Broken - EP
Pretty Hate Machine established Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor as a creative yet commercial recording artist; his industrial tones managed to find a groove that attracted rather than repelled an audience. Reznor, however, wasn’t just some grinder-come-lately but a technologically astute musician who understood the dynamics of intense music and who was looking for new ways to express his inner rage. Broken is the 1992 EP that firmly established his reputation and set up the anticipation for his incredibly abrasive masterwork, 1994’s The Downward Spiral. Broken begins with barely a whisper (“Pinion”) before throwing itself full-force into an industrial fan of rough-shard guitars and dramatic atmospherics. “Wish,” “Last,” and “Happiness In Slavery” form a powerful core that stands out that much more considering the overall brevity of the project. By the time the EP peaks with “Gave Up,” NIN has almost transformed into the most sonically enhanced garage band of all-time. Two additional hidden tracks are featured in a cover of Adam Ant’s “(You’re So) Physical” that features Reznor’s most sensual vocal to date, and “Suck,” a tense piece that bounces between a light funk and a doom-laden resolution.