enjoy loud, engaging, sonorous mayhem, this album is for you. I consider it Reznor’s best work to date. Listen. Rage. Repeat.

    Posted on November 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I must admit that I am not your average industrial metal rock fan, having grown up with Hendrix and the Doors and pushing 50. I picked up NIN’s “Broken” on a whim in a drugstore sale bin and I can barely believe how this music has taken a grip on me. I love cranking it up on the commute home from work. It has a way of clearing out the mental cobwebs that no other music even comes close to. Some hear anger in this stuff. I hear a destructive, apocalyptic joy strangely combined with rage. It makes me want to scream, not in anger but in raw exhultation, a kind of celebration of being alive even though trapped in career and suburbia – true “Happiness in Slavery”.

    Posted on November 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When Nine Inch Nail’s debut album “Pretty Hate Machine” (1989) was first released, it was greeted with little fanfare or commotion. Over time, however, through word-of-mouth, the album caught on. In the early 90s it became an underground and college favorite. Through constant touring and the emergence of the popularity of alternative rock in the early 90s, Nine Inch Nails started to take off. While fans eagerly awaited Trent Reznor’s proper follow-up, they eagerly devoured the stop-gap EP “Broken” (1992).

    While “Pretty Hate Machine” went for straight-forward industrial beats, “Broken” is far heavier, more aggressive, with more guitars. While the club/techno crowd may have been more receptive to the debut, “Broken” is an EP that would just as likely appeal to metal fans. Equal parts metal and industrial beats, “Broken” can be seen as a prelude, or a sneak preview of what Reznor would unveil two years later with his masterpiece “The Downward Spiral” (1994).

    Clocking in slightly past the half-hour mark, with eight songs (two tracks are hidden, two are instrumentals) “Broken” is pretty short. But the EP is so angry, so aggressive, with no reprieve; the shortness in length probably works for the best.

    “Broken” features the NIN classics and concert staples, “Wish,” “Gave Up,” and (the hidden track) “Suck.” The lesser known “Last,” “Happiness in Slavery,” and a cover of Adam Ant’s “Physical” (also hidden) are no less memorable. Instrumentals “pinion” and “Help me I am in Hell” help round out the CD.

    Back in 1992 when CDs were relatively new to consumers, having ninety-one silent, second-long tracks separate the final two songs from the first six may have been cool and inventive. Now, however, it seems kind of pointless. Still, it’s no big deal.

    If you are a fan of NIN, “Broken” is just as essential to own as any of the studio albums.

    Posted on November 30, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now