There’s no denying it, Nine Inch Nails (NIN) are an entity that just cannot be put down. Born from the mind of Trent Reznor, fuelled into a goliath and definer of industrial music, and then snapped away from us in 2011 with the news that Reznor was making ‘Wave Goodbye’ the last ever tour. Ever. But now, two years later after on; where music like ‘The Hand That Feeds’ and ‘Capital G’ seem like a far distant memory that may have once been true; Reznor has put egg on all our faces and revealed that he never intended to stop in 2011. With the release of the new single being one of the most surprising and anticipated single releases of the year, has ‘Came Back Haunted’ quenched the thirst of the die hard fans whilst igniting a flame of curiosity within new listeners? Or should Reznor let the legends of NIN lay in the history books?
In this reviewer’s opinion, the answer could lay in both of the above questions. As soon as ‘Came Back Haunted’ begins, it immediately appeals to the aged fan of NIN’s earlier work, tapping into streams such as The Downward Spiral. Reznor’s clearly been working on some new experimental sounds and beats, and it can be written with a sigh of relief that he’s still in touch with the spark of genius that made him a genius in the first place. By the time the track reaches the chorus however, one can’t help but think of some of his later work, circa With Teeth, which started to push into something completely different than the original vision of the band. The track is like some kind of time travellers wander through the lifespan of NIN, pulling on different aspects from the spanning career through the decades. However, this release is a double edged sword. It shows that Reznor still undeniably knows what he’s doing when making music under the persona of Nine Inch Nails, but gives nothing away on the direction of the upcoming album ‘Hesitation Marks‘ (due for release 3rd September 2013). Make of it what you will, but ‘Came Back Haunted’ is certainly a comeback that still holds most of its cards against its chest, certainly making it a player to watch this year.