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Metal Hammer Spain March 2000

Nine Inch Nails - Finally on tour!

Translated from original Spanish by : Victoria Jenkins (

Brixton Academy : London

Almost half a decade has passed since Nine Inch Nails graced us with their presence, and five years is a long time!

After the set of supporting band Atari Teenage Riot, the atmosphere became charged with expectation. There was always the fear that after such a long absence and the recent release of the spectacular album “The Fragile” that Trent Reznor could have become a pompous and egotistic person. Thank God, nothing was further from the truth, because tonight Nine Inch Nails were highly impressive, giving a concert that other so-called industrial groups could only dream of, and demonstrating that NIN’s status as best electronic rock groups is completely valid. Hiding behind blinding lights and surrounded by white smoke, Reznor commanded the stage with his captivating personality, showing a voice in top form.

The band was also in sensational form, from the opening songs “Somewhat Damaged”, “Terrible Lie” and “Sin” until the last song “Head like a Hole” – doubtlessly the most commercial and well-known NIN song – leaving the amazed audience asking themselves what they had seen. The epic “March of the Pigs” and “Piggy”, two of the key songs taken from the breakthrough album “The Downward Spiral”, both sounding amazing in the middle of the “illuminated forest” where Reznor and his band seem to be.

Halfway through the concert, shorter songs like “La Mer”, “The Great Below” and “The Way Out is Through” were joined by a projector screen in front of the stage showing images with a procreation theme – including a turbulent sea, a volcano and a dose of sperm. Behind these images appeared Reznor’s slim silhouette.

For some of the concertgoers, this part of the set presented the perfect opportunity to go to the bathroom or have a beer at the bar, but for those who came to enjoy the whole experience it was a perfect combination of music and visuals, demonstrating that they can work in perfect harmony. Between songs Reznor didn’t say a word, letting the music talk for him. The rest of the band generated a musical torment, with each song full of passion and ferocity.

Reznor is an expert in letting the music provoke a reaction. He left the fans to think and discuss what they had seen and the kind of nightmare he had exposed. While many other groups could have lost themselves in the enormity of the Academy’s stage, Nine Inc Nails used its colossal size to its full potential. The musicians were not confined to the back of the stage to allow enough room for the inflated ego of the frontman, as has been the case with other giants of American industrial rock.

The set couldn’t have ended better with the combination of “The Day the World Went Away” and the grinding “Starfuckers, Inc.” (directed towards Marilyn Manson), before closing with “Hurt”.

Trent Reznor has never been afraid to take risks. Consequently, he wasn’t planning to just provoke, but to provide something more than music: a night full of entertainment and culture. And it was clearly not a concert for Goths with makeup or Manson wannabes! While other bands like Kiss or Marilyn Manson use surprise tactics to create a theatrical show, Nine Inch Nails doesn’t need cheap tricks to impress anyone.

This is what I call vanguard rock.