Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (Photo: John Crawford)

Now deeply into the “do whatever the hell I want, when I want” phase of his career, Trent Reznor announced today that Nine Inch Nails will drop a new EP a week from tomorrow. And because Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross are, like everyone else, acutely aware of the shitshow surrounding us these days, they’re calling the EP Add Violence.

Add Violence’s cover

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Well, we’re reading into that part. The official word is that the Add Violence is the second of a planned EP trilogy, which kicked off last December with the fine-but-unmemorable Not The Actual Events. The press release also mentions that the trilogy’s “narrative arc” will emerge in Add Violence, including its “clue-filled” cover artwork and “accompanying physical component,” which Reznor is selling exclusively through NIN.com. That recalls the Easter-egg-laden story around 2007’s solid Year Zero, which put clues about the album’s story on everything from T-shirts to random thumb drives left at venues.

What’s most noticeable about “Less Than,” the first song released from the EP, is how it sounds like an amalgam of sounds from Nine Inch Nail’s nearly 30-year history: the strikingly Pretty Hate Machine-esque synthesizer that opens the song, the whirring sound bed of distorted, distant guitar that’s a Reznor signature, and a propulsive, chorus, à la “Bite The Hand That Feeds” or “Wish,” that expertly layers all of the elements. Then the song cuts off abruptly, another Reznor go-to, like “1,000,000” from The Slip, “Capital G” on Year Zero, “Ruiner,” and a whole bunch of others.

“Less Than” is also a great deal more fun (“fun” being relative in the Nine Inch Nails world) than the dark Not The Actual Events, which bodes well for Add Violence’s four other tracks. The full track list is below, and “Less Than” can be streamed or downloaded here. The band plays FYF Fest in LA July 23, Panorama Festival in NYC July 30, Riot Fest in Chicago Sept. 15, and Aftershock Fest in Sacramento Oct. 21.

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Add Violence:

  1. Less Than
  2. The Lovers
  3. This Isn’t The Place
  4. Not Anymore
  5. The Background World

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