Nine Inch Nails

While sceptics continue to question Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor’s relevance in light of a six-year disappearance (supposedly the result of a four-year alcohol problem) and the ever-changing face of alternative rock, those with open minds and ears will be utterly floored by the material presented here. Forgoing the progressive tendencies of 1999’s The Fragile was a bold move, especially considering the popularity of increasingly pretentious, wanky indie rock and "screamo,” but Reznor has never been one to gel well with the mainstream. Arguably a partial return to Pretty Hate Machine in both structure and instrumentation, With Teeth is salvaged from being a full-blown "throwback” release by the presence of Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl’s pummelling percussive work, which occasionally subverts the material into resembling his previous collaboration on the last Queens Of The Stone Age record. Be forewarned: these songs are catchy, and almost criminally so. There are no instrumentals and some of the tracks almost approach (God forbid) a contented, upbeat tone, while the entire record clocks in at under an hour. At this point, Reznor is relying on his unfathomable gifted songwriting and production talents to carry him into the new millennium, and those willing to accept With Teeth as simply another step in his continued development already have the album of the year on their hands. Without a doubt, the finest major label release of the year —it’s hard to imagine what could beat it.