Most veterans of the heavy rock genre tend to have a bit of a halo around their set of classic material. Since they have been able to stand the test of time, it’s safe to say that most of their records are near-excellent, at worst, right? Well yes, but that doesn’t mean everyone feels the same.
In every decade that rock has been alive, the toughest side of the genre has appeared with incredible albums that never got the time of day they deserved. Regardless of how much lyrics they can get today, these were treated like absolute dogs back then, either ignored entirely by audiences or outright hated by some of the die-hard fans.
With hindsight now in play, these albums should be treated like the classics they are instead of just being a placeholder between the classics.
Often times these albums can have more experimental sides of the band that made you see them in a completely different light, whether through a change of musical direction or tackling a completely different set of lyrics.
Either way, it’s the few outliers in the catalogs of these groups that still deserve serious reconsideration.
There isn’t really a roadmap for where to go after exiting something like the downward spiral. After a gigantic tour that completely exhausted him both physically and mentally, Trent Reznor seemed completely burned out of the life of a rock star. Although he made one of the darkest records imaginable, The Fragile showed that Reznor has the ability to go even darker.
Spanning two records, the Fragile is a much more eclectic mix of influences for Reznor, as it dives into heavier territory inspired by the rise of nu metal giants like Korn and Rage Against the Machine. While critics were quick to jump down Reznor’s throat about being sold out, this is one of the most biting records he’s ever made. Acting as a complement to Spiral, it feels like part of the usual NIN threat even more advanced, while sprinkling in more promising passages like We’re In This Together.
Putting aside some of the album’s richest elements like Starf * ckers Inc., this was the next logical step the industrial rock world needed, only to be ignored in favor of “cooler” bands like Limp Bizkit. . If there was any justice in this world, The Fragile would be on par with today’s legendary double albums.