Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What If Everything Around You Isn't Quite What It Seems?

Nine Inch Nails – Beside You In Time

Assuming nothing goes awry between now and April 17th this might be the first year that the Wildebeest Asylum does not award the Trent Reznor Award for the Best Album That Was Supposed To Come Out This Year But Didn't to Trent Reznor. The new album is looking set for a April release and the new DVD is already out. Also, Trent is no longer even pretending that the Closure DVD will be out any time soon. He even quietly released a high quality version of the Broken movie. Trent's sobriety certainly does seem to have rendered quite a change in his work ethic.

The new DVD seems in some ways to be a little superfluous. And All That Could Have Been was released after the last tour, and it was a pretty solid effort; two discs packed full of drunk Trent at his best. Beside You In Time doesn't really contain anything that it's predecessor didn't, save for a different setlist and a different band, but it is cool to get a chance to see the stage show and the songs from the With Teeth tour that didn't make it to the Sydney show.

For example they do some very neat stuff with a translucent curtain that drops down in front of the stage during the middle of the show, using it to play videos while the band is still visible behind it. The videos themselves are brilliant. 'Eraser' is suitably freaky and disturbing, while 'Right Where It Belongs' is truly affecting, in that weird NIN kind of way, somehow making beauty out of the strangest components: mundane shots of suburban houses and supermarkets, slow motion nature show footage of animals eating one another, and even more unpleasant things, such as George W. Bush and his wife dancing. 'Beside You In Time' is another highlight, a song that I was sorely disappointed not to get at the Sydney show, but it's very cool at the climax when Trent throws his microphone stand through the curtain and the videos play an image of a glass screen shattering.

It's interesting to compare the band in this DVD with the old one. Josh Freese puts poor old Jerome 'competent but not very exciting' Dillon to shame as a drummer. The new guitarist, Aaron North, is a lot better than Robin Finck (I was especially impressed by his mastery of feedback), but there's just something about his style that I dislike. I'm probably just biased because he's so emo. I do miss Charlie Clouser on keyboards and Danny Lohner on bass though. Those guys were cool.

The disc also contains the music videos for 'The Hand That Feeds' and 'Only', the two most boringist Nine Inch Nails videos ever. The DVD is still worth a purchase, but I would have much rather have received Closure.

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