Still I cannot make sense of this sticker on the album cover. The legendary institution PMRC (they created this “Explicit Lyrics” sticker) was obviously replaced by USBM, the “US Bureau Of Morality”. The sticker says that “by consuming or spreading this CD you may be deemed subversive.” So how about listening, writing a positive review and thus supporting the spreading of this CD? Will I end up on the electric chair?
I might indeed be on thin ice now. Was it trouble with USBM that delayed the release of “Year Zero”, so that it was too late for the European tour? Well, NIN can still be seen in summer at some festivals, yet without their stunning light show (see STALKER concert review). “Year Zero” presents a truly apocalyptic scenario, created by NIN Mastermind Trent Reznor, where mankind is close to extinction in a quite near future. Who is responsible, a power from the outside, which is from outer space, or from the inside, like an insane ruler – this remains vague even after reading those disturbing lyrics. Besides USBM the record company is right in labelling “Year Zero” the most political NIN album, just see the “Survivalism” single video...
Musically the sixth NIN studio CD presents more Industrial than Rock and keeps mostly mid tempo. But this fits the concept: Adjuring, hypnotic loops of e. g. “Meet Your Master” and “The Greater Good” prepare the ground to flatten the listener right afterwards with the rude rhythms of “The Great Destroyer”. With “The Beginning Of The End” and “The Warning” NIN present somehow wicked ear candy that surely becomes future musts on set lists. Outstanding is also the melancholic piano track “Another Version Of The Truth”. Although I would have preferred more heavy riffs or groove like “Capital G” - great CD!
PS: Researching USBM I discovered that this is just a gag, created by Trent Reznor after he read a lot of strange conspiracy theories. Phew, I was lucky this time ..