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Nine Inch Nails And All That Could Have Been

By Max Lamkin, Contributor
Monday, March 4, 2002 @ 3:46 AM


(Nothing/Interscope Records)

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When you first hear of a Nine Inch Nails live album you think to yourself, well yeah, thatís a no-brainer. I mean how can you fuck that up? That is, of course, if you happen to like Nine Inch Nails. Me, I like the no-brainers. And Iím not talking about the type of no-brainers you might think Iím talking about, (i.e. dumb strippers), but the ones where you say to yourself, why didnít they think of that earlier? As it turns out, it wasnít as simple as it sounds.

With most live albums, a certain energy is captured thatís really an expansion of the original songs. Thatís the reason you buy live albums. Itís like hearing the music youíve heard a million times before for the first time. Now Iíve never seen Nine Inch Nails live, but Iíve heard that itís quite a show. In the case of And All That Could Have Been, you get a real sense of how good Nine Inch Nails performs live. Although in this case I think it wouldíve been better to have been there. This album is no substitute for the real deal. In my opinion, if youíre going to drop the coin, get the DVD. Unless of course you just have to have it all, or you have nothing better to spend your money on. Or if youíre deaf.

And All That Could Have Been is a seamless recording of a band that really knows what their doing, or the computers that generate a multitude of the sounds are properly programmed. But either way this just further supports the fact that Nine Inch Nails are a very proficient group overseen by the masterful eye of Trent Reznor. It also supports the fact that when Nine Inch Nails roll, they roll big. Huge money, huge venue, huge sound. Itís what the big time is all about. I can only imagine what their tour rider must look like. The grandiose production is very evident, but itís almost too clean for a live albumís own good. There were several times throughout the album I couldnít tell it was even live. This kind of goes against the very principle of live albums. Maybe upping the levels of the crowd microphones wouldíve done the trick.

All in all, this is a good album for Nine Inch Nails. Itís a one-stop shopping, if you will, of their most popular songs. Which is good for all you people who like them but donít want to go for the whole catalogue. However, if you absolutely love Nine Inch Nails, there is no doubt about it, this is a must have. Considering their large fan base this should make a few suits very happy. Had I not received an advance copy, I still wouldíve bought it.

***


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