The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his attempt at suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal music, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.
The Downward Spiral was conceived after the Lollapalooza 1991 festival tour as a pivot for Reznor's personal issues and the "negative vibe" felt by the band. The following year, Reznor moved to 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. It was used as a studio called "Le Pig" for recording Broken and The Downward Spiral with collaborations from other musicians. The album was influenced by late-1970s rock music albums such as David Bowie's Low and Pink Floyd's The Wall in particular, and focused on texture and space.
The Downward Spiral was promoted with the Self Destruct Tour, which debuted the band's grungy and messy image. Many concerts were violent and chaotic, with band members often injuring themselves and destroying their instruments. The album spawned two singles, "March of the Pigs" and "Closer", in addition to the promotional singles "Piggy" and "Hurt". "March of the Pigs" and "Closer" were accompanied by music videos, with the former shot twice and the latter's heavily censored. The Downward Spiral was a major commercial success, and established Nine Inch Nails as a reputable force in the 1990s music scene, with its sound being widely imitated and Reznor receiving media hype and multiple honors, while diverging into drug abuse and depression. It has been regarded by music critics and audiences as one of the most important albums of the 1990s, and was praised for its abrasive and eclectic nature and dark themes, although it was scrutinized by social conservatives for some of its lyrics. A remix album titled Further Down the Spiral was released in 1995. For its tenth anniversary, the album was remastered and re-released on November 23, 2004 in high-resolution Super Audio CD (SACD) and DualDisc formats.
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John Malm, Jr.
March of the Pigs
Further Down the Spiral
Rolling Stone: 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: 2012 edition (number: 201)
en: The Downward Spiral [info]
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