Japanese pressing of the 2007 album from Trent Reznor and friends. This is Part One of a two-part concept album set some 15 years in the future and is a vision of that future, a cautionary tale of a world we could be living in if current world events stay on the path we are set on. 16 tracks including the first single 'Survivalism'. Universal.
Nine Inch Nails' sixth studio release, Year Zero takes the concept album further than it may have ever gone before. In advance of its release, URLs were hidden in tour t-shirts, music- and image-filled USB drives were 'found' at concerts, and dozens of websites have been packed with conspiracy stories that all involve the year 2022 or 'Year Zero.' Each clue is part of a cohesive whole, requiring a listener to follow an exhaustive web trail to grasp the entire tale. Focusing specifically on the music, "The Beginning of the End," the powerful first vocal track, is like the sonic and lyrical equivalent of an emotional ascension to a rollercoaster's peak, with the last few cacophonic seconds equaling the fall of individual freedoms. "Survivalism," Year Zero's first single, follows with guest vocalist/Slam artist Saul Williams pumping up the passion in its urgent chorus. While still industrial in genre, it's clear that Trent Reznor's musical evolution finds him bringing more mellow songs to the mix than he has on previous discs ("The Good Soldier," "The Greater Good," "In This Twilight") as well as an increased number of funk-affected rhythms, specifically in standout tracks "Capitol G" and "Me, I'm Not." Devotees of NIN's harder sound will appreciate the metallic crunch of "My Violent Heart" and "Meet Your Master." On the whole, the Nine Inch Nails we hear on Year Zero is less focused on producing heavy music and more focused on delivering its heavy, conspiratorial doomsday message. --Denise Sheppard
If You Enjoy "Year Zero (CD)", May We Also Recommend: