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Nine Inch Nails | ‘Not The Actual Events’

With this delayed physical release being shipped – finally – alongside of the vinyl remaster of ‘Broken’, and it being the first collection of original NIN material to be released in an EP format since 1992, it seems natural to view ‘… Events’ as a sort of spiritual successor to the record that gave us ‘Gave Up’, ‘Wish’, and ‘Happiness in Slavery’.

Particularly as it’s noisy, angry, chaotic and hostile.

The intervening years have seen Reznor solidify his reputation as that of being a consistent, gifted and singular performer.

He’s established a business model that, although giving him absolute control over his output and copyright, admiringly has remained fair and respectful to fans. (Such as not charging the mega fees and ticket prices we’ve come to expect from some other artists operating at this level.)

He’s collaborated with many musicians during his career and is the go-to guy for edgy movie soundtracks. However, clearly he knows how to appeal to the ‘rock’ audience at large: He’s a forward-looking songwriter who tends to stay at the frontier of new trends, sounds and technology.

When ‘… Events’ was first announced, Donald Fart had only just been inaugurated amidst cries of fake news and alternate facts.

Some sort of dissatisfaction with the audio/packaging (see Trent’s unhappy explanation here) means its eventual physical release cannot be as topical as perhaps he’d hoped it would be.

(Although Trump’s dug in his heels and so maybe the sentiment behind this record’s title still remains worth noting.)


Sonically, it’s frustrating.

The four songs and an intro fit together nicely and work well as a unit.

However, ultimately there just aren’t the levels of innovation that perhaps we’ve gotten used to.

‘She’s Gone Away’ succeeds by slowing down the pace, Reznor expanding upon the delivery of his vocals with a style not elsewhere deployed. ‘The Idea of You’ has interesting timing and centres on the rhythm of the snare.

But elsewhere things are… less memorable. The return to aggression is welcome. But is limited in its execution.

The Rez has also announced that this is the first of a trilogy of EPs planned to surface this year (‘Add Violence’ is available digitally already), so it’s hoped these complaints can be conquered on subsequent songs.

He still has a good ear. Nine Inch Nails have a knack of building a strong song around central ideas (without overthinking).

With this ‘layering’ approach it takes a whole hell of a lot of confidence to know when enough is enough; the song is complete. Although having remained relevant throughout a 30+ year career, you’d know how to trust your own instincts.

3.2/5 – P. Thomas Donnelly ::: 18/08/17

  1. A few reviews of this have piqued my interest, despite being sorely tested by nearly all releases post The Fragile.

  2. Ya, there’s been precious little to be excited about since The Fragile and unfortunately this continues that trend, going by the above track.

  3. I’ve been listening the shit out of this since it came out. It is too short and a bit of a tease but the tunes are great. The whole puzzling element to these releases is intriguing as well with the physical components coming with each release. Got the Add Violence component in the post the other day as well as getting the envelope full of black dirt which came with this release a few months ago and I’m still none the wiser, but it adds a level of interest I haven’t gotten from an inlay/packaging in a long time.

    I look forward to the 3rd ep in the next few months

  4. “Donald Fart”

    HA HA! Got ’em! How will Drumpf ever recover from that?

  5. Not that I support Trump, it was just a pretty uninspired insult.

  6. Hating trump is so last year

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