Following the tour for the The Fragile album Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor released sixteen of those live cuts as And All That Could Have Been in 2002. Instead of being alone in the studio with all his instruments, Reznor is out on the road with a real band showing the full power of his music this time.
The album doesn’t start with a fade-in as other live records would, instead Terrible Lie kicks in with loud drum beats and hard synthesizer sequences, creating the typical NIN sound. Very interesting is the guitar and synthesizer interplay during the whole album.
Sin follows immediately with similar sounds but March Of The Pigs turns the speed up to the maximum, rocking hard with Reznor screaming a lot. After the lighter Piggy the quiet piano instrumental The Frail calms things down, segueing into the hard ballad The Wretched, an excellent example of Nine Inch Nails’ slow power. A great track!
These speed and atmosphere changes go on with the next tracks as well, revealing how good the older songs (from 1989-1994) fit to the newer ones. They don’t seem to be that old and haven’t been changed all that much which shows how good they really are. The hits Closer and Head Like A Hole for example simply sound fantastic. Also, a nice rendition of Hurt ends the album without a fade-out.
And All That Could Have Been gives the listener the true power of Nine Inch Nails, but the most interesting thing is the mix of genres. Ranging from electro-pop and quiet soundscapes to fast industrial metal, Reznor and his band show what they can do – and it is good, indeed.
written by Wolfgang Merx