Sound — 8
With Teeth provides all the signature NIN sounds, mixed up re-arranged and re-arranged again. The grindy torrent of guitars, off the wall drumbeats, and Trent's signature haunting piano melodies are all there. On this album, however, he does not hammer them into yor brain all at once forcing you to differentiate what is really going on. With teeth gives you just a taste of the signature sounds, well placed and leaving you waiting for more. The "funk" sound adds a new dimension to the whole picture. Hardcore NIN fans will probably skip those tracks searching for a resurrection of Happiness in Slavery or Gave Up somewhere on the album, but they are not gonna find it. Trent has evolved into making music with dark feeling rather than breaking up furniture with a chainsaw.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically speaking Trent is right on course. Before he was just plain angry, and now he is full of questions and reflection. He hit the music scene hard, crashed and has risen from the ashes. Now though he has new priorities, new concerns and new questions. The lyrics are not hopeless, but rather leave things open ended. Right where it Belongs speaks volumes about his state of mind. He questions reality and makes you focus inward on how the world is viewed. In Every Day is Exactly The Same, Trent makes the comment that he is still inside you, and a little bit comes bleeding through. This line sums up how he feels these days I think. His past angst, frustration and pain are still with everyone who has shared in his music, and still comes through no matter where he ends up.
Overall Impression — 8
All in all I think this is one of the better NIN albums. It has more variety and larger range of emotions. The Downward Spiral builds to a climax and then lets us down easy. Broken just kicks your ass all over the room and leaves you for dead. With Teeth grabs you and keeps you guessing. Its focused and well thought out, and definetely needs a few listens before it sinks in. He knows right where to hit you and when to lay off. Even the hardcore NIN fans wishing for the days of Broken cant help but stop and notice the evolution from anger to reflection. He doesn't want you to mosh too much anymore, he wants you to revel in lyric and savor the experience. He's almost saying it's time to look at the big picture. Reflection rather than rage, asking the most basic human question of why are we here and what the hell is the purpose of all this. I think Trent got some religion, not an organized religion, but one he's created for himelf. His war with God is never over, but I think he has grounded himself and focused on the next step, rather than the angst driven tunes that got him here. Unfortunately, the tone of this album makes it feel like almost a Swan Song for this melodical genius, I hope that's not the case.