One of the most original and innovate rock albums of all time. Nobody combines aggression, melody, and sonic experimentation as well as Trent Reznor does.
The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his suicidal breaking point. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal, in contrast to the band's synth-pop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood. In 1992, Reznor moved to 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. It was used as a studio called "Le Pig" for recording Broken (1992) and The Downward Spiral with collaborations from other musicians. The album was influenced by late-1970s rock music albums such as David Bowie's Low and Pink Floyd's The Wall in particular, and focused on texture and space. The album spawned two singles, "March of the Pigs" and "Closer", in addition to the promotional singles "Piggy" and "Hurt". "March of the Pigs" and "Closer" were accompanied by music videos, with the former shot twice and the latter's heavily censored. The Downward Spiral was a commercial success, and established Nine Inch Nails as a reputable force in the 1990s music scene, with its sound being widely imitated and Reznor receiving media attention and multiple honors, while descending into drug abuse and depression. It has been regarded by music critics and audiences as one of the most important albums of the 1990s, and was praised for its abrasive and eclectic nature and dark themes, although it was scrutinized by social conservatives for some of its lyrics. A remix album titled Further Down the Spiral was released in 1995.
One of the most original and innovate rock albums of all time. Nobody combines aggression, melody, and sonic experimentation as well as Trent Reznor does.
This happpened to my buddy eric
could not finish. was not angry enough
NIN taps into every feeling you’ve ever had of anger, rage, sadness, jealousy, regret, and hurt, and puts it on record. Trent Reznor communicates people’s darkest emotions and impulses here, without ever sounding inhuman. He took all of humanity’s darkest emotions and feelings and made them relatable, and that’s what drives these songs into the upper echelon.
Intentionally abrasive music that grinds, gnashes, and snarls are you. Reznor is putting his production skills on full display from the word "go", using dynamics as a tool to make the loudness hit harder than ever. Drums hit you like a punch, square in the jaw. The Downward Spiral also shows Reznor's flexibility, as he from loud, exciting bangers to slow, building jams that give room for experimentation. Reznor is not afraid to work outside the box, playing into the thematic elements of mental illness and mania. He does these magnificent pieces of songwriting with each song it's incredible. Like ever frame is a painting, every song is a case study. Bring March of the Pigs of music class and dissect that marvelous piece of work. I have no reservations about the "angsty" or abrasive bits of NIN. That's kind of the whole jam. I love it. I think the front half is stronger than the first half but overall it's the best stuff to come out of the 90's.
Like the nick cage of music, everything either screamed or whispered
Hello, old friend. I'm not too familiar with NIN, but I do like Trent Reznor, especially for his more recent work on film scores. I was telling Andrew I've listened to this twice before, both times because he recommended it (the second time I forgot I had already listened to it). Here on the third listen, I do find myself enjoying it more. Maybe it's because recognition is now on my side, as I remember a lot of the tracks. But it's a good album. Very abrasive sonically, very dark lyrically, but some songs still feature an unmistakable groove. There are a few tracks that I skip though, which prevents this from getting four stars from me. Otherwise this is a solid project. Favorite tracks: Reptile, Closer, Heresy, Hurt. Album art: Grimy and gritty I guess, but pretty boring. The earthy minimalism doesn't match the industrial, maximal music. It's recognizable at this point, but still a weak cover. 3.5/5
More a concept album about being an angry 90s bro than anything else. Very much captures the time but also sounds dated for it. Some of the slower jams are pretty good. "Closer" continues to age terribly and sound edgy in the worst way possible. "Hurt" is obviously fantastic but skip to the Johnny Cash version.
I really didn't like this much. I guess it wass cool to the teenage angst in the 90s
This album is too obviously crafted to unironically contain the lyrics: "I just don't care anymore" The songs are mostly dull, build up to nowhere, and I value my hearing too much to turn it up enough to actually hear the vocals on most of them. The highlight of the album is the final song, which is only interesting because Cash covered it.
“The Downward Spiral” by Nine Inch Nails (1994) I’ve heard of this group (and have seen a lot of NIN bumper stickers) but have never listened to this album. This album goes beyond what I’m able to assess. I can only observe. Generating complex layers of unidentifiable (to me, at least) electronic sounds, the music serves as a suitable vehicle for the extraordinarily dark, obscene, nihilistic, murderous, and suicidal lyrics. I’m sure it was a commercial success. The instrumentals that I can recognize seem competently performed (drums, synthesizers, bass guitar). The vocals are unimpressive, but I can’t imagine the singer had any intention of impressing a listener like me. The lyrics are what I used to call evil, culturally destructive, harmful, hateful, and immature. I don’t use those terms anymore. The anti-cultural (anti-human) mindset of Nine Inch Nails has prevailed. My side lost. I’m reduced to sitting in the back row watching the shit show. Consider the lyric “God is dead and no one cares.” Well, this assertion can be accepted only by someone who chooses to ignore the plain evidence. A lot of people care that God is dead, including all public atheists, and also including the author of this lyric. The assertion can thus be reduced to nonsense. The lyrics on “Big Man with a Gun” don’t quite rise to the level of pornography. Self destruction is contrary to nature. But for lyricist Reznor, “nature” is probably a construct that is not even worth deconstructing. Just throw it away. Or rather leave it lying in the anti-cultural sewer for someone else to deal with. Reznor is rather occupied with self absorbed self loathing (and getting rich off it. Why, in bumper sticker sales alone, he can comfortably retire). One of the several strengths of this album (in addition to creative use of time signatures, etc.) is the conceptual unity, progressing to a self-hating conclusion. That was a difficult sentence to write. This album sounds like it could have been recorded at the site of the earlier Manson murders. It sounds like it could have contributed the mindsets of later mass murderers, thus influencing a whole string of mass murders. It was and it did. 1/5
Devastating and depressing in the best possible way.
Younger me loved this record. Still think Johnny's version of "Hurt" beats this one, but Trent Reznor agrees so it's cool. Favorite tracks: "March of the Pigs", "Heresy"
Possibly my favorite album of all-time. A timeless masterpiece of modern music. 10/10
Lost my virginity to the album.
Again not worth listening to. Liked the beat for Closer but did not appreciate the lyrics. There’s another Pass from this gal.
Not his best but still an amazing album.
Not my favorite NIN album but still amazing!
Well shit. This is the album that I've listened to more than any other over the last year. That means that I know it really well, but it's tough to rate because I'm kind of at the end of my love affair with this album (also the world is less depressing so it doesn't fit my mood as well). After relistening to it, fuck it. This is an outstanding album from beginning to end. Easily my favorite NIN album. 5/5
Really good but depressing
Love this album. Didn't even need to listen to it today. But I did.
What a great album!
Another favorite! Amazing production. Sounds as fresh and new as it did when it came out.
Gravat al poligon de Llinars
it's a five NEXT
Obra maestra del hard rock alternativo de los 90 y cumbre en la discografía de los NIN. Durísimo y desgarrador, hiperproducción ensordecedora de las que dejan heridas para toda la vida. Brutal.
First couple tracks, it's pretty out there. Good though. Can tell its had a lot of thought put into it. I had already heard 'Closer' (limp Bizkit ripped it off). A lot of religious connotations. Last track 'Hurt' is one of my favourite tracks of all time. Liked it. 5/5.happily own it on vinyl
Loved it, could be hard to hear it but is an awesome álbum
The first CD I ever bought was the remix version of this album, so we go way back. Dark, sonically intense, noise in all the right places, and big dynamic shifts. Love it.
This is quite simply one of the greatest albums ever written. It’s still jaw droppingly fresh and it’s nearly 30 years old. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times and still feel like I hear new things. It’s easily the simplest ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’ve dished out so far
Visceral, disgusting, disturbing, amazing. An album that makes me feel quezy but exhilarated every time I listen to it.
Quite simply one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Masterpiece
Wow I'm on a streak. I started this list because I wanted to discover new music but it's always a welcome surprise to get the classics I grew up on.
Fantastic, don't think I've actually heard Hurt in context before and it makes it that much more powerful.
Well, I'm not the Nine Inch Nails fan I was when I was 16, but it would be disingenuous to not give this album a 5. Trent's output after The Fragile has been largely terrible outside of Ghosts and some soundtrack work, but in the mid 90s, he was riding a creative high. Downward Spiral was more in tune with industrial's roots than a lot of his contemporaries like Skinny Puppy and Ministry but also comfortably couched in the alternative rock of the era. This was a great entry point and also a strong display of songwriting and cohesive theme and storytelling. It's not without its flaws, but it's a classic.
I've always had a penchant for listening to songs on repeat, ad nauseum "Closer" was one of those songs Most of The Downward Spiral is a bit screamy for me, but it gave me "Closer" so I'm rating it high Noteworthy tracks : A Warm Place + Reptile
Great music, designed to deliver emotion, which it does succesfully. Puching and gritty.
A rich chocolate cake of indulgent angst, an absolute blast to listen to!
Yeah I love this album. Any music that has this primal feeling automatically gets some serious points from me. Another example: AVA by Model/Actriz. It has all the things that I tend to love. It has beautiful abrasiveness. It has some very interesting rhythmic ideas. It has lyrics that actually pull me into them! You cannot zone out when Trent is on the mic. This album makes me dance like a stripper and then feel really bad about doing so. That’s special.
I remember all of the weird kids in middle school wore NIN and Tool shirts. And now here I am kinda loving both bands. It's weird how Trent Reznor combines so many sounds without sounding contrived. A song like Heresy has a pulsing beat and an intense screaming chorus, yet he manages to almost invoke tones of Prince in the verses. I never listened to this album until I was an adult, but I think if I would've found this at a younger (read: more angsty) age, I would've wore it out.
I learned a lot of things about this album today: that it was recorded in the Sharon Tate house, that it's more than Hurt and the "fuck you like an animal" song, and that you can hear shades of Reznor's future film soundtrack work in it. A lot more complex than I gave it credit for. Best track: Hurt
This album is a doozie! Overall I appreciate the minimal/maximal approach they take, ebbing in and out of quiet understatement and overblown soundscapes. At a few moments some of the sexual aggression felt disturbing. Some excellent songs here though including some classics (Hurt, Closer), and a very good album.
Noisy, dissonant, complex yet captivating, explosive, aggressive, beautifully discordant, dark and powerful
I didn't properly appreciate Nine Inch Nails until a few years ago but I now think they/he are excellent. The sound design is always first rate. There's a lot of noise but that's usually underpinned by a strong groove or melody. Definitely music to get lost in. And obviously it's bleak AF, so there's points for that... I'll give it a 4 or 4.5. I don't think it maintains the same quality over the whole 65 minutes, but then it isn't easy to match classics like Closer and Hurt.
Trent Reznor certainly has a unique and original sound. And this is probably his strongest album. I used to own this album and a couple NIN Eps back when I was a teenager but ended up trading them back to get something else cause there was just never a time/place to play them. I give him big points for his sonic inventiveness in incorporating samples and noise and all that texture/atmosphere but I find the relentlessly dark/heavy mood and lyrics to be absolutely exhausting/draining by the end. I'd probably enjoy this much more as an instrumental album. Amazing that "closer" was a hit single. That post "Nevermind" era was incredible the way it opened the floodgates for things like this to at least temporarily become part of the mainstream.
Very industrial. Unique sound. Lyrics are cringe AF at times.
Not good. I hate the songs that talk about sex because I know from Hurt that he knows how to write songs, he just chooses to be shitty.
Too indistinguishable from noise, but Closer
Not my cup of tea. Some smart transitions, but it didn't make itself an enjoyable and memorable experience given my music taste
Ehh interesting enough. Just not my style
Whiney incel bollocks
Everything about this album, even the chaos, feels like a purposeful choice with a specific point of view. It's emotional and demands attention. That being said, a lot of this album makes me feel a little ill. The opening lyrics of Closer make me deeply uncomfortable. The whole album is about self-destruction but that song and Big Man with a Gun very explicitly detail how that self-destruction violently drag others down too and the glorification of those darker thoughts have always left me on edge.
I thought I liked Nine Inch Nails more than this. I didn't listen to them much outside of their hits. Most of this is just muddied with too much going on and poor mixing. The production sucks. I thought my headphones were fucked up when I put this on. Hey, let's have 23 "instruments", and crank them all to 11. Then we'll turn the vocals down to 5. That was probably smart actually because most of the lyrics sound like a 14 year old wrote them. I still can't help but get nostalgic when Closer comes on. A Warm Place was by far the best track. Beautiful ambient piece without any vocals to ruin it. 9/10 for that track. Obviously, Hurt is another one to pull from the wreckage here. I can't for the life of me figure out why this album is so beloved by anyone outside of depressed teens. It's not unlistenable, but it's also not good. I was pretty relieved when it was over. 5/10
Sorry, just not my cup of tea. I don't enjoy the screaming and dissonant tones and explicit content.
I know there is a lot of love for trent and nine inch nails but I didnt enjoy the album.
Bad, can’t understand anything
Couldn't stomach it. Too noisy, too much of an assault. Life's too short and there's too much good music to bother persevering!
Just typical Trent Reznor/NIN music. Never my thing. Closer was the best song on this. Hurt was also on this. 3/10.
Oh dear! The Becoming was the first track to play on my shuffle. Don't know if I will be able to listen to the whole album? A Warm Place was ok, but like every other track it featured a lot of industrial noise. Difference between noise and music? Mainly 'listened' to this whilst drying my hair, so hairdryer drowned out most of it.
I think this album would make a great soundtrack for a Fast and Furious movie but I did not enjoy listening to it.
Terrible punk stuff
Lots of nope - I gave it a shot
So I’ve actually heard this one before and remembered hating it. There were moments where the drums made me feel like I was almost listening to music but.. no I still really don’t like it. Still can’t believe Johnny Cash was like - yea I could cover this.
A bit too heavy for me, i don’t really enjoy the vocals on most tracks, I prefer more melodic music. Though I can appreciate the industrial drum sounds. I really love “Closer”, it feels so funky and I can hear the influence of that song on bands like AWOLNATION.
I don't really get it. Not my sort of thing.
I'd been meaning to listen to this album for years, so was intrigued when it came up as today's album. Listened, and it's dreadful. Tuneless angsty vocals, inane lyrics that a 12 year old could have written. Exact same bag of tricks as that other 90's gimmick Marilyn Manson.
I can see how this isn't for everyone, but it sure does hit my spot. A real life sickos.jpg situation. At the time, I loved this album for the pounding manic tracks like "Mr Self Destruct" and "Big Man With A Gun", but these days I appreciate all the little dark ambient flourishes that connect them. You can definitely hear the signature sound that they've brought to all the score work they've done. The soundtrack to the Watchmen series is _badass_. Fave track - "Hurt" is an obvious choice - amazing song. This version's great, even if the Cash version is better. This play through, though, I'm gonna go with "Eraser", as it had that lovely soundtracky feel...
Great record but it's a genre (90's alt rock) that forever has a soft spot in my heart so I'm crazy biased. I'm not the biggest NIN fan outside of this record. I think I had The Fragile back in the day and I've listened to some of their more recent stuff every now and again. I think this is the most guitar-oriented record of theirs, which is probably why I connect with it the most. Could be wrong because I haven't listened much very recent stuff but I know I checked out a few of their records in the late 00's and it seemed they were going a more electronic direction. For me, Reznor doesn't have the most compelling vocals (they're fine) but the soundscapes he produces are top notch. Having said that, he does have a decent scream. Some of the songs on this are actually pretty strong under the roar of the guitars and synths. Johnny Cash's cover of Hurt can attest to that since it proves that it meets the old rule: If it doesn't work on an acoustic guitar it's not actually a good song. Great stuff, from the intro sampling THX 1138 to the final crackling end.
🤯😍 A master work of angst and raw emotion. Incredible sonic textures and layers. I love the rawness and power of this album, and the way it effortlessly shifts from tone to tone
Holy fucking shit!!!!!! Holy fucking shit!!!!!!!!!!!! What an incredible album. The whole thing. It's a full experience. One listen was not enough, I need so much more time with this album before I can understand and appreciate it fully. This rules so much. It's incredible. Every song is so strong. Closer is so overplayed, Hurt is so overplayed, I was not expecting to really care for either song when they came on, but every song works so fucking well when it's all put together like this. Every song is so important in the album. Every song is so great, it all blends together but absolutely stands alone. Mr. Self Destruct into Piggy is a masterful way to open an album, Closer into Ruiner is a really great transition and Ruiner overall is a really cool song with a lot going on. I don't want to go on for too long but I really can. There is so much here. This album is fantastic. I love it so much. So glad I got the chance to listen to it here.
I know Closer and Hurt, and love both (though prefer Johnny Cash's version of the latter). The rest I'm less familiar with. Mr Self Destruct is a great opener, pitching somewhere between Suicide and Metallica. Piggy is a fun funky jazzy thing. Possibly a minute longer than it needs to be. Heathen is amazingly heavy and fun, Closer is a stone cold classic, A Warm Place is ambient beauty and Hurt is gorgeous in either version. This is a stunning album. A little chubby in the middle, maybe, but seven years later, Radiohead used some very similar tricks and got hailed as geniuses. I feel like maybe Trent Reznor's love of heaviness and slightly OTT edginess meant less people took NIN as seriously as they deserved to be taken at the time.
4.6 - It's funny how high school clicks have had such an impact on my musical diet even to this day. I should've listened to this album decades ago but it was a staple of the freaks and goths - groups I was too scared to associate with. I've always loved "Closer" - so much intricacy in the arrangement, and the razor edge in the lyrics appeals to a real sense of lust. Listening to the entire album, I hear Trent Reznor as a perfectionist who's painstakingly dialed in every sound, every moment to maximize impact. No detail is left examined and reexamined. But somehow it ends up sounding crisp, dynamic and dark.
It's an album you just want to play LOUD. As loud as you can stand. Pure 90s industrial rock, in all the good ways. Yet for as loud as you want to play it the music is dark and depressing, but sometimes that's just what you need.
A classic. I don't know how many times I've had conversations about this album or the music video for Closer.
NIN has been and continues to be one of my favorite bands, and one of the most consistently good over their career. Downward Spiral is among my favorite albums of theirs, surprising nobody.
January 20th 2022. The best of this album IMO: - Piggy - March Of The Pigs - Closer - Ruiner - Eraser - Reptile - The Downward Spiral - Hurt Raw, powerful, visceral, animalistic. Sexy. Twisted. Demented. I want Trent Reznor to whisper the word "piggy" to my ears over and over again. 🤫 Same for the lyrics of "Closer". The Downward Spiral song is driving me crazy. Phenomenal album. 4.5/5
Wall of sound experience
Electronic in substance, hard rock in spirit. This is confrontational and challenging
Трент Резнор гений
-An awesome industrial metal album -"Heresy," "Closer," "Ruiner," "I Do Not Want This," and "Eraser" stand out as really strong tracks
Album is phenomenal, I couldn't wait for it to be released and it's well worth the wait. Industrial perfection.
Simultaneously dark and catchy. Brooding and angry. I'm not usually big on industrial but I've always liked NIN. This is album just takes you to such a dark place but it's got a hell of a soundtrack on the way. It's great. There's a reason why I still hear Closer on the local rock station almost 30 (yikes I'm getting old) years later. Or maybe the local station is behind the times. That's a debate for another time.
Incredible album and really gnaws at you when you listen to it. Really unsettling.
Banging tunes and great guitars ... Loved it.
A pure metal/industrial/electronic masterpiece
One of the best!
Exceptional, uncomfortable, repetitive, draining, occasionally enjoyable, but mostly awkward, and always always moves the listener. One of the most starling albums I have listened to, and still sounds as fresh and unsettling as it always did. Awesome, in every possible sense of the word!
Excellent. Ce band a défini un courant. Cet album fait le pont entre une musique expérimental, la recherche d’un son nouveau, une attitude métal et les pistes de dance.
Infinite stars! One of the best albums of all time (to me)
A+ from beginning to end