Album Review
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero Album Cover

Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero

Reviewed by
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
Release Date: April 17, 2007
Record Label: Interscope/Nothing

According to Trent Reznor, the earth is indeed a cold dead place. At least, that’s his vision on his latest studio album, the highly conceptual Year Zero. After 2005’s largely mediocre and, at times, boring release, With Teeth, Reznor decidedly amped up Zero’s creativity, telling of a world 15 years from now under fanatical religious and governmental control. To fully bring this conception to life, Reznor and company took the viral marketing route, creating multiple websites to bring Year Zero to life (for complete knowledge on this, click here). Thankfully, you don’t have to be obsessing over each website and clue to enjoy this album.

Vocally, Reznor is still as sharp and authoritative as ever. His whisper-to-scream vocals are the apex of many tracks and powerfully drive home the point he is making. Lyrically, Reznor touches on many topics, such as a soldier trying to convince himself that his actions are just, apathy on the war, government propaganda, totalitarianism, and religious struggles. Musically, he takes what he built on previous records and adds more meat to them. The drums hit harder and last longer, as shown on the anthemic instrumental opener, “Hyperpower!” Reznor’s use of each musical machine is more chaotic than the last few efforts, each auditory assault is carefully constructed, as the softer parts on a track hit just as hard as the loudest parts on the album (and in some cases, even harder), as the haunting piano interlude of “Another Version Of The Truth” proves.

“Survivalism” hits you like a ton of bricks with its riotous noise, while “Vessel” displays a fine balance of loud fuzz and throbbing notes as Reznor’s voice hits like a falling bomb. “Me, I’m Not” is a looping track that ticks and lingers in your cerebellum for hours. “Capital G” features chunky industrial drumming and a swooping electronica vibe throughout. “Meet Your Master” is a thick track laced with needling computer noises, while “The Great Destroyer” welcomes you with menacing guitar riff and Reznor’s quiet yet intense vocals reminding you that he is “the great destroyer” as the end of the track goes into a schizophrenic nervous breakdown of noises and instruments. “Zero-Sum” beautifully closes out the album with the intricate piano keys playing behind a fuzzed out noise and Reznor’s terrifying whisper. It’s a moody doomsday song in the form of a ballad, where Reznor hopes that God will have mercy on us all, yet Reznor is not afraid of the end, rather it seems like an embrace.

Year Zero marks a return back to form for Trent Reznor. While With Teeth wallowed in repetition and Reznor trying to regain the adoration of the MTV generation, Year Zero doesn’t give a damn on what outsiders think. Back is the brutality and despair that Nine Inch Nails’ fans have come to love, as Year Zero is the best work Reznor has done in nearly 10 years. Reznor’s recurring themes of torment, rage, addiction, and authority are very much still alive in each song, but the construction and use of each theme is different this time around: it’s not his downward spiral, rather it’s the World’s downward spiral.

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Hyperpower!
2. The Beginning Of The End
3. Survivalism
4. The Good Soldier
5. Vessel
6. Me, I’m Not
7. Capital G
8. My Violent Heart
9. The Warning
10. God Given
11. Meet Your Master
12. The Greater Good
13. The Great Destroyer
14. Another Version Of The Truth
15. In This Twilight
16. Zero-Sum
Produced by: Trent Reznor with Atticus Ross

Official Website; Official Myspace

Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 17
11:57 AM on 04/21/07
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matt_rawlings's Avatar
Nice Explosions in the Sky reference
12:22 PM on 04/21/07
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No Avatar Selected
Nice review Drew. I'm surprisingly enjoying this album quite a bit.
12:25 PM on 04/21/07
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ThisIsNotDan's Avatar
awesome review, drew. easily his best since the downward spiral
12:49 PM on 04/21/07
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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Blake Solomon's Avatar
really good review. I've never listened to Nine Inch Nails, but after reading that info about this album, I have to hear it. I am a sucker for concept albums, what can I say.
02:34 PM on 04/21/07
Joe DeAndrea
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Joe DeAndrea's Avatar
Good review. I liked this album.
07:07 PM on 04/22/07
Take Apart Your Head
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Shatter_Glass's Avatar
Great album and review, although you were a tad bit harsh on [With_Teeth]. Go pick this album up if you are a fan over rock and elctronica.
10:16 PM on 04/22/07
Don't Mind If I Didn't
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Roboman's Avatar
Great album and review, although you were a tad bit harsh on [With_Teeth]. Go pick this album up if you are a fan over rock and elctronica.

Agreed. I love nearly every second of With Teeth and don't really see why you call it repetitive or mediocre. Anyways, I've only really listened to the first half of the record, but I already think it kills.
07:14 AM on 04/23/07
Tom Good
Album Reviewer
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Tom Good's Avatar
Great review Drew, I agree with everything you wrote. I'm a huge fan of the temperature sensitive disc too, that blew my mind.
07:30 AM on 04/23/07
brown and pink
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michaelwinters's Avatar
what is my membrane and how can a song be stuck in it?
09:32 AM on 04/23/07
Vanilla Bear
celebrate the irony
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Vanilla Bear's Avatar
"as a solider trying to convince himself that his actions are just"

I think you mean 'soldier,' sorry that's the journalism side in me
11:31 AM on 04/23/07
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
Good review, Nine Inch Nails are great... must get this album xD
12:06 PM on 04/23/07
they knew exactly what happened.
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notoaststereo's Avatar
im so glad someone finally reviewed this. i absolutely love this album... he did a great job of conveying the story through the songs. and Zero-Sum is one of my favorite tracks of the year.
02:17 PM on 05/12/07
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
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Alexxx's Avatar
Amazing album.
Trent put his all into this one.
05:18 PM on 10/14/07
Registered User
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Punkrockcowboy's Avatar
Great review. I have to say that this along with Secret Weapon by MxPx is the best release of 2007 so far.

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