Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails
a US rock band formed by Trent Reznor (1965– ), who often performs alone. His style is known as ‘industrial music’ and his songs are often about sex, suffering and violence. The group’s most successful albums have included The Downward Spiral (1994) and And All that Could Have Been (2002).

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▪ American rock act
      American alternative rock act known for dark and tortured industrial (industrial music) rock songs. The “band” Nine Inch Nails was essentially a stage name for singer and multi-instrumentalist Trent Reznor (b. Michael Trent Reznor, May 17, 1965, Mercer, Pa., U.S.).

      Nine Inch Nails began in Cleveland in 1988 while Reznor was working at a recording studio. He wrote, arranged, performed, and produced the majority of the material, bringing in other musicians for live performances. The band quickly gained popularity with the debut release, Pretty Hate Machine (1989), which went triple platinum and signaled a breakthrough into the U.S. mainstream for industrial music. After a drawn-out legal battle with his recording company, TVT, Reznor set up his own label called Nothing Records and released the EP album Broken (1992), which earned a Grammy award. Reznor signed glam (glam rock) shock rocker Marilyn Manson to the Nothing label, and the two fed on each other's successes throughout the 1990s.

      Reznor's second full-length album, The Downward Spiral (1994), debuted at number two on the Billboard charts. It was certified quadruple platinum on the strength of such singles as "Closer" and "Hurt." (An emotional acoustic version of the latter song was a surprise hit for country legend Johnny Cash (Cash, Johnny).) Nine Inch Nails appeared as a headliner at the 1994 Woodstock festival (Woodstock Music and Art Fair), and "Happiness in Slavery," a single recorded at that performance, earned Reznor a second Grammy. In 1995 Nine Inch Nails opened for David Bowie (Bowie, David) on his North American tour, but a new album was slow to follow, and much of Reznor's time was spent in the production studio with label mate Marilyn Manson.

      The double album The Fragile appeared in 1999—hitting the top of the charts in its first week of release—but itfaded quickly when no clear singles emerged. With Teeth (2005) also bowed at number one, and its industrial dance floor anthems signaled a return to the sound of The Downward Spiral. Given the half-decade wait between previous Nine Inch Nails releases, a veritable flurry of activity followed. The concept album Year Zero (2007) was accompanied by an ambitious viral marketing campaign, and instrumental samples used in its creation were collected in Ghosts I-V (2008). Reznor signaled his break with the traditional music distribution model when he released the sixth full-length Nine Inch Nails album, The Slip (2008), as a free digital download from his Web site.

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Universalium. 2010.

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