The Downward Spiral

The Downward Spiral
A mixed media piece made of plaster, acrylics, oils, rusted metals, insects, moths, blood, wax, varnishes, and surgical bandaging on a wooden panel.
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 8, 1994 (1994-03-08)
Recorded1992–1993
Studio
Genre
Length65:02
Label
Producer
Nine Inch Nails chronology
Fixed
(1992)
The Downward Spiral
(1994)
Further Down the Spiral
(1995)
Nine Inch Nails studio album chronology
Pretty Hate Machine
(1989)
The Downward Spiral
(1994)
The Fragile
(1999)
Halo numbers chronology
Halo 7
(1994)
Halo 8
(1994)
Halo 9
(1994)
Singles from The Downward Spiral
  1. "March of the Pigs"
    Released: February 25, 1994
  2. "Closer"
    Released: May 30, 1994
Alternative cover
2004 Deluxe Edition cover
2004 Deluxe Edition cover

The Downward Spiral is the second studio album by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, released on March 8, 1994, by Nothing Records and Interscope Records in the United States and by Island Records in Europe. It is a concept album detailing the destruction of a man from the beginning of his "downward spiral" to his death by suicide. The Downward Spiral features elements of industrial rock, techno and heavy metal, in contrast to the band's synthpop-influenced debut album Pretty Hate Machine (1989), and was produced by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Flood.

In 1992, Reznor moved to 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, where actress Sharon Tate was murdered by members of the Manson Family. It was used as a studio called "Le Pig" for recording Broken (1992) and The Downward Spiral with collaborations from other musicians. The album was influenced by late-1970s rock music albums such as David Bowie's Low and Pink Floyd's The Wall in particular, and focused on texture and space. The album spawned two singles, "March of the Pigs" and "Closer", in addition to the promotional singles "Piggy" and "Hurt". "March of the Pigs" and "Closer" were accompanied by music videos, with the former shot twice and the latter's heavily censored.

The Downward Spiral was a commercial success, and established Nine Inch Nails as a reputable force in the 1990s music scene, with its sound being widely imitated and Reznor receiving media attention and multiple honors, while descending into drug abuse and depression. It has been regarded by music critics and audiences as one of the most important albums of the 1990s, and was praised for its abrasive and eclectic nature and dark themes, although it was scrutinized by social conservatives for some of its lyrics. A remix album titled Further Down the Spiral was released in 1995.