Friday, August 27, 2010

FDF Volume 2: Issue 197 Nine Inch Nails - Broken EP

By: March

Album - The Broken EP
Artist - Nine Inch Nails
Key Players - Trent Reznor - guitars, keyboards, programming
Produced By - Trent Reznor, Flood

Release Date
- September 22, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I have been meaning to do a Nine Inch Nails pick for some time. Often times its picking the "right" record to look at. "Pretty Hate Machine" as well as "The Downward Spiral" are held in pretty high regard with the bands fan base so I decided to stay "early" with them.

Overview - Reznor was asked by his label to make another record quickly in the same vein as the debut "Pretty Hate Machine". Reznor was upset the label only wanted him to go in one direction asked to be let go from his label. While in arguments with the label he'd record this ep. The label was hesitant at first, but decided to release the record. Originally released as a fold out digi-pack there was a full sized cd with 6 tracks a well as a 3 inch mini cd that would contain two additional tracks.. There were issues with this, so the ep was reissued as one single cd with 99 tracks. Tracks 7-97 were silence. This didn't stop fans from buying it and it would chart has high as #7 on the Billboard charts. It would spawn two singles. The first being "Happiness in Slavery" but the video for the song was banned by MTV. "Wish" would be the second single and it would catapult Reznor even further in to stardom. The song would end up winning a grammy award for "Best Metal Performance"

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The first track on the album is the very short (1:02) "Pinion". It takes close to 30 second before it even really becomes audible. From what you can make out it just some guitar chords that are slowly chugged out that are then sliced a little before "Wish" begins. Reznor uses drummer Martin Atkins on the track and as soon as the swooping keyboard starts it begins it torrid pace. The drums click off the noise and each of the verses are sung with little musical accompaniment. Between each there is just a pummeling wall of sound. By the time of the chorus it has more of a full band sound, with the guitars really crunching down. Reznor screams "I hate everyone" and you really believe him. This is some fast, angry stuff, but it is what the direction of "Industrial" music takes. Stinging highs, and rock bottom lows the band will lull you for a moment before driving the spike of the guitars once more. The tail end of the song is total chaos but it all ends like you slam in to a wall. "Last" has a similar "big" sound. The guitars are massive on this song, but the tempo is less chaotic. Reznor is still yelling at you, and the down beat will make your head hurt from bobbing along with it. After the verse the guitars are more a focus, with some quick solos rather than the big power chords. The drums feel more "canned" this time, probably due to them being programmed, but the tempo is still frantic. "Help Me I Am in Hell" feels totally opposite than the last two songs. A lone guitar strums calmly before some faint percussion is brought up in the background. It is more of an "interlude" song having no noticeable verse/chorus/verse format. The guitar just continues to increase in intensity before the track fades. The second single from the ep "Happiness in Slavery" follows. "Slave Screams!" is barked from the start and the track plugs along. The keyboards find a little more of that 80's synth pop at times, but don't let that fool you. The vocals are distorted and the guitars and drums are high in the mix giving you a wall of sound to wade through. The vocals are even more distorted around the 3 minute mark before the bass seems to get a work out. Heavily distorted and punched it clears the way for the guitars to riff over the top. Reznor screams Slavery as the song begins to fade out giving it a tense final few bars. On "Gave Up" a live drummer is used again. This time it is Chris Vrenna. The drums have a similar feel to the opening of "Wish" and once again the vocals are heavily altered. This time it almost is like Reznor is singing through bubbles. After a verse the guitars and pounding rhythm jump in. The live drums, although somewhat basic sounding, are a strong touch. It adds just that *much*. The verse is done again in that bubble sound before it crunches down. At this point you either need to put in the 3 inch cd, or skip up to track 98 to hear the Adam Ant cover "Physical". It is slow to build with the guitars ringing feedback before it begins to form. The guitar is real heavy and the cover is pretty true to the original which is a nice touch. The ep concludes with a cover of the Pigface song "Suck". The track feels right at home with the industrial feel of the rest of the ep. It has the screaming guitars and hard percussion so even if you didn't know it was a cover song it wouldn't matter all that much to your ears. It fits just fine.

Where are they now?
- Reznor is/was Nine Inch Nails. Often referred to more as a "project" than a band this allowed for Reznor to bring in whom he felt would best work on songs or albums. As far as the "project" Reznor did say in February 2009 that he'd take a break from touring and wouldn't be forthcoming with the status of the band. Reznor, who is very active with the official web site began to post pictures of instruments and teasers. In June of 2010, a project he worked on with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig called "How to Destroy Angels" was released for free to the internet as a self titled 6 song ep.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - The very first time was at the first Lollapalooza on August 8, 1991. The band played a daytime set and just went insane. The entire thing was just chaos...but organized chaos. During the set the band would take those "keg cups" (20oz plastic beer cups) and they'd be a little less than 1/2 full of water..and they were just launching them in to the audience. They were going what appeared like 30+ rows..and it just kept going. They'd take gallons of water and pour them over their gear. The set ended with Reznor taking his keyboard and standing it up on one end between his legs and just running his foot down the keys tearing them off. The next time was May 11, 1994 at the Cyclorama in Boston. This was a different show just for where it was. A large room that wasn't really a music venue. Still the band was up to their antics with punches being thrown at one another, hair pulling etc. Reznor took his heavy microphone stand at one point and raised it high above his head, then let it fall right in to the drum set. Marilyn Manson opened the show and I recall it being particularly awful. So bad we actually took to boo'ing the band. Manson as well as the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow opened for Nine Inch Nails the final time I saw them on December 3, 1994 at the Boston Garden. Bands were running through the Boston Garden one last time before it was torn down. This show was rough. There were seats on the floor and Reznor got all upset there was no room for the fans to "mosh" so next thing you knew, the folding chairs were getting torn up and moved out. I was in the lower bowl further back in the arena and just had a "bad feeling" about it. This was when moshing was at an all time high for the shows I went to and it was also beyond played out (even then people!). More than anything I was pissed at how crappy the venue sounded for a show, it always had, but throw this whole chair issue and I left with a bad taste in my mouth.

FDF Overall Take - Although not a huge difference between the debut and the follow up Nine Inch Nails brought, and kept this mash up of industrial, dance and metal to the masses. They made it cool to like hard rock. The ep really only scratches the surface but you can't go wrong with it. The later records Reznor started to work on doing more instrumental pieces and what have you. If you are after sheer a great driving record....grab it.

The official page and then myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Here is a live clip for Wish
The band doing a very muddy and chaotic version of Happiness in Slavery from Woodstock 94.
A short, grainy video of Adam with Nine Inch Nails doing Physical
This clip is Adam Ant doing "Physical" if you care to hear the original.

You can still by "Broken" very easily. Here is a link to buy it.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

loved nin broken and felt like there was such a maturity to this record. he still has his indignation that drove "pretty hate machine" but has elevated that to viciousness and the music supports him. emotive and powerful. excellent record. i like your line "it fits just fine."

saw him and hank garfield's band at lolla too. later saw him when he was on the "downward spiral" tour. he leaves everything on the stage and pulls the audience into his nightmare. lovely.


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