Industrial Strength

July 9, 2013
Sound-Bets-Trent-Rob-Sheridan

Jeebus, you’d think Kanye West invented industrial music the way people are flipping out about its fusion with hip-hop on “Yeezus.”

But if you’ve ever worn fishnets as a shirt, you know that’s not true. You also know ’80s art-assault bands like Throbbing Gristle and Skinny Puppy paved the way for ’90s industro-darlings Nine Inch Nails, led by angry heartthrob Trent Reznor, above, in all his leather-opera-gloved glory.

After NIN’s heart-shredding 1994 disc “The Downward Spiral,” I stopped paying attention. There were four unlistenable albums and a hiatus over the next 19 years.

Now comes a new record, “Hesitation Marks,” due in September. The first single, “Came Back Haunted,” dropped in June, with a David Lynch-directed video out a couple of weeks back. The spooky video is OK, but the song is original-recipe NIN — with a poppier edge, if you can believe that.

It’s nice to see industrial music back in the wider musical conversation. And, with all the production tools available to Reznor, it’s fun and surprising to see him strip the music back down to its gnarled roots.

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