Ghosts V: Together" / "Ghosts VI: Locusts

The Null Corporation
rating icon 9 / 10

Track listing:

"Ghosts V: Together"
01. Letting Go While Holding On
02. Together
04. With Faith
05. Apart
06. Your Touch
07. Hope We Can Again
08. Still Right Here

"Ghosts VI: Locusts"
01. The Cursed Clock
02. Around Every Corner
03. The Worriment Waltz
04. Run Like Hell
05. When It Happens (Don't Mind Me)
06. Another Crashed Car
07. Temp Fix
08. Trust Fades
09. A Really Bad Night
10. Your New Normal
11. Just Breathe
12. Right Behind You
14. So Tired
15. Almost Dawn

The notion that art can be a refuge and sanctuary couldn't be any more relevant than now, during our collective confrontation with the global chaos and uncertainty that's associated with the coronavirus. No one will save the world with their music nor their music collections, but music can be a lifeline for some individuals. There is no better time than now for NINE INCH NAILS to enter the room and save the day. The legendary act has just dropped "Ghosts V: Together" and "Ghosts VI: Locusts" on the band's website as a free download, and Trent Reznor and company have, not surprisingly, delivered impressive material yet again.

More than a decade has passed since NIN's initial, related effort: "Ghosts I – IV", a sedated and numbing collection of instrumental tracks. Here, Reznor is of course once again joined by longtime collaborator Atticus Ross. Continuity from the recent "Add Violence" and "Bad Witch" releases strings through the current "Ghosts" effort in terms of the cinematic approach, the element of rage, and with regard to the masterful employment and utilization of negative space.

Compared to the numerous experimental, drifting tracks on "Ghosts I – IV", the new releases are delivered with a relatively greater sense of cohesion and unity. While the 2008 version of "Ghosts" featured generic, placeholder track titles, the new songs have traditional song titles, and they flow together more concisely, logically and mellifluously.

"Ghosts V: Together" exudes a sense of optimism via ambient and soul-searching soundscapes. Silence is given breath and life with the spacious humming and swelling of simple, innocent piano parts and calm, buzzing electronics. "Your Touch" exhibits an almost (happy) drunken stagger that spreads apart but eventually finds its way home as the pieces start coming together. And album closer, "Still Right Here", adequately foreshadows the second album of the double-headed release with its references to the classic aggressive side of early era NIN.

If this first part represents humanity's hope for a better tomorrow, "Ghosts VI: Locusts" takes a turn toward the dark side. The angst is much more tangible. The nail-biting anxiety of humankind in our current state is much more palpable. It's also the more exciting album of the duo. "When It Happens (Don't Mind Me)" is jarring with its stabbing keys and chords that strike like a flesh tenderizing hammer. And spastic, seizure-inducing trip-hop colors "Run Like Hell", a track that is otherwise suffocating with darkness. It's just as inspiring as it is unsettling.

Sure, the new "Ghosts" collection is much more defined and cohesive in comparison to the first "Ghosts" release twelve years ago. But that is relative. Reznor had an element of youthful arrogance and know-it-all sense of purpose with his defiant releases decades ago. Most of us think we know it all when we are fresh, green buds. But the new releases entail a sense of wandering, a sense of wondering. Reznor has become humbler with age. It seems he feels the uncertainty that we all do, if the new "Ghosts" is any indication. And, most importantly, the new "Ghosts" exhibits a sliver of undying hope.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).