Yep, it is, from a number of points, a return to the earlier (earliest), electronic periods, bearing a noticeable resemblance to Pretty Hate Machine (still one of his best albums.) Truth be told, while I did appreciate "The Slip" (his previous album), it's never grown on me. Neither have I found his work with his wife to my liking. But, fortunately, he's produced such a variety of music that makes easy to find something you like. (Being a fan of heavier music as well, in general, I have to say one of my fav NIN albums is "Broken", a distorted, guitar-heavy, yet also electronic piece... and "Fixed", its pair is brilliant as well.)
Err... I'll just stop rambling here because I've lost track of what I wanted to make of this. Sorry!
I agree! (sorry for answering this late, btw, but there are times when I log in this account only very rarely.) The Slip didn't really win me over, too.
I can't really say which one's my favorite yet. Hoping not to be sounding too silly, I have to admit that during my teenage years I didn't give Nine Inch Nails a chance. Same with TOOL. Can't explain why, but it was only until last year that I thought "how in the world did you miss these amazing musicians" and I started listening then. So I think I still am on a journey of discovery and I might have to find my favorites among their music yet. However, I love the downward spiral. Love its darkness.
Don't worry about late answers. I'm pretty familiar with them as well. (My record is, I think, about 7 years (!!!), here on dA I felt very, very ashamed about that.)
I think that journey of discovery never really ends (for some, including myself, at least.) It might slow down, almost to a halt, from time to time, but then something happens, and it speeds up again, and there you go, a brand new kind of music (or other experience) you'd never have thought would get to you. My latest such turn was, I think, discovering about a year or two ago that there's a kind of dupstep, a dark, dark, slow thing that I like and that many claim to be the original dubstep (so very unlike the stuff Skrillex does, for example) -- which was quite a shock, as I came to consider my musical taste rather settled back then. (Here, give this group a listen, maybe you'll find them interesting as well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OFdBS… )
As for TOOL, strange, but I like only a fragment of their work, a song or two from each of their albums.
TDS rocks, definitely (even though I haven't been listening to it for ages, because I practically know it by heart by now. )