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March 8, 1994


3.929 (average of 7 ratings)


industrial rock



Album Tracks:

  1. Mr. Self Destruct
  2. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
  3. Heresy
  4. March of the Pigs
  5. Closer
  6. Ruiner
  7. The Becoming
  8. I Do Not Want This
  9. Big Man with a Gun
  10. A Warm Place
  11. Eraser
  12. Reptile
  13. The Downward Spiral
  14. Hurt

Sales (in millions):

sales in U.S. only 4.0
sales in U.K. only - estimated 0.06
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 4.06


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 2
peak on U.K. album chart 9

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • March of the Pigs (2/25/94) #59 US, #45 UK
  • Closer (5/7/94) #41 US, #25 UK, #35 AR, #11 MR
  • Piggy (12/24/94) #20 MR
  • Hurt (4/22/95) #54a US, #8 MR


The 2004 deluxe edition adds a second disc of bonus tracks – “‘Burn’ comes from the soundtrack to Natural Born Killers; ‘Closer (Precursor),’ ‘Closer to God,’ and ‘Memorabilia’ from the Closer to God maxi-single; ‘Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now),’ ‘Hurt (Quiet),’ and ‘The Downward Spiral (The Bottom)’ from the Further Down the Spiral remix EP; the covers of Joy Division’s ‘A Violet Fluid’ and Soft Cell’s ‘All the Pigs, All Lined Up’ from the March of the Pigs maxi-single; and ‘Dead Souls’ from the soundtrack to The Crow. The final three tracks are previously unreleased demos of the album tracks ‘Ruiner,’ ‘Reptile,’ and ‘Heresy.’” WR


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Blender’s 100 Greatest American Albums Spin Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums

The Downward Spiral

Nine Inch Nails


“Between Lollapalooza and Woodstock II, Trent Reznor settled in at the Manson murder house on L.A.’s Cielo Dive and cranked out an industrial-rock gem,” BL making Reznor “industrial’s own Phil Spector” SH and “a synth antihero.” BL “Musically complex, lyrically bleak,” BL The Downward Spiral showcased Reznor’s talent at “painting detailed, layered soundscapes from a wide tonal palette” SH while displaying a “fascination with self-destruction.” BL “Not only did [Reznor] fully integrated the crashing metal guitars of Broken, but several newfound elements – expanded song structures, odd time signatures, shifting arrangements filled with novel sounds, tremendous textural variety – can be traced to the influence of progressive rock. So can the painstaking attention devoted to pacing and contrast – The Downward Spiral is full of striking sonic juxtapositions and sudden about-faces in tone, which make for a fascinating listen.” SH

“More important than craft in turning Reznor into a full-fledged rock star, however, was his brooding persona. Grunge had the mainstream salivating over melodramatic angst, which had always been Reznor’s stock in trade. The left-field hit Closer made him a postmodern shaman for the ‘90s, obsessed with exposing the dark side he saw behind even the most innocuous façades. In fact, his theatrics on The Downward Spiral – all the preening self-absorption and serpentine sexuality – seemed directly descended from Jim Morrison. Yet Reznor’s nihilism often seemed like a reaction against some repressively extreme standard of purity, so the depravity he wallowed in didn’t necessarily seem that depraved.” SH

“That’s part of the reason why, in spite of its many virtues, The Downward Spiral falls just short of being the masterpiece it wants to be. For one thing, fascination with texture occasionally dissolves the hooky songwriting that fueled Pretty Hate Machine. But more than that, Reznor’s unflinching bleakness was beginning to seem like a carefully calibrated posture; his increasing musical sophistication points up the lyrical holding pattern. Having said that, the album ends on an affecting emotional peak – Hurt mingles drama and introspection in a way Reznor had never quite managed before. It’s evidence of depth behind the charisma that deservedly made him a star.” SH

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Last updated March 28, 2011.