Pretty Hate Machine was a stunning break-through, arriving at the end of the eighties and sounding like a hardcore Gary Newman, awash with menacing synths, pulsing rhythms and a refreshing new sound; this was a glimmer of the greater works yet to come. The powerfully acerbic Broken EP harnessed this raw energy, churned it up and spat out something as vile and hateful as music gets: tracks such as "Wish" and "Happiness In Slavery" are now regarded by many fans as favourites in the NIN catalogue. The Downward Spiral was somewhat eclectic yet coherent, stringing together heavily complex and sparser numbers like a bloody tooth necklace; perhaps the most accomplished album, certainly the one with most bite. The Fragile was a much grander effort, a sweeping epic of dark, futuristic electronics, mixing new tracks with faultlessly-crafted instrumentals.
Now comes With Teeth, the latest offering from Trent and Co. It opens like a timid pulse, with "All the Love in the World." The electronic drum flutters in hypnotic momentum, gradually gaining clutter and menace before breaking away and a piano melts through, layered over thumping drums and crashing guitar. The first thing to hit you about this track is that it feels disconcertingly vacuous, void of the dark and complex song structure we