Tuesday 10 July 2018

EP Review: NINE INCH NAILS - Bad Witch

Nine Inch Nails - Bad Witch

01. Shit Mirror
02. Ahead of Ourselves
03. Play the Goddamned Part
04. God Break Down the Door
05. I'm Not from This World
06. Over and Out 

Bad Witch is the third part in a trilogy of EP's (read my review of the second part, Add Violence, here) from Trent Reznor and current bandmate Atticus Ross. It is being marketed as the ninth studio album, but Trent has explained that it's still an EP. Carrying the 'album' tag just makes it easier to sell. Anyway, it only has six songs. 

Opening with the wonderfully titled Shit Mirror, Trent takes us down the path of Rock n' Roll but with mountains of distortion and the obligatory angst. It harks back to the Downward Spiral era, and is a pretty strong track, all in all.

Ahead of Ourselves is a dark, trippy, distorted journey into Hell. Play the Goddamned Part is an instrumental that slows things down before God Break Down the Door hits the listener with a dance beat under some dark Goth. It's the closest thing to a single on this EP, but don't expect to hear it on mainstream radio anytime soon.

I'm Not from This World is an eerie piece of instrumental Horror-infused soundscape music which leads into Over and Out, which is also more of a soundscape work, but with some upbeat sections blended into the dim shadows of despair. There is some vocal on this track, but it's quite minimalist.

Bad Witch is a very 'arty' EP, but it's also far more listenable than I thought it would be. I've always preferred Nine Inch Nails' early material which was dark and nihilistic, but always had enough structure and hooks to make the records really enjoyable. I didn't like The Fragile much when it came out and have never really enjoyed the 'soundscape' side of their repertoire. 

Since then, I've found every Nine Inch Nails release to be quite hit and miss, bouncing between moments of absolute brilliance, dull arty soundscape, and the occasional distorted mess. When Trent gets it right, he's amazing and this EP, like his other releases, has a few outstanding moments but there are too many that make me reach for the skip button. Hardcore fans will probably love this, but if you're hoping for something in the league of Pretty Hate Machine or The Downward Spiral, you may be disappointed.


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