- 04 Mar 20
Steiner assesses the iconic record's influence on '90s rock
“The Downward Spiral is Nine Inch Nails’ most consistent, unified piece of music and remains one of the most artistically and culturally significant albums of the 1990s.” So writes Adam Steiner in the introduction to his new history of Trent Reznor’s 1994 masterpiece.
Into The Never is both a work of criticism and an attempt to place the LP in the context of its time and place. It’s a fascinating read and Steiner does well getting inside the head of Reznor and in assessing the record’s influence on ’90s rock.
“The Downward Spiral explores the depths of one human being’s capacity for pain and suffering in the face of nihilistic self-annihilation,” he explains. It is, he adds, “a descent into his own personal hell”. It sounds like Reznor was a keen supporter of the Cork footballers through that period.
This makes it sound like a heavy read. But Steiner writes briskly and his passion for the music shines brightly. The cultural significance of NIN is greatly underappreciated and for those seeking a deeper understanding of Reznor, his influences and his part in the continuum of popular music, this is an indispensable primer.