Unlike some bands who are constantly trying to repeat past successes by repeating the same formula over and over again - like Linkin Park prior to Minutes to Midnight - NIN always progresses. One album sounds clearly distinct from the next, though they all manage to sound like NIN. The angst-ridden synthpop of 1989's Pretty Hate Machine, the explosion of self-hate that is the 1992 Broken EP, the funky, complex audio journey of The Downward Spiral, the sprawling organic two-CD The Fragile, the tale of drug recovery that is With Teeth, the apocalyptic political concept album Year Zero, and the varied instrumentals of Ghosts I-IV all bring something unique to the table. Some albums are more listenable than others, but experimentation always brings its share of risk. I respect artists that are willing to take that risk instead of sticking to formula.
For those living under a rock, NIN recently released a free 10-track album called The Slip. As most NIN albums do, it has its share of hard rockers and melancholy ballads. You can download for free it in multiple formats at their web site.
Here's Trent and crew rehearsing the songs "1,000,000" and "Letting You" for their tour, both of which are from The Slip. As usual, Reznor surrounds himself with some of the best musicians in the industry. All of these guys are badasses in their own right and he has them on his payroll. The band includes:
- Guitarist Robin Finck (Cirque du Soleil, Guns and Roses, and long-time NIN associate)
- Drummer Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle, Guns and Roses, Black Light Burns)
- Bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, Garbage, Tori Amos, Black Eyed Peas)
- Keyboardist Alessandro Cortini (Modwheelmood)