Four years after Trent Reznor put his Nine Inch Nails act on hiatus (keeping himself busy in the interim scoring a couple boast-worthy new awards for film composing work [the Oscar-nabbing The Social Network soundtrack album, the Grammy-winning The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo soundtrack] and launching a new project alongside his wife Mariqueen Maandig [the polarizing outfit How To Destroy Angels]), the multi-talented frontman has revved his iconic flagship project back to life, marking NIN’s return with typical dark, melodramatic and self-mythologizing fashion: “I said goodbye/ But I had to try”; “Everywhere now that reminding me/ I am not who I used to be”; “They tried to tell me but I/ I couldn’t stop myself/ I came back…”.
“Came Back Haunted” is the name, the first preview of forthcoming eighth studio effort Hesitation Marks, and it’s a record that ends up pretty successful in maneuvering through the many pressures at hand–not only is the track a “comeback” NIN record, but one that will no doubt be compared to all the great, much-favored work that preceded it, and has the tricky position of arriving in an “All EDM Everything” musical climate that a lot of that rich past catalog arguably helped inspire.
How it accomplishes this is pretty simple, with Reznor smartly incorporating a certain NIN familiarity within the song’s construct.
Powered by a forceful churn of bleepy industrial techno-funk, buzzing guitars, pop-smart hook-craft and the usual undertone of goth-hued doom, having your ears engulfed in “Came Back Haunted” is like slipping into an old pair of your most favorite slippers, yet the track doesn’t completely feel like creative wheel-spinning of tried-and-true ’90’s-00’s tricks, Reznor injecting enough of a fresh modern zest within the infectious arrangement to leave one further excited for what this new era of Nails is planning to offer.
Hesitation Marks is due September 3rd.