Nine Inch Nails - Not The Actual Events EP

Nine Inch Nails - Not The Actual Events EP 
 
By Kahmel Farahani
 
Its been a funny old year in Rock music hasn't it? 
2016 has seen the return to form of legends from Metallica and Megadeth to magnificent surprise releases from the younger stars like Avenged Sevenfold.
Now it seems that we really do end the year on a bang - Santa has brought us some new Nine Inch Nails.
 
Its been 3 years since the last NIN album , 2013's decidedly restrained and minimal "Hesitation Marks", and Trent Reznor has nothing much to prove.After all , the man who wrote "March Of The Pigs", "Closer" and "Burn" was a psychotically depressed, suicidal junky living alone in the Manson house , while the 2016 model Trent is a clean & sober father of 2 , a happily married Oscar winner! 

From scoring climate change documentary "Before The Food" to sealing deals with Apple Music, 2016 has been another busy year for the one man band/composer. So you can hopefully forgive me for being a little bit nervous when a new NIN EP was announced. When Trent himself described the EP as "an unfriendly, fairly impenetrable record that we needed to make" I braced myself for 5 tracks of screaming white noise and synth loops! 
 
After listening to it I can say with genuine pleasure (and more than a little relief!) that "Not The Actual Events" is the most satisfying thing NIN has released for years.
 
At just 21 minutes , the EP is lean. The fact that long time collaborator Atticus Ross is writing ,now as a full time member, seems to have helped keep things focused.
 
The EP opens with smouldering guitars of "Branches/Bones" - at just 1.45 its the perfect opener. As the beat ignites and Trent yells "Feels like I've been here before" you realise he hasn't sounded this focused for a long time - Its over too quickly.
 
We quickly move into the sparkling keyboards and whispered vocals of "Dear World" -  it sounds like Hal the Super computer from 2001 a Space Odyssey getting to grips with Devo. Solid and not that remarkable.
 
Track 3 , "She's Gone Away" is more interesting . Featuring "How to Destroy Angels" band-mate (and also Mrs Trent Reznor ) Mariqueen Maandig on backing vocals, its NIN in their Hypnotic industrial groove. With the deep tribal drum beat and distorted guitars, it sounds familiar yet not overly re-hashed.
 
Track 4, "The Idea Of You", re-unites Trent and the one and only Mr Dave Grohl on the drums.  Back behind the drum kit for the first time since 2005's "With Teeth" its a damn fine sound to hear Grohl bashing away an organic beat behind the guitars while Trent's vocals echo off the walls. Lively, angry and full of energy. It should be a great live track should Trent ever take it on the road.
 
Ending with a the most interesting track on the album , "Burning Bright (Field on Fire)" sounds like it could have fit onto "The Fragile" perfectly. With pulsing industrial beat , distorted Trent through a Megaphone vocals and shredding Dave Navarro solos buried in the mix , "Burning Bright" sounds like classic NIN.
 
With Trent also announcing that Nine Inch Nails will release “two new major” projects in 2017, it looks like it will be a VERY happy new year for NIN fans.
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