Nine Inch Nails - "Came Back Haunted"

Considering the insane scope of Trent Reznor’s influence, it’s actually kind of hard to remember precisely the sound that made him famous — sleazy, aggro, wounded industrial pop-metal — and the last time he wrote music in that style. He’s certainly done it no more recently than 1994, via Nine Inch Nails’ towering classic The Downward Spiral, but even that album was a couple degrees removed from his platonic ideal: NIN’s 1989 debut Pretty Hate Machine. Last week, Reznor issued a promise that a new NIN record was forthcoming and it would be “fucking great,” but for some time now, his projects have been not much better than “fucking decent.” Today, though, Reznor produces some evidence to back up his boast: NIN’s new single, “Came Back Haunted,” as well as tour dates and album details. The new NIN record will be called Hesitation Marks, and it will drop on September 3 — NIN is touring alternately with Explosions In The Sky and Godspeed (!). “Came Back Haunted” is probably the best and most accurate song title I’ve heard this year: The new single is a ferocious return to the “classic” NIN style, and it is totally the sound of a man possessed. In the details it’s far lusher and deeper than Pretty Hate Machine — Reznor has accumulated a Pentagon-esque arsenal of black-ops technology over the last two and a half decades, and the dude is basically a studio perfectionist/genius of Steely Dan proportions — but the bile and kick are absolutely primal. Ghosts in the machine, for real. Listen, tour dates below.

NIN tour dates:

07/26 Niigata, Japan @ Fuji Rocks Festival
07/28 Ansan, South Korea @ Ansan Valley Festival
08/02 – 08/04 Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/09 – 08/11 San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands
08/15 Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop
08/16 Biddinghuizen, Holland @ Lowlands Festival
08/18 Hockenheim, Germany @ Rock ‘n’ Heim
08/21 Belfast, Northern Ireland @ Belsonic Festival
08/23 Leeds, England @ Leeds Festival
08/24 Paris, France @ Rock en Seine
08/25 Reading, England @ Reading Festival
08/28 Milan, Italy @ Mediolanum Forum
08/31 – 09/01 Philadelphia, PA @ Made in America Festival
09/28 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center *
09/30 Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center *
10/01 St. Louis, MO @ Chaifetz Arena *
10/03 Montreal, Quebec @ Centre Bell *
10/04 Toronto, Ontario @ Air Canada Centre *
10/05 Cleveland, OH @ Wolstein Center *
10/07 Auburn Hill, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills *
10/08 Pittsburgh, PA @ Petersen Events Center *
10/11 Boston, MA @ TD Garden #
10/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center #
10/15 Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center #
10/18 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center #
10/19 University Park, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center #
10/21 Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena #
10/22 Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena #
10/24 Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena #
10/25/27 Asheville, NC @ Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit
10/30 Sunrise, FL @ BB&T Center
10/31 Orlando, FL @ Amway Center
11/01/03 New Orleans, LA @ Voodoo Music Experience
11/05 San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center *
11/08 Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center *
11/09 Phoenix, AZ @ US Airways Center *
11/11 El Paso, TX @ Don Haskins Center *
11/13 Broomfield, CO @ 1st Bank Center *
11/15 Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint *
11/16 Las Vegas, NV @ The Joint *
11/18 Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena *
11/19 Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena *
11/21 Vancouver, British Columbia @ Rogers Arena *
11/22 Seattle, WA @ KeyArena *
11/24 Edmonton, Alberta @ Rexall Place
11/25 Calgary, Alberta @ Scotiabank Saddledome
* with Explosions in the Sky
# with Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Comments (29)
  1. This is amazing. And I never really dove into NIN either, aside from a few listens of With Teeth and that dystopian-concept one.

    But yeah, this fucking kills.

  2. My NiN experience was always limited to Downward Spiral and The Slip, but I’m gonna have to listen to his stuff more (always liked Reznor’s collabs with Ross a little more). But this song is awesome.

  3. I’m admitting Ive only heard The Downward Spiral and With Teeth. This song just inspired me to dive into their discography. Today is going to be fun!

  4. What a great batch of early comments! New NIN causing a second look into Trent’s epic discography.

    I highly recommend “The Fragile” to anyone. I think it’s the best example of showing all the different types of music Trent is capable of making. Of course, “Pretty Hate Machine” tells the story of how NIN became so popular in the first place. I always felt “With Teeth” was his weakest album (I can’t even find it on my computer) but “Year Zero” actually impressed the hell out of me. It could’ve been the heat-activated CD that started black and when you were done running it through yr CD player, was white with binary all over it. “The Slip” is also straight forward NIN amazeballs. “Corona Radiata” into “The Four of Us are Dying” is one of my favorite 2-song combos of post-2000 NIN.

    AS FOR THIS SONG, holy hell. At the 4:40 mark is that electric guitar playing the classic “Closer” refrain? Because if you go to there is HEAVY Downward Spiral imagery. If he wants to summon up those demons again, I’ll be more than pleased. “The Downward Spiral” is one of the greatest LPs ever released IMHO. I still remember showing up to his 3rd Wave Goodbye show and hearing everyone talk about how he played TDS in its entirety the previous night. I practically cried. But the 3rd show had Peter Murphy covering “Lost Souls” by Joy Division so I still went home happy.

    I’m currently planning to go to the Brooklyn show because A) was already planning to head that way for my first CMJ and B) Hello! godspeed you! black emperor (Trent really outdid himself on finding opening bands this time around)

    All this nin news is makes me super excited. Plus, didn’t Trent say with this new line-up they’d be performing songs from the nin catalogue that they usually don’t play live? And also NOT playing songs they normally play live? I’d love some deep cuts in the set.

    • I thought that With Teeth is one of Trent’s finest.

      • GUYS! Sometimes professionals say; “If you are not growing, you are dead….”
        This is true to real music. All professional and mature musicians change their conceptual aspect and taste when they release new album everytime. NIN is one of them. A very profound and complex music. NIN’s new album will also be very different than previous records. So we don’t need to compare it with ex-records. And observe the new conceptual aspects instead. NIN is one of the greatest experimentalist in the music industry…as it brings something new to the table which will be case with HESITATION MARKS… catch it up

  5. aside from the synth sample near the end, it’s not really much of a return to the old NIN days. at least i don’t think so. it’s actually pretty similar to the past few records.

    but damn, that’s a pretty good song. i’m really crossing my fingers for some great moments on the new record. while i definitely LIKE the past few NIN albums, i find myself returning to only the downward spiral and the fragile. i feel like with teeth is reznor’s template for every record since 2005 (maybe predated by pretty hate machine), and aside from ghosts i-iv, he’s kind of fixated on crafting perfect pop industrial songs for albums instead of focusing on some of the more introverted soundscapes and expanse of spiral and fragile. i like the melodies of those records more, as well.

  6. Holy hell, NIN still makes me feel God.

  7. Really good song.. I find it interesting the types of bands NIN is touring with this time around (Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed..). Maybe it’s the music media coverage, but somehow they’ve become extremely friendly to the indie circles, which is cool. My favorite will always be “Broken” I think.

    • Off the top of my head (please fill in any I missed) since 2005 he’s had some fairly indie band openers:

      TV On the Radio
      Death from Above 1979
      The Horrors
      A Place to Bury Strangers

      That’s all I can remember, I’m sure I’m missing more. I think choosing Explosions & Godspeed for openers is his best selection to date… except BORIS opening for NIN was pretty damned spectacular too.

      • Right on.. I haven’t seen them live in quite a while. Last time I did, A Perfect Circle opened, and that’s a little more of the overlapping fanbase I generally associate with Nine Inch Nails…. Come to think of it, I think Deerhunter opened on maybe the last tour.. Pretty sure the crowd hated them… Then again the crowd loathed them when they opened for Spoon in Detroit a couple years ago (me excluded).

        • Yeah Deerhunter was with them at one point! I’m sure there are a few others, why do I wanna say Thursday opened for them? That obviously sinks up more with NIN fans, but you’re right on the adverse crowd reactions. I think I recall HEALTH saying they were getting received with confusingly.

          But bands like NIN or TOOL that have diehard rabid fanbases that probably listen to metal more than indie tend to have those harsh reactions to opening bands. It sucks, especially when Trent does such a good job finding those indie bands that really should crossover and EXPAND his fans music taste.

          When he came through OK twice the openers were BORIS and A Place to Bury Strangers. I think those went over well from sheer noise alone. Nobody can really voice a dissenting opinion when you can’t hear your own voice. Plus BORIS are Japanese so fuck the haters!

          Oh shit… I just got terrible visions of assholes yelling during the quiet parts of Godspeed & Explosions… fuck.

          • Yeah… small minds. I experienced this about a dozen years ago. I generally see bands a small or midsize venues, but this was at a large arena in Grand Rapids, MI. It was a double headliner, the Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters.. I boycotted the Foos, cuz Dave Grohl should stick to fucking drumming, but anyways Blonde Redhead was handpicked by RHCPs to open.. This miserable chick behind me nearly got throttled for her incessant booing at the band she clearly wasn’t there to see. It seems people should at least give the opener a chance.. I’ll bet those same folks would brag about seeing them if they ever got big….. and somebody has to be pretty gawdawful to deserve boos.

      • When he came through OKC in 2006, Saul Williams was his opener. The crowd wasn’t that into him, but the end result was Niggy Tardust, so ultimately worth it for Saul hopefully.

  8. wow…i’m hooked again!

  9. Sounds more Year Zero than any other album. Yum.

  10. I guess I’m the odd one out but I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Kind of sounds like a dinosaur trying to relive his glory days of music-making. The growled, doubled “Came back haunted” in the chorus borders on satire.

  11. I’m actually hearing a bit of Pretty Hate Machine with a 25 year update here. Which is a good thing in my opinion. I haven’t really been into NIN since The Fragile, but this one is bringing me back around. Here’s hoping the album is just as good!

  12. I really dig this, and may even end up thinking its great, but for right now the synth patch in the chorus is kind of bugging me. It’s too thick, and a little too far forward in the mix. It distracts from what is otherwise some stellar production on this one. This style of song, where it feels like the music is pushing you forward, is one of Trent’s regular touchstones. It’s nice to know that he hasn’t lost the ability, or the desire, to craft it into an solid verse/chorus/verse song.

    Regarding people listening to NIN they’ve never heard…. WHAT?! How is it possible that you haven’t listened to all of it? I kid, of course. But I find it near shocking that anybody could listen to anything he’s done and not want to hear more. Particularly the Downward Spiral, though. Of course, I waited years to hear that album back in the 90s, so I probably have a different perspective. As has been mentioned, check out everything. There are some high and low points after The Fragile, but even the lows are a better listen than most of what qualifies as “popular music” these days.

    • Also his live albums/dvds are phenomenal as well. They sort of work as a “Best Of” with the added bonus of hearing the songs truly come to life in a live setting.

  13. I’m super stoked for new NIN and I’ve got Came Back Haunted on repeat. I think it has a The Fragile feel towards it- not towards the Broken days- but I’m still loving it. This is exactly what I need to get back into NIN’s discography.
    I’m also really excited to see NIN tour again. Trent does an awesome job doing live shows. Probably one of the best in the business.

  14. laaaaaaaaaaaame. grandpa’s irate again.

  15. COME BACK HAUNTED fuck yes! NIN is really back. Preordered because i have no patience. And this tour is gonna be ridiculous. NIN and Godspeed! see you there.

  16. GUYS! Sometimes professionals say; “If you are not growing, you are dead….”
    This is true to real music. All professional and mature musicians change their conceptual aspect and taste when they release new album everytime. NIN is one of them. A very profound and complex music. NIN’s new album will also be very different than previous records. So we don’t need to compare it with ex-records. And observe the new conceptual aspects instead. NIN is one of the greatest experimentalist in the music industry…as it brings something new to the table which will be case with HESITATION MARKS…

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