Nine Inch Nails

In the studio, Trent Reznor is obsessed with minutiae, compulsively fashioning and refashioning epic works of longing and despair with a surgeon's precision. Live, he trades the scalpel for the machete, taking all the self-directed rage that drives his work, broadening its target, and coming out swinging. The audience becomes a bull's-eye, and Reznor hurls himself, his bandmates, countless smashed keyboards, and the very support beams that prop up his songs at this mark.

A A

Such bedlam is palpable from the first note of And All That Could Have Been, where opening cut "Terrible Lie" is transformed from a spiteful dance-floor work-up into a lead-dense stomper with blood dripping from its teeth. Two tracks later, the once-pensive "Piggy" is subjected to the same (mis)treatment, with larynx-mincing screams and wailing, mournful guitars layered on top, making it exponentially more disquieting. And it's not just the tranquil cuts in the NIN catalog that suddenly grow fangs live; even the band's most combustible material somehow becomes more heated in the concert hall. The fevered "March of the Pigs" further devolves into a din of epithets and white noise; "Gave Up" is rendered a breathless, four-minute heart palpitation; and "Head Like a Hole" gets its bloody knuckles outfitted in brass.

All this sonic chaos is matched visually on the DVD that accompanies the collection. Using a series of handheld digital video cameras rather than a professional film crew, Nine Inch Nails captures all the pandemonium of its performances in every jittery shot, every jagged camera angle. It all amounts to a package that truly adds something to one's understanding of this band -- which is rare for a live recording these days, making this set a cut above the competition. Literally.

Upcoming Events


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >