Review of new Nine Inch Nails record ‘Not the Actual Events’

On Dec. 23, Nine Inch Nails released their five-track EP Not the Actual Events. An effort born of Trent Reznor teaming up with the newly official NIN member Atticus Ross, this EP takes an interesting turn. A step apart from Reznor’s recent film work on Before the Flood – and even the Hesitation Marks record – fans should prepare themselves for a diversion.


Not the Actual Events opens with a short introduction called “Branches/Bones.” Industrial tones, ranging from heavy to screeching, make up the backdrop for this track. Though, driving guitars and percussion support the almost punk-infused vocal choruses. “Branches/Bones” is definitely identifiable as a NIN track. However, this lead off already lets audiences know they are in for something a little different.


“Dear World,” opens with almost goth-infused spoken words over electronic tones. The weighted and steady speaking acts as a counterpoint to speedy rhythms. About a minute in, Reznor’s voice enters and brings a more typically NIN sound with it. Fans of How to Destroy Angels may see some parallels here between the two projects from Trent Reznor.


Third on Not the Actual Events is “She’s Gone Away.” The song leads off with heavy industrial percussion containing an almost tribal bent. This is a dark and immersive track from Nine Inch Nails. Deep and tortured vocals weave through dense and dynamic rhythms here – punctuated by the occasional razor-sharp tone or verse.

Nine Inch Nails spreads its creative wings once again

“The Idea of You” comes up next in an interesting cross-section of genres. Listeners who only know Nine Inch Nails casually may not recognize this metal-rock-industrial piece as being one of their creations. The fast and tumbling song immediately sweeps listeners up for the ride.

The closing track on Not the Actual Events is called “Burning Bright (Field on Fire).” This song causes audiences to feel as though they are in a stadium listening. The bold, big and engrossing sound here ensures Nine Inch Nails closes the record with a bang.

Traditionalists may not be fully on board with all of Not the Actual Events. However, this project acts as further evidence that Reznor is an ever-evolving and highly skilled artist. It is a strong and engaging record.

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