“Hesitation Marks” brings innovative, unusual sounds


There’s something for every Nine Inch Nails fan on “Hesitation Marks,” the latest masterpiece from frontman Trent Reznor.

The new album, released Sept. 3, stays true to Reznor’s roots, drawing on his past work to provide the rousing industrial rhythms, meditative patterns and occasional discordant noise Nine Inch Nails fans know and love. It’s also interwoven with an unusual, but appropriate, upbeat temperament.

The album’s flagship single, “Came Back Haunted,” stands as one of its strongest points, climbing to heights of enthusiasm in the vein of “The Slip” and then periodically descending into a dark and vigorous sound reminiscent of “Closer,” perhaps Nine Inch Nails’ most popular song.

“Came Back Haunted” has stood firmly in the Top 100 since it first hit airwaves weeks ago, and could come to rival “Closer” as America’s most familiar Nine Inch Nails track.

Yet, the single is closely matched by “Satellite,” a not-so-subtle political track that draws on several of the more ominous numbers from “Ghosts” to ground the passion of “Year Zero.”

“Yes we can / yes we did…what was that you said?” Reznor whispers over a swell of increasingly insidious guitar riffs. “Every word you say…I’m watching you.”

Reznor, who has never shied away from offering commentary on current events in his music, is likely taking a jab at President Barack Obama’s expansion of the National Security Agency surveillance in “Satellite.”

Among the album’s pleasant surprises is an occasional undertone of cinematic adventure, heard on tracks like “All Time Low” and “In Two” — perhaps influenced by Reznor’s recent work composing scores for films like “The Social Network.”

The deluxe version of the album contains four additional tracks well worth whatever extra cost you may find yourself paying. They include a trio of remixes led by “Find My Way (Oneohtrix Point Never Remix),” a dreamy lullaby whose like I have not heard from Nine Inch Nails since its album “Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D (Year Zero: Remixed).”

The final item on the deluxe album is more than 40 minutes long. In this track, Reznor discusses his musical method before taking us on a tour of new songs and unfinished demos that are an album all by themselves. It alone would be worth the price of this incredible album by one of the most innovative and fan-centric artists recording music today.