Bad Witch comes as the follow-up to 2017’s Add Violence and brings an end to a trilogy of EPs that kicked off with 2016’s Not the Actual Events. This record is living proof that artists like Trent Reznor are willing to push the envelope, experiment and push the boundaries of what is considered the norm in any genre of music. I’ll tell you right of the bat, that even some established fans of Nine Inch Nails may have difficulty getting on with this release.
The opening track “Shit Mirror” is the closest it gets to any conventions of what could be considered a “regular” song, but only just! It’s distorted, dark and Reznor’s vocals match the tone of the song seamlessly. “Play the Goddamned Part”, an instrumental track, plays out more like the industrial metal equivalent of a jazz club jam session. There is no rhyme or reason or definable point to this track, in fact it’s best not to think too much about it and sit back and enjoy the ride; if you try to follow this, you may find yourself falling down a rabbit hole of madness!
“I’m Not from This World” follows a similar path with no clearly defined logic behind the music. Midway through and we have the track that would fit perfectly into a club scene in one of The Matrix movies, “God Break Down the Door”, where the fast-paced drum n’ bass is juxtaposed by Reznor’s gloomy vocals. Throughout the track it shifts in tone, never really giving the listener a chance to acclimatise. The closing track, “Over and Out” sticks with the mood of what has proceeded, ensuring that anyone listening to simply cannot switch off from it, gradually building up to a level of distress before slowly descending down to silence.
Check out the single “God Break Down The Door” here.
If I’m 100% honest, for me, NIN can be very hit and miss and more often than not, I find Reznor comes across a little pretentious for my liking – Bad Witch is an excellent example of what I mean. However, on the flip side of that conclusion, it is refreshing to see an artist take a step back and produce something for themselves and not what the masses expect. Yes, it will most likely garner negative responses from certain corners, but it will tap into the hearts and souls of those who yearn to have their audio senses challenged. I’d like to end this with a question: did anyone else notice that with each track, the songs increased in length? I wonder if Reznor planned this!
Bad Witch Track Listing:
01. Shit Mirror
02. Ahead of Ourselves
03. Play the Goddamned Part
04. God Break Down the Door
05. I’m Not from This World
06. Over and Out
Run Time: 30:15
Release Date: June 22, 2018
Record Label: The Null Corporation