Nine Inch Nails - Add Violence (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Nine Inch Nails

Add Violence (2017)

The Null Corporation

Nine Inch Nails will always be an emotionally testing act. With Atticus Ross on board, it's intriguing to see how Trent Reznor will be shifting or marrying his industrial sound in the years to come. Here, he does the latter with a moody atmospheric backdrop that works so well and signals why the duo garner so many plaudits on film. And that's what the Add Violence EP brings -- less of the old and more of the late cerebral nature of the band. Think of David Lynch's Twin Peaks and then add in a David Fincher visual setting and that's what you get on this album.

It follows the pattern of NIN's last EP Not The Actual Events and also bears the signature of 2013's Hesitation Mark as well. It's not as political or emotive as say, Pretty Hate Machine, or Reznor's 90's records but there's still a lot being said amid a minimal soundscape. From the synth-driven "Less Than" to the eerie slow-burn that's spoken on "The Lovers" you can connect with Reznor's angst, as a family man, citizen and an artist worried about the frustrating world. The buzzy, distorted last couple tracks do well to bookend and emphasize this. 

The first three feel like Reznor's whispering, frantically at that, but these two -- "Not Anymore" and "The Background World" -- is him coming up with a deep breath and screaming atop his lungs. The latter ironically feels like the climaxes in The Social Network's soundtrack where pulses are raising as well as hairs on end. If anything Add Violence doesn't encourage it physically, but it does mentally. Gone are the days of thick, noisy NIN jams. We're neck deep in the era of Reznor's reverb for Oscars and a cynical voice that wants to hiss, not shout like the days of old.