Year Zero Review

artist: Nine Inch Nails date: 06/28/2007 category: compact discs
Nine Inch Nails: Year Zero
Release Date: Apr 17, 2007
Label: Nothing Records
Genres: Industrial, Alternative Metal, Industrial Metal
Number Of Tracks: 16
Nine Inch Nails we hear on Year Zero is less focused on producing heavy music and more focused on delivering its heavy, conspiratorial doomsday message.
 Sound: 9.4
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.8
 Overall rating:
 9.4 
 Reviewer rating:
 9.4 
 Users rating:
 9.4 
 Votes:
 127 
 Views:
 473 
reviews (8) 39 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.7
Year Zero Reviewed by: bassplayer496, on may 02, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound is very refreshing! Unlike the more rock oriented With Teeth, we get a great techno/industrial sound, great pounding beats layered with electronic noise. The album certaintly doesn't sound at all like anything else Reznor has done, and that's not a bad thing. This is the most solidly industrial album he's made. I also prefer Trent Reznor's voice to the voice from With Teeth. While I don't like it quite as much as the voice from The Downward spiral, it's very good. Great sound. // 10

Lyrics: Reznor has always been somewhat criticized for his lyrics (Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band, and I'm a diehard fan, but I'll admit, the lyrics have seemed somewhat forced in the past) and this is probably his most mature lyrical album yet. As you probably know, this album is all about the apocalypse being near, and is clearly criticizing power hungry people. With lines such as "watch what you say, they can read your mind" I have no problem with the lyrics, they're quite mature and impressive. // 9

Overall Impression: While I don't think this is quite as good as The Downward Spiral, and I still don't really have it on where I'd place it with Reznor's other albums, this might be the best album since TDS, the Fragile at the very least. The standout tracks in my mind would have to be, in no real order, "In This Twilight", "Me, I'm not" "The Great Destroyer" and the instrumental "Another version of the truth." I think for diehard nine inch nails fan this album will be a breath of fresh air, there is no low point here, unlike With Teeth, and some of the weak spots on the Fragile, I was hooked all the way through. This contains the single Survivalism, which while good, is easily my least favorite song on the album. It's a little bit more safe and isn't quite as industrial. This came out today (April Seventeenth, '07) and I'm deciding to review it right now. My opinions of my favorite songs might change, but for now that's a pretty basic idea. If you love Nine Inch Nails, I think you'll love this. I can already put this among my favorite albums. Not one weak moment. // 10

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overall: 8.7
Year Zero Reviewed by: ChrisGuy, on may 02, 2007
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Year Zero itself is the anti-With Teeth album, as it returns to the more familiar "layered-soundscape" electronic sound of NIN's earlier efforts (The Downward Spiral and The Fragile for the best examples). Each song is thickly layered with enough drums, bass, guitars, and synth to satisfy any NIN fan and sound, just like the sticker on the album says, "Noisy". The album itself begins with the heavy drum-driven "Hyperpower!" and builds in intensity and heaviness ending with "The Great Destroyer", which itself ends in an unsettling barrage of synth leading to the piano-driven "Another Version of the Truth", and the storyline/album closers "In This Twilight" and "Zero-Sum", both of which are a satisfying, dark, and strangely upbeat ending to the album. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics are the star of the album. Trent Reznor, no longer working with mainly introverted lyrics, deals with politics and a world gone horribly wrong. Anyone following the album's release knows of the reality game set-up around the album, focused on the future of 2022 where the US is under the influence of a government drug named Parepin, and a mysterious hand called 'The Presence" shows up, possibly signaling the end of the world. The album of course ties into, builds upon, and explains many of the events and perspectives behind the story from the soldier trying to believe what's going on around him in "The Good Soldier", the Presence's warning in "The Warning", and the evangelical side of the future government in "God Given". Knowledge of the story does make a greater impact in fully enjoying and understanding the album's concept however, but the themes presented do, and can, be related to current government administration (see "Capital G") and the current state of affairs in the world. Plus, Trent Reznor really stepped up his vocals on this album, by expanding his range. Highlights include the "I-didn't-know-he-could-sing-so-high" vocals in "In This Twilight" and the almost "Down In It" rap vocals of "Capital G". // 9

Overall Impression: The album definitely shows that Trent's moved on from the more introspective albums of his youth towards the socially-conscious lyrics of Year Zero. The marvel behind the album is its underlying concept, its impressive, and damn creative online storyline involving fans and moving towards Year Zero: Part 2. Definately ranks up there with The Downward Spiral and The Fragile as one of the best NIN albums, due to its presentation, unique sound, and damn good lyrics. // 9

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overall: 10
Year Zero Reviewed by: Nebjy, on may 02, 2007
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Reznor's mixing skills are not to be challenged. The sound quality is great overall, and does not distort easily. My only issue is that after a few listens some of the synths start to get annoying. For instance, on "Meet your master", around the middle there is this bridge part where it's synthy but is annoying. But without that part it's not complete. // 10

Lyrics: Trent has gone political. Fortunately, he's not raving as others are. The album is an essay of the future. It's hard to distinguish the viewpoint of "The great destroyer", becuase it could be a killer or the clue that was hidden in the song, The red horse vector. The lyrics went perfectly with the songs. Capital G, although trent said it meant greed, we all know what it really stands for. George Bush. But the lyrical bomb of "Zero sum" was baffling. It was a long line of strange poetry and then the chorus. // 10

Overall Impression: It's not the downward spiral. And it's not pretty hate machine. It's a diffrent sound that almost combines them. With teeth wasn't that great, but this is. I'm going to review each song. Oh and the CD yeids a surprise, it's actualy thermochrome, and when exposed to heat you get binary. When the binary translates, you get to another one of the Year Zero alternate reality game sites. 01. Hyperpower! - the introduction featuring a soldier-like march tempo and rising guitars. Reminds me of pinion. It sounds like a riot building, then exploding. 02. The Beginning Of The End - I like this song, it's kinda pop-ish, yet very hard rock at the same time. During live shows, Trent brings outs the tamborine. 03. Survivalim - the first single off the album, while it's just kinda cool and whatever, it brings back "The Hand That Feeds". 04. The Good Soldier - a slow, kinda moody song. It's very smoothe so it's not hard to listen to. But it's also kinda repetitive. 05. Vessel - a heavier, "Pilgrimage" sounding song. It's not for the average listener. 06. Me, I'm Not - a weird, spacy song. I love this one personaly, and had it as one of my top favorite songs for awhile. 07. Capital G - as I said before, this song is about greed and bush. It sounds like Marilyn Manson, and it is a little repetitive. 08. My Violent Heart - a smaller mirror of Zero sum, it speaks about the never-ending rebellion, and how the goverment won't win. 09. The Warning - by far, the coolest song ever, it takes from god's point of view. At the end, the burst of white noise reveals the prescence, the hand of god. 10. God Given - a heavy synthy song, it gets a little annoying after awhile. Lyrics are superb though. 11. Meet Your Master - the moment I heard this, I instantly thought of "Head like a hole" and it's the same concept. It sounds a lot like pretty hate machine and aside from the bridge synth it's awesome. 12. The Greater Good - a quiet strange song, where the lyrics can only be heard either on max volume or when you read the lyric book. 13. The Great Destroyer - a distorted voice inside of the song leads to another clue. It's a VERY heavy song, while melodic at the same time. The ending synth solo is hard to listen to. 14. Another Version Of The Truth - a piano instrumental. It goes from strange and confused to a kind of "Hey, lets get ourselves together and not f--k up this time." kind of message. 15. In This Twilight - a decent song with a weird synth beat in the beginning. Pretty cool. Almost apocolyptic-cheery sounding. 16. Zero Sum - two weird kinds of rules god seems to place down. Or a manifesto. Whatever it is, the chorus is beautiful and strange at the same time. // 10

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overall: 8.3
Year Zero Reviewed by: The Spoon, on may 03, 2007
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: I could start this album review with something like "Trent Reznor is back and better than ever!" or "Trent is truely a genius, and this record shows it." I didn't know which one to choose, so I'll just do both of them. Trent Reznor is back and better than ever, and ths album proves he is a genius. Now to the review. This record is NIN's first concept record and it was recorded in less time than the previous albums from the band. I'd have to say they did a pretty good job considering the conditions. The story of Year Zero is set 15 years in the future in America and things aren't going very well. The government has taken total control. The water is contaminated with a drug that is supposed to keep the people safe from Bioterrorism, and while it does a good job with that, it causes people to see hallucinations. One of the main hallucinations is a gigantic hand extending from the heavens to the ground. It spoke to the people and told them they must change their ways, otherwise everything will be destroyed, as you can tell from the lyrics of "The Warning". Each song is told from a different perspective of the many characters in the Year Zero world. Soundwise, Year Zero is much more electronic. Sometimes, there is the occasional piano and xylophone that add a nice sound to the mix. A lot of the songs have little solo type things where it is just random noises (You'll know what I'm taking about when you listen to "The Great Destroyer"). In my opinion, a lot of them sound cool, but some can get annoying. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics aren't as powerful as other NIN albums. There aren't very many lines from songs that are worthy of your MySpace display name. Mostly because Trent isn't singing about problems in his life. Just problems with the government. The lyrics do paint an image in your head about what things are like in this new world. Trent's singing style is pretty much the same. Some songs have him whispering in the verses and he starts singing powerfully when the choruses come in. In some of the other songs, he sings the entire song which is nice too. There are also two instrumental tracks (Hyperpower! And Another Version of the Truth) His singing and his style hasn't changed much. // 8

Overall Impression: This album is very solid. So far, it wins Album of the Year in my heart. I love the fact it's a "sound collage" like Reznor described it. I don't like how all of my favorite songs are only 3 minutes long. With the exception of the last track, which is probably one of the best NIN tracks ever. I don't like the song "Vessel". Most people love it, but it's just annoying in my opinion. This album can't be stolen, because I guard it with my life, but if it was, I would have to get it again. This album is great with a capital G. Come on, you saw that coming. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Year Zero Reviewed by: unregistered, on may 02, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: If there was anything Trent was 100% right about when he described the album as "Highly conceptual. Quite noisy. F--king cool." It's the noise. Noise and extreme deformity/atonality is persistent throughout every song. It's in the drum-machines, guitar solos and vocals. Songs range from extremely powerful-sounding (Hyperpower! and The Beginning Of The End) and dancy (Capital G and God Given) to quiet and mellow (Another Version of the Truth, In this Twilight and Zer-Sum). Perhaps musically the best album since The Fragile. // 9

Lyrics: For those of you unfamiliar with the huge promotion campaign Trent launched for this album, let me say this: the lyrics are thought-provoking and quite anti-government. They aren't as well as The Fragile (his best, IMHO), and they aren't extremely angry, but they do fit well with the noise. // 7

Overall Impression: It's unique, and even the worst song of it (God Given) has since grown on me. The greatest songs are: Capital G, Meet Your Master and The Greater Good, and I guess I don't hate anything about it. If it were stolen, I would buy ten more copies and stuff them into every orifice of the robber. And it is still better than With Teeth, so I give it a 10 (considering the campaign). // 10

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overall: 10
Year Zero Reviewed by: exe67, on may 02, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Simply put, this is possibly the most original sounding CD ever made. it's rediculously electronic, but still maintains a heavy nature. A good description of this album would be this: take "The Downward Spiral" and cut a hole in the middle. Insert "Pretty Hate Machine" into that hole, but also put a huge bass amp in the hole. Now that you have that, take a bunch of computers that are dialing in for internet and put them in the hole. Play all this noise at the same time and now you have "Year Zero!" Now that the sound is described, there is also some background as to how this CD got it's sound. Trent Reznor said that the idea came to him in a daydream and that most of it is improv. The songs were recorded all around the world while he was on tour and he drew a lot of inspiration from that too. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics on this CD are without a doubt Trent's best. In the past we've heard him sing about love, god, anger, depression, sadness, and self-reflection, but he has never written anything truely amazing. Until now that is. The lyrics of Year Zero are all themed around a totalitarian government 15 years in the future. All of the songs tell somebody's story or just a story in general. When listened to as a whole, many of the problems he is singing about exist today which is where Trent got the ideas. Also the lyrics are arranged well enough that each song can stand alone without losing any of it's meaning. Basically the lyrics show that Trent can write about things other than himself and that he does a good job doing it. // 10

Overall Impression: If you tried to compare Year Zero to any of NIN's past albums, you would be doing so in vain. No NIN CD sounds like another, but Year Zero really proves that point. It has it's own sound that is completely unique but also has elements from all of Trent's other CD. It has the electronic feel that "Pretty Hate Machine" did, it has the raw, edgy sound that we heard on "Broken," it has the complexity of the songs from "The Downward Spiral," it has the refined, clean, and melodic sound that "The Fragile" did, and it even has the rock feel that "With Teeth" had. All that being said, this may very well be Trent's best album to date. The most impressive songs on the album are "Capital G," "The Beginning of the End," and "The Warning" but all the songs are impressive and unique in their own way. I love absolutely everything about this album. This is the CD that NIN fans have been waiting a long long time for and it was definitely worth the wait! There's nothing at all that I don't love about it. If it were lost or stolen I would replace it in a heartbeat! // 10

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overall: 9.7
Year Zero Reviewed by: ihop_08, on may 02, 2007
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: If you've ever listened to NIN before, then you probably understand Trent Reznor's brainchild of music. It has a sound all it's own, with electronic instruments being the main focus. On Year Zero, this hasn't changed, but only gotten better. Trent has managed to progress far beyond any expectations he has been pinned to. It's a heavy album, even when the mood is quiet. Every song sounds as it should, with the musical composition riding parallel to the lyrics all the way. // 10

Lyrics: Trent has a way with words, simply put. However on Year Zero, he really manages to get his point across. The record is almost all politically driven, however it is not biased. The words simply point out the direction of the world as we know it. The lyrics can seem a bit repetitive in meaning at sometimes, but I think the only reason he re-emphasizes his point so much is that in each and every song, he has a message to get across, and that seems to be the underlying theme on this record: A message. // 9

Overall Impression: To compare Trent Reznor and NIN to anyone other than themselves would simply be pointless. So, in relation to previous NIN albums, I would not call Year Zero better, but rather a genius progression of NIN's place in the world of music. It is safe to say that I see no faults in this record; the musicality and mood are perfect, and Trent's overall message is one certainly worth listening to. If someone stole this CD from me, I would probably let the keep it, so that they could also be introduced to the abstract genius of this music, and then I would purchase a new copy for myself. // 10

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overall: 10
Year Zero Reviewed by: Onlycloser, on june 28, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: My impression of Nine Inch Nails' sound and music on this album is that Trent Reznor has finally reached his peak in his song writing abilities, not saying that this will be his last great work, but I can not see (at least for the moment) how he can possibly do better when this album is a masterpeice. Year Zero is ahead of it's time musicly, and definately lyrically. The whole story behind Year Zero is a fascination of it's own. The ARG (Alternate Reality Game) that Trent made is astounding in how real it actually seems. I, for one, thought that it was actually real when I first saw it. The way that Trent experiments with digital sounds is amazing, even during some songs sounding like he is murdering a computer. One electronic feat that is woth noting is the beat break down during the end of the song The Great Destroyer. Personally, this is number one on my list of greatest beat break downs of all time (Closer being on that list). Every song on this album has the ability of standing on it's own, making picking out favorites very difficult. One of my personal favorites is Survivalism, because of the darkness that I associate with it, and for the great chorus with a gripping rhythm. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics on this album are intelligent and fun to figure out. The lyrics describe a futuristic America, although some of them reflecting an America that we are all familiar with now (Capital G). Now, I know that Capital G is not about George W. Bush (it is about Greed), but you can't help but think that Trent may have had a certain President in mind. Trent is in top form in his singing. Whether it is in his yelling, his harmonies, or his melodies, he still kicks as, if not even more. Although, at least to me, it seems detectable that his voice has become a bit more masculine due to his new found buffness, he still is performing in top form. // 10

Overall Impression: This album is as faithful a follow up to a Nine Inch Nails album as any of the other NIN albums. Those who were hostile towards With Teeth should not dismiss Year Zero, as it is a completely different album, to me, a better one. Now, I am a fan of With Teeth, heck, it was my first NIN album, but I think that Year Zero will satisfy anyone who felt betrayed after With Teeth. Best songs on the album: all of them. You can't choose! But I guess the ones that I revisit most often (although I usually listen to the ENTIRE album) would be: Hyperpower!, The Beginning of the End, Survivalism, Vessel, Me, I'm Not, Capitol G, and the whole second half of the album! The thing I love about this album is the darkness within it (as with any NIN album) but also the politicalness that is about it. Tt also tells a futuristic story, which is also cool. There is absolutley nothing about this album to hate, even the fact that Trent is now buff. This album couldn't have been made by a skinney Trent Reznor. If this album was stolen or lost, I would hunt for it like there is no tomorrow! It is like my bible! And if that fails, then I'll crack, and go down to Zia Records and buy a new copy. // 10

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