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The Downward Spiral

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★★★★½
(643 Reviews)

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Originally released in 1994, Trent Reznor created THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL as both a concept album and modern day classic. This influential 90’s classic is Trent Reznor’s industrial cum-tragic opera view of the world and the soul’s sonically detailed fall from grace. The Downward Spiral delves into despair and anger with hard guitars and brutal beats. DUAL DISC VERSION (CD & DVD on one disc) CD SIDE: Includes entire album in Re-Mastered CD Stereo DVD SIDE: * Video in surround sound and Stereo of ”Closer” * Videos of ”March of the Pigs” and ”Hurt” * Entire album in Stereo and Advanced Resolution Surround Sound * Entire album in Dolby Digital Surround Sound and Stereo * Image Gallery * Complete Discography * Random DVD menus * Surround Sound mixes by Trent ReznorNine Inch Nails are a pretty amazing phenomenon when one considers what they–um, he–have done with just a few studio recordings. The Downward Spiral, NIN’s second full-length album, is just as packed with vitriol as Pretty Hate Machine and the EP Broken–and has just as solid a base of pop hooks that go a long way toward explaining NIN’s popularity. Most recognizable is the down-tempo single ”Closer,” which remains a staple of dance clubs everywhere. But for the most part, the album is all heavy beats and aggressive guitars–industrial music with a pop angle. That winning combination is what makes Trent Reznor a law unto himself, becoming insanely popular while the main body of industrial music retains its subculture status. –Genevieve Williams It’s easy to understand why Nine Inch Nails became the industrial band to break out of the techno ghetto and win a larger audience. Trent Reznor, who records the NIN albums almost entirely by himself (although he tours with a full band), tries very hard to pass himself off as an angry young man, but underneath the angst-ridden lyrics, pounding synths, and grating guitars is an irrepressible pop sensibility. On the second full-length NIN album, The Downward Spiral, Reznor builds his constructions of noise and gloom around warm, fuzzy melodies. On the album’s first single, ”March of the Pigs,” for example, Reznor screams about swine lined up for slaughter amid guitars screeching in pain. Suddenly the guitars fall away to reveal the sensually throbbing rhythm track below; then that falls away to reveal a vocal-and-piano track that’s as catchy as anything by Elton John. Because Reznor has a better handle on dynamics now, the melodic core is more obvious than ever. –Geoffrey Himes

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  • Words cannot begin to describe The Downward Spiral. This is a perfect recording, the divine Nine Inch Nails album. I’ve listened to each and every one of the halo’s, and without a doubt, this one is the best. The message and mood of the songs are practically a suicide note written in music. Musically and lyrically it is the best album I have ever listened to.NIN’s breakthrough hit “Closer” is in here, but believe me, that’s not all the album has to offer. It contains a lot of variety while sticking to the basis of Industrial. “Ruiner” is a haunting song that will stick with you for a long time…music-wise it nearly reaches perfection. “The Becoming” is one of the most abstract Nine Inch Nails songs ever written, and that’s saying a lot. “A Warm Place” is a very beautiful and heavenly instrumental, perhaps the best instrumental Trent has ever recorded. “Hurt” is the most moving ballad I’ve ever heard. “March Of The Pigs” is probably the greatest Hard Rock song of all time. The list goes on and on. Each song is so amazing that I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite.What more can be said that I haven’t already said? This album is closer to perfection (no pun intended) than any other album will ever hope to be. Trent Reznor is a music god, and if this album doesn’t solidify that statement, then…well, I guess the world deserves to go to hell.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This album is considered Nine Inch Nails’ most controversial and disturbing work. They completely change their image that was first seen on “Pretty Hate Machine” to something much more darker and emotional. The result is a very successful and complex masterpiece that takes you to places you have never been in the music world. With each track you step in further and further into Reznor’s mind. “The Downward Spiral” is an outstanding album and will always remain a classic.The songs are much more complex and have more structure to them than the ones that appear on “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken.” There are heavy songs, and there are soft songs. There are disturbing songs, and there are beautiful songs. You get to experience something different with each song.The great thing about this album is, just like with any other NIN album, no two songs are the same. Each one has its own identity and feeling to it. Another plus is that there is not a single bad song on the entire album. My favorites are “mr. self destruct,” “march of the pigs,” “closer,” “the becoming,” “a warm place,” “eraser,” “I do not want this,” “ruiner,” and “hurt.”"The Downward Spiral” is an amazing album. Reznor knows how to make great music and continues to impress us even to this day. Be warned, though. This album isn’t for everyone. It is indeed a very controversial and even sometimes offensive album. But if you love Nine Inch Nails, then this is a must-have. It is a CD I continue to listen to over and over again. It never ceases to amaze me. A classic to the very end.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A dark, intense, brutal, profane and graphic album, _The Downward Spiral_ is not for those who can’t stand sonic overkill, but for those who love intense, explosive and frighteningly loud music – added with some depressing lyrics — and/or vice versa.

    Like the title suggests, this is not a happy album. If you like songs about cruising on the beach, and picking up the hottest girls, then I advise you to leave this page. Featuring such guest appearances from guitarist Adrian Belew (Frank Zappa, King Crimson etc) and Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), this is a wallowing, disturbing, hellish and thought-provoking portrait of (Trent Reznor’s?) descent into the most hellish places of the human psyche. Some of the tracks:

    “Mr. Self Destruct”–An abrasive, aggressive industrial number. Turn this up loud if you want to abuse your eardrums, or to annoy your friends, parents, neighbors or anyone else.

    “Piggy”–One of the slower pieces on the album. The ending features a bunch of seemingly different drum and synthesized parts spliced together to form typical drum patterns, making it sound like a really messed up remix. But, it’s really cool.

    “March Of The Pigs”–Another explosive industrial number. This time, with an odd rhythm, and some unpredictable shifts into gentle piano and voice modes.

    “Closer”–The hit of the album. Seems to be the most ‘accessible’ and radio-friendly on here. However, it’s doubtful that fans of the radio heard the full 6-minute version contained on here.

    “Ruiner”–An industrial number with some funky beats. Love the dimly audible vocal production from Trent on here. Also features an ominous and cinematic keyboard/synthesizer sweep during the sexual innuendo-filled chorus.

    “The Becoming”–This features a very strange rhythm (which I think is in 13/8.) The main beat is pretty much repeated throughout the song, with the exception of an acoustic break in the middle. Behind all of this are sounds of people screaming, or laughing. Whatever’s going on, it’s pretty disturbing.

    “I Do Not Want This”–A very disturbing piece lyrically, fronted by some techno beats. It finishes with an intense climax, as Trent’s vocals are smothered in a computerized wash of synthesizers.

    “Big Man With A Gun”–A short, explosive, explicit and somewhat funny number. Crank it loud!

    “A Warm Place”–A new age-esque instrumental which is beautiful and moving. The thing that I find disturbing about this track is that instead of ascending two half-steps to close out the track from the main key, it descends two half-steps to finish out the track. Either I’m superstitious, or that just represents something very ironic, disturbing and depressing. Plus, I rarely hear this used in music. Almost genius.

    “The Downward Spiral”–Trent must have really been “cooked” when he made this track. This is the most bizarre, disturbing, jarring and bothersome track on the album. Not only are the suicidal lyrics graphic (and voiced in a snaky, spoken word manner by Trent), but the haunting and almost devilish cries/screams in the muffled background just really give me the shakes. As I listen to this track at this very moment, I’m getting the shakes. It’s that unsettling. Before all this happens, you get about 2 minutes worth of sound effects, which sound like bitterly cold winds blowing.

    “Hurt”–A slow, honest, depressing ballad to close out the album. The ending is one of long, noisy distortion.

    As noted, this album is not for the faint of heart, for so many reasons. If you’re on the verge of suicide, this is probably not the album to listen to – or conversely, after listening to this (especially the title track), you may just want to stay alive — fearing that you’ll end up in a world like the one featured in this album. If it scares the daylights out of you, it’s probably a good thing. I’m probably making no sense, but this is a dark, intense and scary masterpiece. Recommended for the designated listener.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “Roar Of Machines” might have been a good name for this as well. Dark, moody, loud, angry and groundbreaking, these five words best sum up “The Downward Spiral” in all it’s bloody glory. When you listen to this album, listen to it all the way through, then you can pick out your favorites and hit repeat. Why? It’s a concept album. Kinda like a book or a movie, you wanna see, read, hear it all in sequence. To start off this masterpiece is “Mr. Self Destruct”. The song is so heavy that you will not believe your ears, it has enough distortion to make Jimi Hendrix turn in his grave. The song then leads directly into “Piggy”. The exact opposite of “Mr. Self Destruct”, it has an almost jazz feel to it with Trent Reznor whispering “nothing can stop me now”. “Heresy” is the closest thing to “Closer” on this disc, so if you bought it for “Closer”, chances are you’ll like this song too. Especially the “God is dead” chorus. “March Of The Pigs” is one of NIN most solid songs ever, definate perfection. “Closer” is NIN biggest hit and I can see why. This is a classic sing along. “Ruiner” has the greatest chorus I’ve ever heard in a song. Lyrically it’s okay but musically it’s perfect. “The Becoming” might be my favorite track here. “Annie, hold a little tighter I just might slip away”, that floors me every time. “I Do Not Want This” is the worst song here but NIN worst is still better then other artists best, it’s still a good song too. “Big Man With A Gun” is the controversial song here, it’s hilarious though, good, but short. “A Warm Place” maybe NIN best instrumental, very heavenly. “Eraser” starts off very annoying but song bulds up and explodes everywhere, nice. “Reptile” is, simply put, amazing. “The Downward Spiral” is a crazy song, when tat scream comes in… “Hurt” is probably the saddest song ever, really touching. It’s easy to see why Trent Reznor is the best at whatever he does, he really is a genious. In an artical I read about Trent, it said with this album Trent killed off the industrial genre. At first I didn’t know what they meant, but then it struck me, Trent did everything in this genre that could possibly be done. This is one twisted tale about a sick puppy who does all the wrong things, yet you still feel sorry for. A classic.

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is one of the best re-issues to date. The 5.1 and advanced surround mixes are A+, which is what one would expect from Trent Reznor. Im assuming you know how good The Downward Spiral is , so i wont go into to that, suffice to say, it rates as one fo the best albums of the 90’s and one of my personal favorites, this album got me through many a breakup and hard time. Ive never heard NIN sound so good, i do have the concert dvd so i knew beforehand how good this medium can sound in surround, but in album form its breathtaking. Sounds revolve around me and im hearing things ive never heard before, it makes me wish more albums were mixed in 5.1 The clarity of the sound is as such you can hear him draw breath before some verses and the difference between this and a regular cd is that with a cd you always sort of know that its a cd playing…with this if you close your eyes its like the band itself if playing in front of you. Industrial/electronic music like this is perfect for surround because of all the layers of sound and this , i promise you will not dissapoint. It blows most of the trash on today out of the water.’The extras are the best ive encountered of all the dvd’s i have… in the discography , there is one or two songs (in cd quality) you can listen to from each album! Considering the amount of albums,singles and remix projects NIN has , this is quite a bonus, also you get concert footage from both his previous dvd’s. To top it off there are 3 vidoes on this…closer (in stereo and surround), march of the pigs and hurt. Considering i paid less for this than most dvd’s out now, it has to be the best value for money musicwise i got all year….very highly recommended…enjoy!

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now