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Nine Inch Nails Year Zero Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

...At once fresh, frightening and fulfilling.

Tim Cunningham 2007

On Year Zero, Trent Reznor’s apocalyptic dream world becomes a cacophonous blazing reality. Like the repressed peoples forced into a life of fear in his envisioned near-future autocratic state, we are made subordinate to its insistent beats and arresting rhythms - the music is the master and we must take heed.

Reznor’s music defies simple categorization and this impressive offering doesn’t so much cross borders as to go on clandestine raids through the realms of electronica, industrial edged rock and even hip hop. Diverse sounds are layered into a musical collage that continues to evolve with listening time and creates an aural depiction of a planet ravaged by war, ecological destruction and social disintegration.

The fact that this is set in the future might seem incongruous, for some as these themes are alarmingly close to home and, many would argue, arrived long ago. It's amid this chaos of buzz bombs and heavy artillery that Reznor displays his rare ability to create melodic gems that take root in the subconscious and shine some light in the void. '‘Zero Sum'’ is a fine example and provides an introspective bookend to the opening battle marches of ‘'Hyperpower'’ and ‘'Survivalism’'. Impeccably produced and forming part of a wider campaign that has utilized the leaking of album tracks to the public and hidden codes and messages to be found by fans, Year Zero, is at once fresh, frightening and fulfilling.

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