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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Downward Spiral

Nine Inch Nails

1994

The Downward Spiral

Album Summary

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.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.27

Votes

4761

Genres

  • Hard Rock
  • Rock
Reviews
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5

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.

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3

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

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5

Devastating and depressing in the best possible way.

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5

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"

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5

false

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5

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.

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5

Possibly my favorite album of all-time. A timeless masterpiece of modern music. 10/10

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3

Like the nick cage of music, everything either screamed or whispered

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1

“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

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5

Downright harrowing!

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5

Not his best but still an amazing album.

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5

Perfect, 10/10

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5

Not my favorite NIN album but still amazing!

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5

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

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5

Really good but depressing

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5

Love it

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5

Love this album. Didn't even need to listen to it today. But I did.

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5

Great album

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5

What a great album!

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5

Amazing

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5

Another favorite! Amazing production. Sounds as fresh and new as it did when it came out.

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5

Gravat al poligon de Llinars

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5

it's a five NEXT

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5

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.

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5

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

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5

Loved it, could be hard to hear it but is an awesome álbum

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5

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.

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5

Quality

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5

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.

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5

Awesome

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5

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

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5

Visceral, disgusting, disturbing, amazing. An album that makes me feel quezy but exhilarated every time I listen to it.

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5

Quite simply one of the greatest albums ever recorded. Masterpiece

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5

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.

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5

Fantastic, don't think I've actually heard Hurt in context before and it makes it that much more powerful.

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5

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.

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5

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

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5

Great music, designed to deliver emotion, which it does succesfully. Puching and gritty.

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5

A rich chocolate cake of indulgent angst, an absolute blast to listen to!

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5

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.

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5

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.

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4

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

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4

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.

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4

Noisy, dissonant, complex yet captivating, explosive, aggressive, beautifully discordant, dark and powerful

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4

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.

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3

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.

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3

This happpened to my buddy eric

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2

I really didn't like this much. I guess it wass cool to the teenage angst in the 90s

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2

Too indistinguishable from noise, but Closer

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2

Not my cup of tea. Some smart transitions, but it didn't make itself an enjoyable and memorable experience given my music taste

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2

Ehh interesting enough. Just not my style

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1

Sorry, just not my cup of tea. I don't enjoy the screaming and dissonant tones and explicit content.

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1

I know there is a lot of love for trent and nine inch nails but I didnt enjoy the album.

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1

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.

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1

Bad, can’t understand anything

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1

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!

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1

Just typical Trent Reznor/NIN music. Never my thing. Closer was the best song on this. Hurt was also on this. 3/10.

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1

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.

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1

I think this album would make a great soundtrack for a Fast and Furious movie but I did not enjoy listening to it.

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1

Terrible punk stuff

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1

Again not worth listening to. Liked the beat for Closer but did not appreciate the lyrics. There’s another Pass from this gal.

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1

Lots of nope - I gave it a shot

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1

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.

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1

could not finish. was not angry enough

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1

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.

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1

I don't really get it. Not my sort of thing.

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5

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...

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5

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.

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5

🤯😍 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

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5

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.

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5

Rules

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5

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.

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5

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.

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5

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.

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5

A classic. I don't know how many times I've had conversations about this album or the music video for Closer.

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5

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.

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5

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

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5

Wall of sound experience

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5

9/10

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5

Electronic in substance, hard rock in spirit. This is confrontational and challenging

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5

Трент Резнор гений

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5

-An awesome industrial metal album -"Heresy," "Closer," "Ruiner," "I Do Not Want This," and "Eraser" stand out as really strong tracks

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5

Album is phenomenal, I couldn't wait for it to be released and it's well worth the wait. Industrial perfection.

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5

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.

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5

Incredible album and really gnaws at you when you listen to it. Really unsettling.

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5

Lost my virginity to the album.

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5

Banging tunes and great guitars ... Loved it.

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5

One of the best!

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5

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!

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5

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.

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5

Infinite stars! One of the best albums of all time (to me)

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5

A+ from beginning to end

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5

idk yet

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5

From Trent Reznor’s Wikipedia page: the artist describes himself nowadays as “a pretty happy person.” You got to stare the Devil in the face to wrest your soul away from Him. This album, to me, is that. Transcendent.

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5

Amazing not just for NIN but for the genre and for music, especially at the time it was released.

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5

Every bit as brilliant and disturbing as it was almost 30 years ago.

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5

Damn. I don't think I've every just sat down with this album and listened but this time I was at my parents in a completely dark room with no windows and gave myself time to just absorb it. For an album made in 1994 it sounds so modern. Could have been created yesterday. Super dark and gritty and I appreciate this album a lot more than I ever did before. Hurt is still the standout to me, but I definitely want to try to find this on vinyl sometime. Another album where the songs individually aren't that appealing as far as adding them to spotify or whatever, but the album as a whole is something to experience.

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5

Love this album. Its concept is nightmarish, but in my opinion. it’s best listened to as a full album, start to finish. - Nick

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5

4.5

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5

Hurt (one of my favorite songs of all time), Closer, March of the Pigs are some of the greatest industrial rock songs of all time. This album was instrumental in my music tastes growing up. So so so good.

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5

I love The Downward Spiral. I love that it hits just as hard today, while I load my reusable earth conscience bags into my family car, as it did in 1999 sitting on my bff's floor doing our makeup to go check out guys at the mall.

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5

It was like being back in high school...I had all the angst and energy all over again.

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5

One I didn't enjoy back in the day but loved this time through

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5

Nice album

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5

Love that Freznor chose to work with Russell Mills for the cover art. Art that come about in the mid century and inspired the grungy aesthetic of 90's music. First album I've played twice. The album I had previously was Frank Sinatra's wee small hours so it's jarring to go from wee small hours to the downward spiral. It's like I'm going backwards on the 5 stages of grief. I started at acceptance and sadness with Frank Sinatra and now NIN has moved me to anger, bargaining, denial, and blissful ignorance.

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5

Unique experience.

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5

Lost track of this site for a bit. Glad to have come back to this album. One of the best from the era.

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5

Trent Reznor is the man who convinced me industrial music could be more than just a gimmick genre. It could be an art masterpiece. It's an album that reflects inner turmoil. On first listen, it's nothing but a wall of abrasive noise, but underneath lies layers of beautiful melodies and organization that we only get hints at times. At heart it's synthpop, with tracks like "Heresy" and "Closer" perfect for a dance groove at a rave with extreme moments that pull your attention toward the music. It's an incredibly emotional album, displaying feelings of hatred, confusion, and despair that no one else has really done before. I love the reoccurring motifs revisited in several songs which make the album feel complete as a concept album. The track ordering is well designed, with the first several songs showing the chaotic versatility that Reznor is capable of, and the last 5 songs a sense of hopelessness and despair in giving it all up. And the transitions in between are amazing. Some cuts are smooth, like the extended silence at the end of "March of the Pigs", but others can be sharp like the cut of the chaotic "Ruiner" into the mechanical horror show of "The Becoming" which fits with the themes of the protagonist's disorganized mindset. Despite being over an hour long, I wouldn't cut any songs, enjoying the whole experience from start to finish, although I could see how one could lost focus in the latter half. For me, it's a beautiful and introspective extended end. This might not even be my favorite album by NIN, but I'd argue it's their most complete and influential, and certainly one I'll revisit time and time again.

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5

I want to fuck you like an animal. I want to feel you from the inside. You get me closer to god.

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5

A modern(ish) day classic. 5/5

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5

A key album in its genre

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4

See also Marilyn Manson Antichrist/era

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4

Not my favorite NIN but really good. Hurt is a classic

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4

Inget större fan av NIN men ett extremt välgjort album.

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4

Dude can you imagine if Johnny Cash covered this whole thing

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4

Great NIN, but just not my typical speed.

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4

A classic NIN album, definitely deserving of its place on this list.

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4

Closer and March of The Pigs are my favorite songs. Album is very cohesive. 1st time listening to the whole album.

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4

Not my favorite of theirs but a classic.

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4

Not an album for work, grindy and tough on the soul but powerful

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4

Pretty dope vibes, instruments were carefully used and effectively some great affects 4.2

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4

Treads the line between crunchiness and atonality adroitly.

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4

I enjoyed the aesthetic of the album more than I enjoyed the actual music. There are certainly some great songs here, but it's got filler on it too. I'm glad I heard it and I might even come back to it, but it didn't bowl me over start to finish.

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4

Haiku Tuesday: Depression; Success Give attention to his pain Let's profit, baby

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4

Intense

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4

A dreadfully depressing album, but that’s part of what makes it great. Not my favorite in the NIN discography, but still an excellent album.

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4

I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. I feel like this album was more influential than I ever know. A lot of the songs sounded very 90s in a good way, like a lot of other bands were trying to replicate the sound.

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4

Tuesday album haiku:### Iron, concrete, wood, stone ### Decorate your soul with thorn ### Hammers in your hands ###

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4

I used to do dramatic readings of this album's lyrics when I was a Freshman in college, but are classics and while I don't always feel precisely what is expressed in these songs, my adolescence was off frustration and anger and the desire to do something meaningful. Trent has really evolved has a significant producer of sound. And I think it's interesting that we listened to him right after Brian Eno. I know all of us who have grown up with John Williams scores can attest to our emotional connection to sounds and images and feelings. I was reading an article about how sound influenced or emotional reactions to content. Classic album, I had a couple of early NIN albums, I will definitely listen to more.

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4

Very experimental sounds, a few too weird songs but overall I like it

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4

I liked it, but don't think it's something I could listen to for longer than one album at a time. Also almost a bit too intense to listen to during work.

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4

Big fan! Some filler in between but it creates a really uneasy, uncomfortable feeling. It’s no wonder Reznor went into film scoring.

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4

typical Trent Reznor

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4

Veoma ritmičan i mračan album. Instrumentali su bolji nego ih se sjećam i dosta mi je drago što su random ovaj album izabrali. Pasao je na ovaj tmuran dan, a mogu tek mislit kakav bi bio po noći. Glas ima sirov, oštar, a u par slučajeva i miran, dosta prilagođavanja na instrumental. Dosta agresivan album, ne previše, pa je zapravo to i dobro za mene. Ne govore bezveze da je ovo njihov najjači album u njihovom katalogu. 3.9/5

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4

Industrial angst

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4

Trent Reznor creates some u inquest music and I’ve always enjoyed their bigger hits. The whole album is pretty good but just short of great. The songs are dark and instrumentals are experimental. 8.3/10

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4

Well that was interesting. A very intimate picture of a man going though some shit, thats for sure. Some real standout lyrics on that one.

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4

wanna give it a 4.5. can't get enough of that angsty horny shit. more pig content than I remembered??

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4

i can't believe Hurt is a bonus track more musical than I would have expected

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4

Några riktiga guldkorn. T ex closer och hurt

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4

Great industrial sound. My biggest gripe is the mix. The vocals are way turned down and get drowned out by the music. Other than that, this is a very cathartic album. Trent Reznor is the best at what he does

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4

Een album om af en toe eens ongemakkelijk bij te voelen, en dat is best oké. Heel unieke sound, maar niet meteen iets om opnieuw volledig op te leggen

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4

Great songs on this, I'd give it 5 stars, but I've always found some of the piggy stuff distrubing.

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4

Been a really long time since I’ve listened to this one. I don’t love it but man you can’t say it wasn’t revolutionary. Absolutely amazing command of sound. Easy to see how Reznor has successfully done so many soundtracks. He gets emotional music.

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4

yes.

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4

This was solid, knew some tracks from this album but over all great album

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4

Not the same impact as Pretty Hate Machine, and I remember the slight disappointment after the long wait. + the album's sequencing, a classic NIN song (Hurt), all the instrumental bits, the high level of detail in the music (+5) -: the straightforwardness of the concept, the standard industrial template of the proper songs (-0.5) and especially the awkward lyrics (-1). Final mark: 5 - 1.5 = 4

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4

Though reputation and age exceed this album somewhat, the care put into it is still clear. The peaks of it's brutality are what really shine.

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4

Rating: 8/10 Best songs: Mr. Selfdestruct, March of the pigs, Hurt

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4

Banger. Literally.

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4

This album is a bit abrasive and intense for a normal day, however it can’t be denied, it’s a fantastic album. Trent Reznor’s voice wavers between razor blade and buzzsaw, the lonely samples sound far away and lost, the guitar effects and driving baselines sound like cold metal in a defunct factory. This is industrial music. It’s both beautiful and too much at the same time. You can hear the influences, new wave, metal and techno in this mashup. You can hear Reznor’s theatrical appreciation and resulting aesthetic—a prelude to his very successful film score career. I think Closer and Hurt are both masterpieces which can be played on loop. I was very close to giving this a 5, even though it was a downer for the afternoon, but there’s a bit of filler, a few dongs which were threes and it just barely didn’t reach the eschelon of every song is good. 4.

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4

Incredible use of dynamics and automation. This was such an innovative album and still sounds fresh and relevant. Full of darkness and menace, simply fantastic. Top tracks: Closer, Eraser, Hurt

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4

Has the song Hurt. Excellent album, but not quite a 5.

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4

When I started this I was hoping I'd get at least a few albums that I knew well. Sex Pistols and now this one have helped me reach that goal, but it's kind of mildly disappointing to not have something new to dive into. On the plus side, there's still 900 odd to go :)

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4

Great sound. Listened to this a decent amount when it came out, but I think I was too young to full appreciate it. Makes me want to go back an revisit full catalogue. 4/5

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4

This is the first NiN album I ever listened to in it's entirety. I liked it...at spots I liked it quite a bit. I was surprised at the variety of sounds. There was subtlety that I wasn't expecting 3.75 stars

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4

immersive, energetic, moody and i like this version of hurt much better. for some unknown reason the johnny cash version used to play every friday evening on the leading radio station in israel, and i always felt like it was so obnoxiously pretentious. in this album, it owns it unapologetically and i could believe it for once. :)

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4

Dark, depressing, and really cool. 7-8/10

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4

bastante loco, not for me pero musica de CALIDAD

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4

Musically i thought it was very innovative and fascinating to listen to. I can appreciate that Trent Reznor is a master of his craft. I didn't necessarily enjoy all of it, but it was never boring. Each song feels meticulously crafted. Each song has so much going on in the background that I like. I like how a lot of the songs build really well too. A lot of the lyrics were atrocious though lmao. i didnt mind a lot of the edginess but there were so many mindless references to dicks and fucking and so on; i just thought the cool music couldve used cooler lyrics. A few of the songs did have more interesting lyrics, thankfully. I don't mind somewhat sexual lyrics as long as they are actually interesting, like in "Reptile". I feel like it could grow on me, so i should return eventually.

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4

Honestly not sure if I absolutely adore this or hate it. Can you have both at once?

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4

There are 1001 albums and I keep getting recommended albums I’ve heard!! Not a bad thing, just odd. I don’t know if I’ve listened to this from start to finish, it might be too much. Heresy and March of the Pigs still slap. The real beauty in this album is listening to it from start to finish in one setting and really taking in all the sounds and emotions that Reznor sculpts. Hard to listen to, but rewarding at the same time.

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4

The 90's really were a haven for miserable angst. I'm astounded that something as abrasive and unforgiving as this album not only breached the mainstream but actively thrived in it, but reznor tapped into a collective rage and disillusion with society at large on this album, and with NIN in general. The Downward Spiral isn't just angry. it's misanthropic, bleak and searing; containing all the melodrama and self loathing of an outcast teen but with the sincerity of an enraged anarchist. The vocal performances cut right through you, and compliment these colossal and primal industrialized rock pieces.

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4

8/10

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4

WTF was that!?

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4

Many stabdout tracks like “Closer,” “Hurt,” “Heresy,” and “Ruiner.” Great music for being angsty. Some filler tracks, intros, outros.

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4

Great album!

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4

A 90's classic and still unique and fresh sounding nearly 20 years since its release. The way Reznor oscillates seamlessly between a heavier, industrial metal sound and the softer, atmospheric vibes of songs like 'Hurt' and 'A Warm Place' makes for a terrific album.

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4

A bunch of okay songs and then hurt

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4

Pretty good! I’ll likely listen to it more

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4

Great album

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4

Industrial rock-metal. Un 4 porque tiene la de Hurt.

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4

I guess it is a good thing that I'm not often in the mood for NIN. That said you cannot deny the power and creativity and raw genius on display. This album is a genuine achievement. It is utterly unsurprising that Reznor continues to make significant and inspired contributions to our culture right up to present day. The Downward Spiral is not the work of a man lacking in ideas or emotion. Hurt in particular is a masterpiece. All the more so once it became the deeply moving Cash video. If you don't agree then I'm sorry you have a stone for a heart.

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4

Hey, this one I have heard all the way through, multiple times... and no sense not doing it again! Think back to the first time you heard this and think, Oscar winner working with Pixar.

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4

This album has some of my favorite NiN tracks ("Closer", "Hey Pig", "Hurt"), but also descends into a bit too much teen-angst anger in places. The production is ridiculously good and it was definitely a revelation on its release.

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4

I used to love this when I was an angsty teen, and, if I'm being honest, I still like it as an angsty adult. Maybe not as much as I used to, but I enjoyed it.

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4

Dikke prima!

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4

Some of these songs sound too static-y to me, and sometimes the abrasiveness feels over the top, but overall an amazing collection of songs.

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4

nicreeeeeeeeeeee

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4

Listened already, really like it

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4

Great concept album. Dark, different and energetic. Hadn't listened since I was a kid. Definitely a different experience as an adult.

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4

Trent Reznor's multi-instrumental talents, as well as production techniques, really shine on this album. It has such a distinct sound, and helped to push the industrial sound into more people's Sony Walkman players at the time. I really enjoy the imagery created through sound layering and producing instruments to make them sound like a wall of sound, before falling off a cliff into silence. The vocal tones used by Reznor are also very effective in contributing to the overall mood throughout the record. There is no subtlety in the lyrics, which was common during this period but does not hold up incredibly well over time. The writing is the only aspect that leaves a bad taste. Fave tracks: Heresy, Eraser, Hurt

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4

4.25

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4

Ce n'est pas l'album le plus accessible de la liste et je dois avouer que je ne l'ai pas aimé instantanément. À l'époque, le style du groupe ne me parlait pas. J'y suis revenu plus tard et j'ai complètement embarqué dans l'univers de Trent Reznor à partir de l'album With Teeth. Et encore là, je n'avais pas vraiment pris la peine de revenir à cet album. Je comprends aujourd'hui l'importance de l'album et je peux constater sa qualité. Les textures créées sont super intéressantes et innovantes pour l'époque. Il y a un désir de recherche de nouvelles sonorités même avec les instruments conventionnels comme la guitare. La direction donnée à Andrian Belew pour Mr. Self-Destruct allait dans ce sens. On retrouve sur cet album la sonorité industrielle et violente de Ministry mais traitée de façon plus mélodique. Il y a de la place pour la musique et les mélodies. La prise de son des drums sur Piggy et Eraser est superbe. D'ailleurs, la superposition des drums à la fin de la pièce Piggy rappelle un peu ce que King Crimson faisait autour de cette époque avec son double trio. J'adore comment le beat déroute un peu la pièce alors que la pièce continue bien droite en arrière. Heresy a un petit côté à la Prince que j'aime bien. La pièce Hurt est superbe, mais la version de Johnny Cash avec tout son background est la meilleure version. La pièce Closer est une incontournable. L'album est par contre une petite affaire trop longue. C'est un album à connaître et dans mon cas, à me procurer (je peux pas croire que je ne l'ai pas encore). Pièces préférées: Hurt, The Becoming, Closer, Piggy, Heresy, March Of The Pigs

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4

I'm feeling the groove on Mr. Self Destruct and then on Piggy. Closer is an awesome genre bending single. Hurt is a banger.

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4

Very interesting album, strong industrial sound that channels pure violence, anger, pain. It's not about the melodies but about the feeling of this album. I think that bumps it up for me. Hurt is a strong closer.

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4

Oh, Mr. Reznor.

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4

L'obra magna del rock industrial i un dels discos més importants, inspirats, dels '90. Complicat, complex, recargolat, va ser el punt àlgid de la carrera de Trent Reznor i una inspiració per molt del que hauria de venir. Gairebé al tocar de les 5*

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4

it was very good, such a slow burn and I wasn't sold at first but damn... as an album it's fantastic. So much better than any individual song

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4

Either this was an extremely slow burn, or I really did enjoy the second half of the album a lot more than the first. The soundscape was a little overwhelming initially, but then I started to notice the tiny details in the instrumentals. That's when the enjoyment started to kick in.

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4

This is a fine album. The vocals generally sound flat but the dynamics are truly impressive. I also like the arrangements which have a nice mix of real instruments and electronic sounds and percussion. The soft loud dynamic shifts are very impressive. And the songs are much more compelling than I thought they'd be. I'm not really a fan of industrial music, but the Downward Spiral house a nice balance between industrial stylings as well as a melodic foundation that I find pleasing. 4 🌟

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4

Amazing sound, blues rock meets harsh electronic sounds. Organic sounds on the second half of the album acoustic guitar and piano in contrast plays nicely. Complex harmony although sometimes sparse. Edgy lyrics gave me cringitis.

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4

Pitch-black, gratingly harsh, and uncompromising. Trent Reznor exorcises his demons through a set of songs that demonstrate both his musical virtuosity and his desire to claw his way back from the pit of despair.

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4

I always liked Trent more than I liked his music. Like, I don't know if I'd actually listen to NIN without having their wikipedia page to scroll through. The lyrics really come off like 14-year-old wrote them (sorry, Big T!). This is a lot funkier than I expected!

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4

This little piggy needs therapy 🐽

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4

highlights: -hurt holy shit this is something

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4

Ces gars-là et leur rock industriel m'ont surpris et Dieu sait qu'il en faut beaucoup pour me surprendre. Demandez à Eric Antoine.

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4

I really enjoy NIN's music and I'm happy to see them on this list. I've listened to this album and the others many many times. Mr Self Destruct 2/5 Piggy 3/5 Heresy 5/5 March of the Pigs 3/5 Closer 5/5 Ruiner 3/5 The Becoming 3/5 I Do Not Want This 3/5 Big Man With a Gun 2/5 A Warm Place 3/5 Eraser 3/5 Reptile 5/5 The Downward Spiral 3/5 Hurt I prefer the quiet version so much more, the weird fuzziness? is frustrating to listen to. The quiet version is easily a 5/5 though. Overall I'd say this is a 4/5 album, lot of cool tracks on it.

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4

Great album

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4

Mr Self Destruct: Someone is getting slapped and it turns into a drum beat. Feels like I’m in a car chase in I fast and furious. It’s quiet now and someone is whispering. SOMEONE GOT SHOT AND WERE BACK TO SCREAMING. He’s talking about being used and being controlled. Loud distortion towards the end. Piggy: immediately quieter than the last song and great contrast from that distortion from the end of the last track. Weird noise in my left speaker possibly a train? Soft vocals make the bass and synth pop which I enjoy. Various sound effects in the background possibly rainforest? Another train sound effect? Drums have been slowly added in to the mix of percussion instruments. More distortion at the end but less than last track and finishes withs funky synth and guitar. Heresy: Falsetto vocals are fine contrast to loud electronic synth. Nevermind he’s screaming into the mic. He’s talking about how god is dead and he’ll see us in hell😃 Wing flapping sound effects possibly demon? March Of The Pigs: Fast drum bit with 8bit synth. More yelling on his part talking about wanting something but he doesn’t like it. Quick Bowie like piano segment that softens his vocals and stops music for a bit but goes back into screaming. Crude imagery about killing pigs. Again with the Bowie type piano segment which lasts much longer and ends out the song Closer: Very crude imagery of this man wanting to get intimate with us😳 Funky synth. High pitched synth that acts like the strings. I don’t think he’s referring to us. He says he will go to great lengths to be with this person, even saying their the reason he stays alive. Ends with distorted piano and reverse tape loops. Ruiner: End of last song transitions into this song with the piano. More sex imagery. Harmony begins. Break from loud vocals to quiet bass with sound effects behind it. Bluesy Electric guitar solo transitions into heavy metal guitar solo. Synth rises the tension. Song ends abruptly with no real end. The Becoming: Tape loops of people screaming as he sings in his soft voice. He’s talking about how he’s changed as a person the last time we saw him. Quick guitar strumming with soft vocals. Sporadic industrial synth. There is a bad voice inside his head that makes him this way. Song closes out with soft acoustic strumming as it transitions to the next song with static sound. I Do Not Want This: He doesn’t want us to do things for him, he insists us to stop. Radio chatter? Gravely voice overshadowed by loudness. Crude imagery of how he wants to do everything. Big Man With A Gun: Sporadic screaming with intense synth and drum beat. He had a gun and he is going to kill us all😳 Song ends abruptly. A Warm Place: Its awfully quiet, too quiet. No vocals just strings and bass and peaceful ambience. Synth finally coming around 2:20 mark still very soft though with guitar plucking. Song comes to close with tremolo to the strings and spray bottle noises. Eraser: Spray bottle noise continues with humming noises. Drum beat follows. No vocals still at least half way through. Soft vocals saying ever adjective that ends in “you”. Loud vocals now saying every adjective that could end in “me” specifically “Kill me” Abrupt finish but does have an end. Reptile: Factory machine noises as soft plucking is layered over. Loud synth, drums, and tape loops of screeching plays over and over again. He is talking about his girl being similar to a reptile, as she has cold blood and dead eyes. Someone may be getting murdered as this song is among the scariest this album has to offer in terms of sound and theme. The Downward Spiral: Factory noises are distorted this time around and are drowned out be flies and other mysterious noises. Soft guitar plucking makes situation friendlier somehow. “Strawberry Fields Forever” in the background? Out of tune guitar strumming as wind gushes over us. Cat purring? Muffled screaming as a man talks over it about how he has committed a murder by shooting the man in the face. Chilling imagery. Hurt: Immediate contrast to every single song in this album with soft vocals and acoustic guitar with soft static in the background. Gives off chilling and depressing imagery of a man who’s lost everything. Vocals rise and drum beat follows. Back to just acoustic and soft vocals. His vocals are broken and you can here the pain I’m his voice. The emotion is strong with this one it is absolutely heartbreaking. One final distorted electric guitar riff to end his verse with his final line. White noise fills an empty abyss we can’t see the end of. Static closes out the song and puts a finish to the suffering. Final thoughts: This album is a masterpiece of its music trade. Though I may not be a fan of the style Nine Inch Nails is portraying, I can not deny the genius work behind this magnum opus of an album. As the story goes, it follows the story of a lonely man who has nothing in life and slowly goes insane over the period of this album, each song gets more intense than the last, showing the insanity going through his mind. His devious and evil thoughts were portrayed perfectly with the heavy industrial synth and many odd sound effects appearing in each song, and once you eventually reach the quick piano breaks in “March Of The Pigs” the contrast is incredibly stark, showing possibly and sense of relief in the man. On side B we then hear “A Warm Place” which is the perfect contrast the album was waiting as it’s quieter with soft acoustics, strings, bass, and other peaceful ambiance, it makes you think over the last 30 minutes of screaming and cries for help and places you in a sense of warmth and love, which is almost immediately tarnished with the next song “Eraser” yet even that is tamer than the likeness of Side A. Side B provides an incredible conclusion of insanity that this man’s life was leading up too, eventually killing a man and quite possibly ending his own, as the album closes out with the heartbreaking, final goodbye that is “Hurt” which is an immediate contrast to everything, with soft tender vocals, acoustic guitar and a sense of loss and forgiveness for his action. I’ve never heard emotion so strong in song than this, made only better with the hour buildup of insanity, making this album a true masterpiece of the art.

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