Nine Inch Nails

Year Zero

Leaking MP3s via USB drives left on bathroom floors, operatives from the NIN camp dreamed up a tangled series of Web sites full of conspiracy theories and freakish multimedia to introduce fans to Trent Reznor’s vision of the year 2022: a cultural and political wasteland full of religious atrocities, mind-controlling drugs, catastrophic wars, and government corruption. Such is the tone of Nine Inch Nails’ latest, Year Zero. A departure from 2005’s With Teeth, Reznor now wants action. Instead of turning his anger inward, he channels his ire and scorn at outsiders — namely the government and its clueless leaders (gee, wonder who the song “Capital G” is about?) and other zealots. The outstanding instrumentals mirror this urgency. Plenty of raw, brazen metallic aggression matches crystalline programming note for note; the brief opener “Hyperpower” barks and snarls like a smoky heavy-metal monster, while the brittle piano instrumental “Another Version of the Truth” builds like the best Mogwai dull roar.

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