Nine Inch Nails – ‘Bad Witch’ (Album Review)
As one of the world’s most respected musicians, Trent Reznor rarely needs much in the way of introductions. The Nine Inch Nails mastermind, famed industrial rock and metal producer, and movie soundtrack guru has been plying his trade under the NIN banner for thirty years. Even those unfamiliar with Reznor’s main band have almost certainly heard his work in some form or another.
Naturally, a career spanning multiple decades requires a certain amount of creative risk-taking in order to avoid stagnation, repetition, and boredom. On Bad Witch, Reznor and NIN – which recently welcomed regular Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross into the fold – have stretched themselves into extremely experimental areas.
David Bowie’s influence can be heard as Reznor croons during the likes of advance single God Break Down The Door and closing track Over And Out. It’s an interesting approach that actually comes off pretty well – although Ahead Of Ourselves is just plain bad, a cut that should have been cut out. Even when NIN turn their attention to instrumentals Play The Goddamned Part and I’m Not From This World, Bad Witch retains their signature super-distorted industrial sound; the frequent inclusion of saxophone lines does nothing to detract from it.
I’d actually love to hear more jazz-influenced tracks from Nine Inch Nails – but on this album, the best songs hark back to their earlier, more recognisable efforts. Shit Mirror pounds and speeds with punky energy before breaking down into a drum-and-vocal singalong section, and Over And Out struts with a laid-back, confident, and idiosyncratic swagger, Reznor’s mid-track Bowie impressions hitting the mark perfectly over a head-bobbing bassline.
Despite its experimental approach, perhaps the most controversial thing about Bad Witch is its purported status as a Nine Inch Nails long-player. At six tracks and thirty minutes, you could call this a mini-album at best, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a release fit to stand in the same line as Pretty Hate Machine, The Fragile, With Teeth, and their descendants. Instead, Bad Witch is best seen as a short set of intriguing transitional tracks, a taster for a full-scale release currently in the pipeline.
LTK RATING: 80%
Bad Witch is out now.
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