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Nine Inch Nails – [Album]

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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

It has almost become de rigeur for Trent Reznor to release the content from his newest album of the moment to a bunch of DJs and producers, letting them have their way with it and then putting out the results—he's been doing it since Downward Spiral. There's no doubt that the results have been mixed too (Fixed was remarkably weak while Further Down the Spiral wasn't too bad, the Every Day is Exactly the Same EP was boring and so on) as the producers-of-the-moment haven't always meshed with Reznor's style but, for NIN's reportedly final release for Interscope, the pieces have aligned and Year Zero Remixed (aka, Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D) is the best, most consistently even Nine Inch Nails effort in that vein to date.

In a lot of ways, YZR does feel like a throwback to the early days of Nine Inch Nails; the additional electronics added to the songs often function like transient percussive hooks passing through the tracks not unlike the way they used to in the Pretty Hate Machine days and, particularly, the re-envisioned versions of "Meet Your Master," "Vessel," "The Beginning of the End," "Another Version of the Truth (with Kronos Quartet)" and "Survivalism" would sit perfectly next to "Terrible Lie" and "Down In It" on an NIN mix tape—the approaches are just that similar. Elsewhere, Modwheelmood pares "The Great Destroyer" back to the starkest essentials (it really starts to resemble "Hurt") to a tremendously cathartic effect and while the treatment of "Capital G" here robs the song of most of its potency in its cut-and-paste methodology, it'd be difficult to say that one track spoils the album here. Rather, because the remixes for Year Zero recall the beginnings of Nine Inch Nails' recorded output, it feels like Reznor has come full-circle before leaving the label he's called home for so long.

…And if you don't like the remixes that Reznor approved, the singer has included all of the multi-track material on a second DVD ROM disc with Year Zero Remixed so you can create your own versions of the songs on the software platform of your choice.

Year Zero Remixed is out now on Interscope.

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