The mighty Nine Inch Nails return with Bad Witch, their ninth record and the follow-up to 2013’s Hesitation Marks. At just six tracks long; this is one of the shortest albums in recent years, and it goes against the grain of many other artists who choose to release double or extended records that tend to be all filler and no killer.
Naming a track something like Shit Mirror is a guarantee for it not being first choice for a family BBQ. But if you’re feeling angry at the world and need something so distorted in rage, then this should be your new go to. Frontman Trent Reznor’s words are almost utterly lost in the wall of noise, making it a highly stand-offish track that after more than a few listens just feels like the wrong kind of rage to have bubbling up inside.
Ahead Of Ourselves and Play The Goddamned Part follow in similar fashion, leading me to the conclusion that this simply is not the band for me. There’s plenty of people who they are for though, and this short sharp collection of tracks are no doubt right up their street. But the almost faceless blend of bizarre background noises can’t even be translated into something that resembles a song by my brain.
From all of the songs prior, it makes sense for Reznor and Co to have a track titled I’m Not From This World, because this album was certainly flung up from some bizarre industrial planet far far away. The mechanical rumblings and steam punk-esque clattering are at best ambient noise veering close to becoming aggressive.
As an album, there’s no clear target for these songs – unless you’re into what I can only describe as broken down trains or soon to be broken down trains. There’s no words, there’s no melody and there’s certainly no hits amongst these six songs. I am happy to hold my hands up and accept that my not getting this album won’t cause me any sleepless nights, but what will is the genuine question of: who actually enjoys this and how?