- Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor (vocals, various instruments).
- Additional personnel: Danny Lohner, Adrian Belew (guitar); Flood (synthesizer, programming); Andy Kubiszewski, Chris Vrenna, Stephen Perkins (drums).
- Engineers: Sean Beavan, Chris Vrenna, Alan Moulder.
- Recorded at Le Pig, Beverly Hills, California; The Record Plant A&M Studios, Los Angeles, California.
- THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL was nominated for a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance.
- "Hurt" was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song.
- This deluxe edition of THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL includes a 13-track bonus disc featuring B-sides, demos, and rarities.
- Personnel: Trent Reznor (vocals, guitar, electronics); Danny Lohner, Dave Navarro, Adrian Belew (guitar); Chris Vrenna (drums, sampler); Stephen Perkins (drums); Andy Kubiszewski (drums).
- Audio Mixers: Trent Reznor; James H. Brown; Alan Moulder; Sean Beavan; Bill Kennedy.
- Audio Remixer: Trent Reznor.
- Recording information: A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA; Le Pig, Beverly Hills, CA; South Beach Studios; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA.
- Photographers: David Buckland; Rob Sheridan.
- Unknown Contributor Roles: Coil; Drew McDowall; Danny Hyde; John Balance; Peter Christopherson; Tommy Lee.
- Arranger: Trent Reznor.
- Universal's Chronicles reissues division has stuck with memorable albums of at least 20, and more often 30 years' vintage for its "Deluxe Edition" series of two-disc expansions, with titles like Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Bob Marley's Legend the rule. So, looking back a mere ten years to Nine Inch Nails' multi-platinum industrial landmark The Downward Spiral is a surprise. For added attraction, the original album has been remastered to SACD and remixed for 5.1 Surround Sound. Given that this is a relatively recent work, the sound improvement is not as drastic as it has been for older albums, but the effect of the reworkings is, as usual, to open up the sound, providing greater clarity and separation. This might not necessarily be a good thing in the industrial metal style, which depends for its effect on a dense, sometimes distorted sound, but it works well for The Downward Spiral because of all those sudden edits that take the music from a loud, noisy sound picture down to a solo vocal or acoustic guitar; those juxtapositions are emphasized even more here and are, if possible, even more startling than they were originally. A part of the deluxe treatment usually involves a lengthy CD booklet with extensive liner notes, but this reissue disappoints in that regard, providing song lyrics and not much else. In fact, little information is provided about the disc of extras, so it is left to the reviewer to reveal that "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 cover of Soft Cell's "Memorabilia" from the March of the Pigs maxi-single; and the cover of Joy Division's "Dead Souls" from the soundtrack to The Crow. The final three tracks are previously unreleased demos of the album tracks "Ruiner," "Reptile," and "Heresy." The alternate versions often provide insight into the development of the material, and may even be preferable to the final versions for some listeners. In particular, "Hurt (Quiet)" anticipates Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" and is at least as effective as the master take. ~ William Ruhlmann
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.54) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."
Rolling Stone (3/24/94, p.92) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Nine Inch Nails achieve a new kind of loud on THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL: accessible hard rock moves overlaid with a scrim of electronic racket...THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL is music the Blade Runner might throw down to: low-tech futurism that rocks...."
Spin (9/99, p.124) - Ranked #11 in Spin Magazine's "90 Greatest Albums of the '90s."
Spin (12/94, p.76) - Rankded #4 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of '94' - "...transfixes you with the heaviest metal, the most trance-inducing rave, and the silliest synth-pop you're ever likely to hear in songs this hummable..."
Q (7/01, p.90) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time".
Q (12/99, p.171) - Included in Q Magazine's Best Gothic Albums Of All Time - "...the migraine masterpiece that catapulted [Reznor] to #2 in the Billboard charts....it's a day at the dentist's: all screeching and pulsing, but sexy with it..."
Alternative Press (7/95, p.82) - Ranked #24 in AP's list of the `Top 99 Of '85-'95' - "...This recording, coming some five years after Reznor's full-length debut, [is] a stark expose of the darkest regions of the soul: those places where our personal demons reign, and God feels unwelcome..."
Vibe (12/99, p.158) - Included in Vibe's 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century
Musician (5/94, p.72) - "...beneath all that bad attitude and aural aggro lies music of extraordinary insight, intelligence, and, yes, beauty....An astonishing piece of work...."
Village Voice (3/94, p.5) - Ranked #2 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #9 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.53) - "Displaying breathtaking invention and variety, it's a deeply textured work..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.54) - Ranked #98 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "More than a celebration of nihilism,...SPIRAL was an anguished cry for something to believe in."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.117) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Reznor's industrial-blues masterpiece still drips with vileness."
New York Times (Publisher) (1/5/95, p.C15) - Included on Jon Pareles' list of the Top 10 Albums Of '94 - "Trent Reznor orchestrates the terrors of adolescence...with creepy-crawly sounds and a clandestine sense of melody."