Hesitation Marks is the eighth full-length album from Nine Inch Nails, recorded in secret during the year previous to its 2013 release. Trent Reznor teamed with producers Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder to create the first new music from NIN in five years. The album includes the lead single "Came Back Haunted".
Simultaneously referencing the past while pointed to the future, Hesitation Marks finds NIN relentlessly experimenting with new textures, deep grooves and restraint. The result makes for a deep, accessible listen with lots hidden under the surface.
[Came Back Haunted] rides a sleek electronic bassline over a jittery, popping beat that is increasingly overlaid with swirls of synthesizers as the tune builds to a slashing guitar break... Reznor sings with restrained, clenched-jaw intensity, his voice enveloped by the music.
Hesitation Marks surges with the energy of modern hip-hop - hey, the surge of modern everything.
Pain still punctuates the lyrics, Reznor still slides into moody black pools of sound, but there is no wallowing here, no fetishization of darkness. There is shade and light within Reznor's immaculate constructions, there is the ebb and flow of life, there is joy within the sheer sheets of sound. Hesitation Marks makes it quite clear that Trent Reznor is no longer an angry young man but rather a restless, inventive artist who is at peace with himself, and the result is a record that provides real, lasting nourishment.