My love for industrial music in the late 1980s/early 1990s led me to discover Nine Inch Nails when they released their first single. A few years later NIN played at Lollapalooza and exploded, thus becoming a household name and one of the biggest bands around at the time. What many NIN fans probably don’t know however is the story of the industrial music scene and how it gave birth to NIN and that is what this DVD attempts to rectify.
The documentary starts out by touching briefly on how the early punk rock movement changed the face of music at the time in the 1970s. It quickly jumps to how “industrial” music was started and does a good job telling that history and giving a lot of details about bands such as Throbbing Gristle (Genesis P Orridge was interviewed as part of this film) and Einsturzende Neubauten. As it travels down the lineage of the industrial music scene it talks a fair amount about Skinny Puppy and Ministry, the two bands who were perhaps the biggest influence on one Trent Reznor and led to him leaving his previous bands and starting Nine Inch Nails.
At this point they begin the extremely thorough and detailed history of Nine Inch Nails. They cover every aspect of the band forming, recording, signing record contracts, releasing records, etc. It is told in order and I found the stories about Trent and the process of how each record was recorded totally fascinating. As this is one of those “unauthorized biographies” there is no participation in this documentary by Trent himself so the story is told by former band mates, friends, and music industry people. There are live clips recorded throughout the years as well as some older interview footage of the band from various points in their career. The story is so well told that direct participation from Reznor himself isn’t something that you notice as missing.
The Documentary is quite long, clocking in at two hours and 15 minutes but it didn’t feel that long because the story was very interesting and a long time fan of NIN, I was very interested in learning a lot of history about the band that I wasn’t aware of. Bonus material consists of interview footage of Gennis P. Orridge telling the story about how Industrial music got its name.
Fans of NIN interested in the history of the band and the genre of music that birthed it would be advised to pick this up as it’s a fascinating story and a good way to kill a couple of hours on a rainy day.