Picks and Pans Review: The Downward Spiral

updated 04/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Nine Inch Nails

It's hard to imagine how an album that sounds as if it were recorded on an active airport runway could be captivating, but that's what this disc loudly achieves. Chief Nail Trent Reznor, who wrote and sings all the material, manages to hammer enough melody into the wall of techno-pop he has erected to produce a surprisingly palatable album. And while Reznor hasn't written a track on Spiral that will ever see a Billboard Top 40 chart, he has accomplished something far more impressive—composing a body of songs that is fresh, innovative and mercifully unlike most of the recycled '70s tunes cramming our radios. (Nothing/TVT/Interscope)

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