Nine Inch Nails : Live: And All That Could Have Been
Writer finds 'sexy' way in to NIN review ...
Look out, kids. Trent Reznor‘s back in town, and he
wants to fuck you like an animal. Or so he claims on
the vintage speedpunk electroid snarl-up of ‘Closer’,
a stand-out track on this, the first ever Nine Inch
Nails live album, recorded on NIN‘s Fragility tour two
years ago. But in general, judging by the cacaphonous
sado-goth trouser-bulgers which bulk out this 16-track
marathon, the Viagra seems to be wearing off.
Blam, straight in, no foreplay – Trent just hammers
away through the cybermetal grind of ‘Terrible Lie’ to
the buzzsaw schadenfreude of ‘Wretched’ and the
punkabilly grunterama of ‘Wish’. It’s efficent,
occasionally stirring stuff, but gratingly
single-minded. Reznor‘s self-serious rumblings make
such an easy target, although in fairness he is no
more po-faced than Thom Yorke, no more of a negative
creep than Kurt Cobain, no more of an emotional fraud
than Richard Ashcroft. But crucially, he lacks the
gift for infectious melody, sly humour or populist
charisma that all of the above can muster when the job
From the Euro-synth gloomwash of ‘The Great Below’ to
the slamdanciug self-abasement racket ‘Suck’, Rezza‘s
musical rainbow stetches from off-black murk to
none-more-black black holes of very black blackness.
And thus all this collection essentially proves is
that Trent‘s been writing the same tune, venting the
same cathartic despair, and worrying the same bone for
10 years now. He may vary the tempo a little, but it’s
still always the missionary position.