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Since their inception in the metal heartland and rock stronghold of Cleveland, Ohio, Trent Reznor's Nine Inch Nails have been pioneers in their field. Broadly categorised in the early days as an industrial rock band they've stuck to first principles while shifting their focus with each successive album and achieved a level of success based on a fanatical following that makes a mockery of any idea they were ever cut out to be a cult act. With US sales alone exceeding 11 million and worldwide figures climbing past the 30 million plus mark. Reznor himself is a persuasive advocate for his craft and for alternative music in general. Something of a spokesman for the then blank generation - or Gen X - his eloquent tirades against perceived methodology has seen him fingered by Time (in 1969) as one of the most influential people in America, by Spin as the most vital artist in music and by Rolling Stone as leader of one of the greatest artists of all time. Nine Inch Nails' progress has caused much speculation as to the origins of their name but for once Reznor remains fairly tight lipped on specifics and prefers to point to a term that's easily abbreviated and instantly memorable. If listeners choose to interpret the title as some kind of religious iconography, that's up to them but the name does suit the overall effect of the music wherein the bleak and hardcore sounds of earlier discs are soon embellished with euphoric and sublime passages.
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