MUSIC: Nailism

Nine Inch Nails has a fine -- if knee-jerk nihilistic -- new CD

On The Downward Spiral, the bracing new album by Nine Inch Nails, the mood starts off grim and deteriorates fast. The record opens with a volley of gunshot-like reports that mutate into the techno thrash of Mr. Self Destruct, on which composer-singer Trent Reznor screams, "I am the voice inside your head -- and I control you."

The downbeat slide continues on Piggy, which uses a warped reggae pulse punctuated by slamming drums and Reznor's insinuating vocal to conjure an uneasy atmosphere of malice, and on Heresy, in which Reznor sings, "God is dead and no one cares/ If there is...

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