JAM Magazine CD Review

September , 2013
Review by William Meckfessel

Nine Inch Nails

"Hesitation Marks"

Columbia Records

Yep, sounds like Nine Inch Nails, all right. The album, Hesitation Marks, the first record out in five years, ever since Trent Reznor put the artistic nickname on hold, opens with a fifty-three second noise song called "The Eater of Dreams," featuring hypnotic rhythms, backed by a feed-backing guitar's volume growing behind it, very cool.

It then launches into the core of the album, made up of the classic Nine Inch Nails songwriting formula, heavy electronic rhythm sections, with thrashing guitar lines, pounding drum tracks, and lyrics that at times makes it feel like he's singing right over your shoulder. But this started to feel repetitious as track after track fell in line with this method, this is not necessarily bad, though, as there were several well tailored songs that went with this musical concoction like "Come Back Haunted," a creepy dance-like track, and my personal favorite of the record, "Various Methods of Escape."

There were exceptions to this procedure, some being, "All Time Low," featuring a clever and catchy guitar hook, "Everything," a fast paced punk track, but this change in sound causes the it to stick out and sound a little misplaced on the album, and the choppy saxophone solo at the end of "While I'm Still Here." Yet, even in its best and most creative moments, Hesitation Marks seems to be lacking the edginess that NIN has displayed in the past.

If you were secretly hoping for the next Downward Spiral, frankly, this isn't it. Overall it's a fine album, but it simply sounds like it relies too much on old NIN material, without achieving the same merits. This makes the album as a whole sound a little generic and safe, but perhaps I'm expecting too much. In short, I doubt Hesitation Marks will cost Reznor any fans, but don't think it will earn him very many either.