Sound — 7
Nine Inch Nails have given us something different on this effort. It is a more stripped down musical endeavor leaving nothing but the pulsing drums in your ears. To tell you the truth I was looking for something similar to the musical layers and instruments on the fragile. If you listen deeply trent still uses these techniques of layering, he just perfects it so it blends into the sounds of the songs. "Beside You In Time" is a track which every NIN fan will love and will be waiting for on the entire album, it's an instrumental which portrays Reznor's talent holding onto his previous work like on the fragile but with a fresher sound. Bascially the sound on this album is lyrics and drums. If you enjoy drum beats, droning synths and stripped down vocals, this album is for you.
Lyrics — 8
Reznor is much more precise in his use of lyrics and how he sings. The whole idea with the record was to throw 13 good punches and never look back. Reznor has definitly done this. He has thrown out the instrumentals and gone straight to the heavy vocals and melodies. The opener "All The Love In The World" is one of the best and compelling tracks. In the end of the song he harmonizes with himself and with any other musician this may seem boring and pointless but reznor definitely pulls it off. On previous NIN records you were more intoxicated with heavy sounds and layering and screaming vocals (Fragile, Downward Spiral), but With Teeh focuses on reznor's singing ability and the ability to tie it in with the fresh sounds of the record.
Overall Impression — 9
If I try to compare this CD with another artist, I simply cannot. To me, this album is revolutionary and already I can hear mimics of his pulsing drum sounds and just about everything else. Every other musician is afraid to take away everything useless and distracting in their songs, but reznor confidently pulls all that is irrelevant out and leaves you with drums, guitars and vocals. He doesn't only leave you with basic melodies at all, you just have to listen carefully like on previous albums and you can hear the complexities in sound beneath the simplicities of the song. The overall impression is brilliant. The first time I heard the album, it definitely challenged me musically, but I found myself unable to stop listening to it. That obviously means that if it is worth listening seven times in a row, NIN have done their job. Warning: if you are hoping for the Fragile part II you will never find it on this record. It is something new and fresh and still rocks but just with more precision and mania beneath its beats.