Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero

Written by: ASH on 08/05/2007 09:18:20

In a world torn apart by ecological and economical disasters, how will the human race survive their own wrongdoings? Work with or against each other, fight alongside or be the last man standing? With NIN's much anticipated release "Year Zero", frontman Trent Reznor realizes his thoughts on a future post-apocalyptic society and the emotional demons man has to deal with, be it through our born survivalism or through giving into chaos. Everything's in place, and the masterpiece unfolds only to be weighed and valued by both new listeners and senior fans. Undoubtedly, "Year Zero" is a massive leap from past Nine Inch Nails releases before "With Teeth", both in style and sound, but it is nonetheless a more than worthy album that will please a large majority of the Reznor's fan base.

First of all, a big pad on the back to those who found one (or more) of those small USB pen drives hidden in restrooms at various NIN shows. Without you, their awesome marketing campaign would possibly have been more a draft than this cryptic and mysterious 'quest' that they luckily succeeded in completing. To those of you who don't know jack about what I'm rambling about, try and search around for Nine Inch Nails on sites like Wikipedia and discover how they pulled it all off. Some would say a stupid underground stunt, but to quote Reznor himself:

"The USB drive was simply a mechanism of leaking the music and data we wanted out there. The medium of the CD is outdated and irrelevant. It's really painfully obvious what people want — DRM-free music they can do what they want with. If the greedy record industry would embrace that concept I truly think people would pay for music and consume more of it."

Technically, "Year Zero" itself is a journey through this post-apocalyptic era, described through a whooping sum of sixteen tracks [!], whereof each of the tracks have their own story to tell. While "HYPERPOWER!" opens the album instrumentally with something sounding like a riot forming, shouting a battle cry of some sort, it makes you feel the uproar of the oppressed, other tracks like the well-known "Survivalism" portray the mass media's brainwashing of society and the political lies told to the masses in order to herd them towards some corrupted orientation. And so on and so on until the ending track "Zero-Sum", more or less. The special thing about this release is undoubtedly the masterful display of intense and powerful choruses in the more energetic tracks e.g. "Survivalism", "The Great Destroyer" and "My Violent Heart" to catchy, down-tempo tracks like "Me, I'm Not", "Capital G" and "The Beginning of the End", which focus more on bringing the lyrics into the light. It's something that you just got to experience yourself. It's a NIN thing.

In all its aspects, "Year Zero" is another great example of mixing both up in your face energy with just the right display of emotions that anyone can relate to. And at the same time, there's also room for quiet and moving tracks that appeal to deep inward thinking types and self-realization. The only tiny drawback to me is simply the idea of stuffing in sixteen tracks, which seems like overkilling the listener's interest in listening to the more unknown tracks instead of preferring the hits. Nevertheless, "Year Zero" is a jewel in a fan's collection.


Download: "Survivalism", "Capital G", "Me, I'm Not"
For the fans of: Tool, Marilyn Manson, Radiohead, Ministry
Listen: Official MySpace

Release Date 17.04.2007
Roadrunner Records

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