Nine Inch Nails CD measures up

by Beacon Staff • March 19, 2008

Following in the footsteps of Radiohead and their Internet-available album In Rainbows, Nine Inch Nails has released its seventh studio album entitled Ghosts I-IV online. Fans can download the album as free DRM MP3s (DRM means that the tracks can be played on any MP3 player) and they can burn them on their own CDs as well.

Nine Inch Nails is known for their signature electronic grunge industrial sounding rock. Ghosts I-IV is a two-hour example of their style, but unlike their previous efforts, Ghosts I-IV is completely instrumental. Coming from a band with explicit songs such as "Closer" (featuring heavy use of the f-bomb), this album is a reflection of a new direction for the band. It is almost like a techno version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon featuring psychedelic tones that are superimposed with mechanical rock.

According to a release sent to the Beacon, Trent Reznor, the founder of Nine Inch Nails, conceived the idea for the album as an experiment. His goal was to create "spontaneous, impulsive soundtracks to daydreams." He represents these daydreams through a series of 36 tracks split up into four volumes, recorded over a ten week period last fall.

The first section of the album, consisting of nine tracks and titled Ghosts I, is available at no charge from the Nine Inch Nails Web site. The whole album including all sections, Ghosts I-IV, is available for download for five dollars. The download also includes a 40-page PDF featuring photography and visual accompaniments to the music, as well as wallpapers, icons and graphics.

One has to wonder why the first section of the album is available for free. The nine tracks are actually more like one large song. The first track on Ghosts I features a strong piano line accompanied by an electronic synthesizer. The track carries over seamlessly into the next track. The pattern continues throughout the entire album with tracks carrying over one another.

It is also hard to differentiate between songs, as the album is completely instrumental. It is almost as if the band knew that fans would be disappointed with wasting over ten dollars on what appears to be one single song, which is why they released Ghosts I for free. Nine Inch Nails is able do this as they have released Ghosts independently of any record label.

The entire album is available for purchase from the band's Web site, ghosts.nin.com, as well as from the Amazon.com MP3 store. For those who want a tangible copy of the album, two-disc set is available for ten dollars as well as a Limited Edition Deluxe Package for $75 that includes a hardcover book and data DVD. For the super-fans, the band is offering a $300 Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition Package that includes the Deluxe Package as well as a vinyl set, personally signed by Trent Reznor.

According to the official press release, more volumes of Ghosts are likely to appear in the future. Fans of metallic underground synth will rejoice for this album, especially because the first section is available at no charge, leaving a few extra bucks in their pocket to save for that guitar they have always wanted.