Home Albums Album Review: NINE INCH NAILS – BAD WITCH


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In 2016 Nine Inch Nails planned on making a trilogy of E.P.s. Trent Reznor, the main man
behind NIN, explained that he initially wanted to make 1 large album, but instead decided to experiment and split it into three parts. This would help to maintain the momentum of each section as well as “address the short attention span syndrome that seems to have infectedthe world.”
This began with Not The Actual Event, followed by Add Violence in 2017. The final section,Bad Witch, was released June 22. Unlike the first 2 sections, Bad Witch has been marketed and promoted as a full length album. Read into that what you will.
The album opens with “Shit Mirror”. It’s got a lo-fi, industrial sound, with echoing, almost punk rock vocals. There’s a sudden stop in the middle before the song builds back up with repeated, chaotic vocals, eventually ending with a phasey guitar riff outro.
“Ahead of Ourselves” is next. It has a more electronic vibe, with frantic glitching vocals. It’s messy and abstract. A confusion of sound and energy. Almost relaxed in its own mayhem,there’s occasionally these piercing stabs of musicality that shock the listener and give the track a huge amount of depth. As the song rushes towards its conclusion, it’s as if everything comes into focus. The glitchiness starts to fade away and you’re left with a straightforward tune.“Play the Goddamned Part” starts with noise-rock style distortion before falling into a more mellow sound. It’s entirely instrumental and experimental. It’s weirdly Jazzy, containing a fair amount of Saxophone. The song seems to build and climb for its entirety, without ever really getting to anything. “God Break Down the Door”, the lead single from the album, is a fairly simplistic, electronic track. There’s clean, clear vocals and it’s probably the most radio friendly song on the album. Despite that, I didn’t really think there was much to it. I didn’t hate it, I just thought it sounded kind of standard.
“I’m not from this world” has a quiet intro. It’s atmospheric and spooky. About midway
through the song there’s this overflow of fuzz that builds up and then just stops suddenly.
Then there’s just silence for like 20 seconds. The whole time I was waiting for something
huge to come in, but nothing. Eventually it starts to build again, slowly. But again, never
really reaches an apex. There’s suspense and anticipation for nothing in particular. It teases and taunts the listener.
“Over and Out” is the final track on the album. It’s got a groovy bassline that acts as a solidbedrock and backbone for the song that allows for twinkling, electronic highlights on top.
There’s melodic vocals with nice harmonies. There’s syncopated rhythms throughout and
the whole thing flows nicely. Again, the song seems to build up to something, then takes
almost 2 full minutes to fade away.
Overall “Bad Witch” is much more abstract than NIN’s earlier stuff. It’s also a little less
grandiose, clocking in at only 30 minutes in length. That isn’t to say that it lacks cohesion. I think the album flows beautifully, and I actually think the shorter, more concise style suits Reznor well. It’s snappy and abrasive but it moves at its own pace, not necessarily going where you expect it to. I really liked it a lot.
1. Shit Mirror
2. Ahead of Ourselves
3. Play the Goddamned Part
4. God Break Down the Door
5. I’m Not from This World
6. Over and Out
Review by Josh Farrell

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