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September 6, 2013 • 04:52:29 p.m.

Music Review: Nine Inch Nails, "Hesitation Marks"

By ROB CARROLL | rcarroll@shawmedia.com

Welcome back, Mr. Reznor.

Recent Nine Inch Nails albums have been the victims of boundaries pushed too far. Trent Reznor's experimentation bordered on the verge of being excessive. The 36 tracks of instrumental music that comprised "Ghosts I-IV" weren't exactly something that would appeal to a broad fanbase.

But now we're given "Hesitation Marks," which might be Nine Inch Nails' most accessible album to date.

Reznor and his ever-changing roster of bandmates incorporate several styles into their industrial rock to make the genre not sound as outdated as it has at times for the band.

"Satellite" might be one of the most danceable tracks ever included on a Nine Inch Nails album. It's void of the trademark Nine Inch Nails fuzzy guitar sound. Instead, the band relies on a bouncy dance beat to carry the song.

"Everything" owes as much to '80s rock and New York punk as it does to industrial rock. While the song isn't as complicated as others on "Hesitation Marks," it's great to see new influences welcomed into the process.

Other songs rely more on several well-produced layers of sounds. It takes a few listens to dissect all of the parts of "Copy Of A." The song is one of Reznor's finest works in the studio. It shows he knows when to avoid an over-produced track that doesn't make sense.

Reznor succeeds at doing that so much more on "Hesitation Marks" than Nine Inch Nails' most recent releases.

This album does come with a few missteps. "While I'm Still Here" is a series of blips, bloops and drum beats that ends with a saxophone. Listening to it seems like more of a chore than other songs we're given here.

But, for the most, "Hesitation Marks" is Reznor at his best. This is the Nine Inch Nails album that probably should have come out years ago.

Rating: Three and a half stars

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