Post-industrial band founded in the 80's consisting of writer/vocalist/mandolin/saxophone/guitar/tamborine/synth/drum machine/sampler/laptop/tuba/accordion/xylophone/white noise and vuvuzela player Trent Reznor and through most of its live lifespan guitarist Robin Finck. Other notable personnel include Alessandro Cortini, Aaron North, Danny Lohner aka Renholdër, Atticus Ross, Ilan Rubin, Josh Freese, Chris Vrenna, Flood, Dave Grohl, Jeordie White aka Twiggy Ramirez, Charlie Clouser, Richard Patrick, Jerome Dillon, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, and others.
Genre is Industrial Rock and Industrial Metal. Very layered pseudo-EBM/Rock hybrid most of the time throughout the peak of its popularity, more of an alternative rock feel since With Teeth, excluding Year Zero, which was mostly glitch and Ghosts I-IV, which is broadly ambient. NIN is profanity and angst ridden almost all the time, so much so that it has been known for its angst (which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your tastes). Started out with a (particularly dark) synthpop album much like Ministry, one of Trent's big influences along with Skinny Puppy, Gary Numan, Soft Cell, Throbbing Gristle, David Bowie and Pink Floyd to name a handful.
Pretty good. Nice amount of varied sound throughout the whole discography and one of the more abrasive sounding artists in modern rock music.
Critically and commercially, NIN's greatest album is usually considered to be The Downward Spiral, although fans tend to be totally split, with preferences mainly towards either TDS, The Fragile, Year Zero and Pretty Hate Machine.
Nine Inch Nails is that "fuck you like an animal band", that "hand that feeds" band and that "I hurt myself today" band. If you are referring to them as such learn the fucking song names.
It should be noted that NIN is not Industrial music, as it is commonly incorrectly referred to. Again, it is INDUSTRIAL ROCK. Different genre that sounds totally different. Save yourself from looking like a fool and make the distinction, because saying "Industrial" to describe any Post-Industrial artist is you being like one of those losers who calls any electronic music "techno"...and you don't want to be one of them.
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