Year Zero - Nine Inch Nails

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. Reznor sets his machinery on "kill" and points it toward authority and herd mentality. [Jun 2007, p.158]
  2. "Year Zero" is a total marriage of the pop and gamer aesthetics that unlocks the rusty cages of the music industry and solves some key problems facing rock music as its cultural dominance dissolves into dust. It's easy for even Reznor appreciators to overlook this accomplishment, because "Year Zero" also works as pure pop.
  3. This is one of the most forward-thinking “rock” albums to come down the pike in some time, playing with the genre in both form and function while showing off Reznor’s ridiculous resevoir of ideas in fine fashion.
  4. Listened to as a journey from beginning to end, this is a genuine attempt to progress to pastures new after With Teeth.
  5. Year Zero is the finest Nine Inch Nails recording since Downward Spiral. Its songs are memorable, beautifully constructed and articulated.
  6. Amid its carefully calibrated sonic assaults, Year Zero has a number of tracks that will stop you in yours.
  7. 80
    THe music is scarily gripping... his best computer blues since 1994's The Downward Spiral. [May 2007, p.108]
  8. On Year Zero, Reznor doesn't exactly sound like he's having fun -- does he ever? But he runs out of disc space before he runs out of ideas, and it's the first time that's happened in quite a while.
  9. Make no mistake this is NIN as usual, but [it is] an effortless, inspired, and unaffected Trent Reznor the likes of which we may not have had the pleasure of knowing for almost a decade and a half.
  10. 80
    It's the post-apocalyptic sonics, the industrial-strength bombast and buzzing bondage-core that mightily sustains its frightening 16-track, one-hour run-time.
  11. It's classic Nine Inch Nails with a few extra-disturbing flourishes.
  12. It's dark and harrowing, but "Year Zero" is the most compelling and fully realized album Reznor has made since "Pretty Hate Machine."
  13. Applaud Reznor for attempting something that doesn't read like school graffiti; shake your little fist at him for doing it anyway.
  14. It's fun to hear Trent Reznor play other roles and fire holes into the technology he's been so vital in employing. [21 Apr 2007]
  15. “Year Zero” is much more seductive than “With Teeth,” partly because of all the so-called noise.... If all these sounds often distract listeners from Mr. Reznor’s lyrics, well, so much the better.
  16. Low on anthemic hooks and heavy on riotous noise breaks, Year Zero finds Reznor waving his digital hardcore flag high.
  17. Besides a batch of solid singles – electro-punk death march "Survivalism," fiendishly swinging "Capital G" – every so often Year Zero devolves into a feverish barrage of squelches and squalls that comes off as mood music for especially amorous androids.
  18. Year Zero doesn't just fall short of the promo campaign; it doesn't even rank among NIN's most adventurous efforts.
  19. Everything here sounds familiar.
  20. 60
    Nothing sounds more dated than an ageing futurist, and it's only when Trent cuts loose... that we get a glimpse of the world-beater we know he can be. [May 2007, p.103]
  21. Its nihilism can grate, but it makes an impression.
  22. Reznor seems to eschew depth for surface explosions and instant gratification, and the result is a finished product that, while decent on an individual track, doesn't hold up as Year Zero progresses.
  23. Thematically it's overboard and at 16 tracks over 60 minutes repetitious and ham-fisted. But musically, Year Zero offers moments of industrial brilliance.
  24. Hearing new material from this old warhorse at a time when it’s most needed is damn reassuring; however, it cannot be said, in all honesty, that the music on Year Zero is good.
  25. A number of tracks here follow a similar, frustrating formula. For three minutes they showcase Reznor’s worst tendencies; the boorish plod of the choruses, the hoarse moan of the vocals. On the remainder of each of these songs Reznor does what he’s good at – i.e. creating delicious layers of chaotic industrial noise.
  26. Year Zero massively benefits from lowered expectations. Reznor channels his anger, focuses it and takes a much-needed breather from his tried-and-true formula of nihilism and the question of self-destruction, but at its core the album has very little to teach us or anything original to say.
  27. This is just one long squelchy fart of a soundscape that Reznor himself admits is probably too long. It's certainly too unremitting.
  28. 50
    The songs drag in the middle, choruses become interchangeable, and too many tracks end with the same electronic stuttering. [May 2007, p.84]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 220 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 99 out of 107
  2. Negative: 5 out of 107
  1. CraigC.
    May 29, 2008
    THE best NIN album thus far!
  2. RingoDingo
    Sep 6, 2007
    Terrible. I guess I bought the non-concept version because mine sucks. No immagery, no hooks, very forgetable. I listed to it twice, tried to Terrible. I guess I bought the non-concept version because mine sucks. No immagery, no hooks, very forgetable. I listed to it twice, tried to make it a third time through but got bored. I then popped in 90's NIN, cried a little, because like Nirvana that music will not be created anymore. Trent isnt dead, just his ideas. You can post masterpiece on a canvas smeared with fecal matter and people will buy it. I guess Trent smeared fecal matter on a mixing console and you all bought it. Full Review »
  3. JK.
    Aug 8, 2007
    Fantastic album.