Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth review


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Band: Nine Inch Nails
Album: With Teeth
Release date: April 2005

01. All The Love In The World
02. You Know What You Are?
03. The Collector
04. The Hand That Feeds
05. Love Is Not Enough
06. Every Day Is Exactly The Same
07. With Teeth
08. Only
09. Getting Smaller
10. Sunspots
11. The Line Begins To Blur
12. Beside You In Time
13. Right Where It Belongs
14. Home [UK bonus]
15. Right Where It Belongs V.2 [UK bonus]

A bite as strong as its bark.

Following on from the artistic overdrive that had (alongside narcotic abuse) consumed Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor during the creation of the band's last outing, the impressive and large scaled The Fragile, fans of the band would see two prominent events that would shape the band's next release; Reznor had gotten clean and the presidency of George W Bush was in full swing. With Teeth would be released six years after the preceding album and see Reznor adapt and modify his prior approaches to produce what is one of the most captivating listens in the band's career.

One of the most direct albums made by the hands of Reznor, while each song still involves the intricate and artistic twists and turns that are the norm for an album crafted by him, With Teeth sees a more minimalistic (by Nine Inch Nails standards anyway) approach taken for much of the album. While tracks like "The Collector" or "With Teeth" would not have felt out of place on the likes of The Fragile, the amount of more stripped-back tracks was more than was usual for the band. This in turn adds to the uniqueness and character of the album in the band's overall discography, allowing the album to serve as an easier entry point for new fans of the band.

Speaking of entry points, I imagine many newer fans were drawn in by the album's big hit "The Hand That Feeds"; an omnipresent hit around 2005 and deservedly so, the lo-fi but rhythmic drive of the song is as infectious as it is catchy, before it launches into an effect-laden crash towards the song's end. It serves as the perfect mid-point between what Nine Inch Nails were, and what they were to become.

The album includes other songs in a similar vein, such as "Getting Smaller" and "You Know What You Are?", which give an injection of energy and diversity on an album otherwise comprised of largely lo-fi tracks that paint a picture of bleakness rather than stabbing right at the heart of darkness. This contrast helps expand and detail the over-arching emotional resonance that pervades the album as a whole. The other side of this album are tracks that are slower and lure the listener in with more hypnotic soundscapes before drowning their senses in electronic tones. Songs like "Every Day Is Exactly The Same" and "The Line Begins To Blur" may not be as immediate as the aforementioned tracks, but they are just as engrossing and captivating as they play out.

This stripped-back approach does contrast greatly against much of the band's catalogue and sometimes goes too far down the minimalistic route, to the point it sheds many elements that coalesce to make a Nine Inch Nails track the experience it normally is. This results in probably the only track I find completely surplus and one that starts the album off on a terrible wrong foot, that being the opener "All The Love In The World". While I can see what the band hoped to achieve with the track, it doesn't hit in the way it appears it was intended to.

The album does stray close to being formulaic at times, with some of the slower tracks in particular following a structure that does repeat itself too often for comfort. Tracks like "Love Is Not Enough" and "Every Day Is Exactly The Same" (ironic) both start understated before crescendo-ing towards the end. While these song structures are very common in the rock/metal genre, With Teeth is more open to these issues given its lo-fi nature has less to distract listeners' attention away from the comparison.

While the album is a strong inclusion in the band's discography and a good entry point for those who aren't used to music so drenched in nihilism and emotional cynicism, With Teeth is unlikely to be anyone's favourite Nine Inch Nails album. This, however, is a hell of a boon for the band, giving their back catalogue plenty of strength in depth when an album of this quality is not their best work. Essential listening for anyone who wants to get into the band or expand beyond The Downward Spiral.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 14.11.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 8 users
14.11.2020 - 20:21
Archie 666
Stripped-back but not without twists and turns and melodic(shower friendly). I do actually like "Love Is Not Enough" and "Every Day Is Exactly The Same" a lot and believe it or not it is one of my favourite NN albums. Stay heavy.

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