Sound — 10
As a pioneer of the industrial/darkwave genre, Trent Reznor's first of his many masterpieces begins here. It is the most dominating sound throughout the entire album of electronic synth mixed with angry and skillful originality that encapsulates a listener dragging them into a new world of emotion. It begins with probably Nine Inch Nails' most recognised song, "Head Like A Hole." Driven by a beautifully catchy riff, it cascades into the electronic vivacity of "Terrible Lie." The innovative style of Trent's sound in "Terrible Lie" and throughout the entire album is enough to engage any listener of any style into the realms of industrial rock. The album continues by flowing into Trent's first-ever produced song "Down In It." Immersed in rap-style vocals it still follows the dominating sound of the album. The quietly almost silenced tone of "Something I Can Never Have" fixates on the personal side of the album and slowly moves into an entirely different direction with songs such as "Sin," "The Only Time" and "Ringfinger."
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics of this album are probably by far the most eloquent. "Head Like A Hole," "Terrible Lie," "Sin," "Something I Can Never Have" and "Ringfinger" are, in my opinion, the more diverse songs of the album and lie on the boundaries of heart-break, power, greed, religion and ambiguity. Trent's capacity to express his ideas in each song through a variety of different emotions and experiences allows a person to vicariously experience the feelings with him. His voice is not so versatile, but it is just another essentially important instrument in the creation of his industrial feel.
Overall Impression — 10
All in all, the originality and highly innovative style of this album reflects the creative artistic nature of Trent Reznor and is highly recommended for anyone wishing to undertake a new musical path.