in Oslo Spektrum, Norway, May 12, 2014

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

All photos by Kristian Singh-Nergård

Reminiscent of Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails opened their show with four synths lined up beside each other at the front of the stage. This rendition of NIN is made up of main man Trent Reznor (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Robin Finck (guitar, keyboards), Ilan Rubin (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards) and Alessandro Cortini (guitar, bass, keyboards). All of them were playing at the front of the stage on the first two songs, Year Zero’s “Me I’m Not” and Hesitation Marks’ “Copy Of A”. After the two songs they dropped the backdrop to reveal a drum kit and a much roomier stage.

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

It’s been almost seven years since the masters of Industrial Rock last visited Norway, and in front of 4500 not-so-young people, Mr. Reznor and the rest of the band gave them what they came for and then some! The lyrics dealing with problems in society and in Reznor’s life are still as relevant and as to the point today as they were in the mid-’90s, and the dynamics of the music is stunning. You have the heavy and almost chaotic parts that are relieved by the calm and atmospheric. Rarely has the sound been better during a concert in Oslo Spektrum.

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

The lighting throughout the concert was also spectacular. The backdrop that divided the stage when drums weren’t needed, served as a 3D wall with art synced to the tempo of the music. The effects were simple yet impressive and the entire show seemed thoroughly planned.

The youngster Ilan Rubin was born the year NIN released their debut album. He impressively handled four instruments during the show and gave the band the much-needed human element when he played the drums. NIN experiments a lot with electronic drums and sounds, and mixing it up with the organic sound of the drums from time to time is a good fit for the band.

Photo by Kristian Singh-Nergård

The setlist was varied and included songs off most of NIN’s albums from the debut Pretty Hate Machine (1989) via their landmark album The Downward Spiral (1994) to last year’s Hesitation Marks. Especially welcome was the aforementioned show opener, the songs “March Of The Pigs” and “Closer” off The Downward Spiral as well as a different version of “Sanctified” off Pretty Hate Machine and “Hand Covers Bruise” from Reznor’s Oscar winning soundtrack to the movie The Social Network, with a seamless transition to “Beside You In Time” off With Teeth. They also found space for five songs off their 2013 comeback album Hesitation Marks, and of course, the well-known “Hurt.”

A NIN show in 2014 is filled with nostalgia, but it’s much more than that. Reznor is 49 years old, yet he performs with the intensity and eagerness of a 25-year old and the songs were performed in new coating. Let it be known that NIN is not a dated band. Trent Reznor is back and he is hungrier than ever!


Me, I’m Not / Copy Of A / The Beginning Of The End / March Of The Pigs / Piggy / The Frail / The Wretched / Survivalism / Gave Up / Sanctified / Closer / Find My Way / Disappointed / Came Back Haunted / Hand Covers Bruise (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross cover) / Beside You In Time / Wish / Only / The Hand That Feeds / Head Like A Hole
Encore: All Time Low / The Day The World Went Away / Hurt


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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