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  Interscope -
  B000373936 (2 discs)
  Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral
  "The Downward Spiral"

Nine Inch Nails
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Reviews: 8 show all

Review by zomax December 13, 2004 (11 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This album is a natural for multichannel, and I knew that Trent would impress with the MC mix. The only question in my mind was whether the hi-rez could improve the digital nature of the recording. As one of the the reviewers from points out, doubters need only listen to the bass drum on "piggy" -- what do you know? it's actually a real drum! The bass line on that song is also much more natural. Overall, it gives the song a whole different feel, much more sinuous. Other songs that benefit from the 5.1 treatment are "heresy," "closer," and "hurt." I'd get more specific, but I don't want to spoil it. Generally though, the rears and the center channel are used for effects, and on a few occasions vocals. One song that I think suffers from hi-rez surround is "mr. self destruct" -- the digital distortion of the backing vocals is so transparent its just not convincing anymore. Overall, I'm very happy to listen to this in hi-rez surround.

For those of you not familiar with the album, it's really a landmark album -- a concept rock/electronica album, kind of gen x's The Wall or Tommy. It's not the kind of album one listens to every day or for casual listening, but it's an album that still astounds me 10 years after it was first released with its range of sounds, tortured lyrics, and thematic cohesion.

P.S., disc two has some good tracks. I haven't compared the sacd stereo layer with the cd stereo layer, so I can't comment on sound quality. Any NIN fan would enjoy it for the outtakes, and the casual fan would probably find 3 or 4 songs to enjoy.

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Review by vonwegen August 5, 2005 (7 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This one's a keeper--it is probably Trent Reznor's career non plus ultra. I'm not sure I would recommend this as a demonstration of surround sound SA-CD sound, though: a LOT of the instrumental backing was deliberately recorded in lo-fi for effect, as was typical for the harsh, grinding _über-electronic_ "Industrial" music genre that NIN became famous for in the early 1990s. A perfect example for this lo-fi effect is the final song "Hurt", made famous by Johnny Cash's acoustic cover version--Reznor's own rendition has, for emotional effect, his very faint, almost whispered vocals almost swamped under white noise coming from the surrounds while the melody itself all but evaporates in parts of the song. Not a warm-sounding analogue recording, that's for sure--this was intended to sound cold, ultra-compressed & digital, and it does indeed.

Nonetheless, CD 1 is something you'll want to go back to again and again, as there are tons of fascinating little sonic details that pop up in the surround mixes, so that no one single listening is the same. "Closer" is a real highlight, with its swirling 'motorcycle' treated guitar (slide?) zooming around from speaker to speaker.

As for CD 2, you won't really listen to it as much; as with the Who's "Tommy" out-takes, it's an interesting detour, but the main course on CD 1 is what will keep you coming back for more.

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Review by sthebkrman February 14, 2005 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the first SACD I listened to after I bought my SACD system. My son bought it for himself. I guess I was lucky to play probably one of the best multichannel demo SACD's you can buy. Sadly, some of the songs are R rated so you can't play it while the family is around. This SACD makes DSOTM look tame in comparison. The songs flow together so well that you do not realize the songs have changed. I never was familiar with Nine Inch Nails until I heard this and I could not get enough. Warn your neighbors before you play it. If you want to see what your system can do, crank this up. You won't be disappointed in the surround mix and quality.

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