Not the Actual Events

Nine Inch Nails - Not the Actual Events
Critic Score
Based on 15 reviews
User Score
Based on 162 ratings
2016 Ratings: #223
Liked by 6 people
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The fairly impenetrable wall of sound Nine Inch Nails created here is admirable, especially since everything is presented in just over 21 minutes.

Alternative Press

Not The Actual Events is everything we would expect from Reznor and Ross, offering textures we’ve never visited and contexts with conscience.

Drowned in Sound

It sounds like Reznor working in the studio like no one is watching, shouting to himself, punching random synthesizers. It’s an artist free of any unnecessary expectations. In that way it’s very reminiscent The Fragile, perhaps the most creative body of work by the project.


It asks more questions and takes more risks than any welcome back should. It’s not a postcard of a legendary past, its a battlecry for something truly epic to come.

The Line of Best Fit

In five tracks and just over 20 minutes, Not The Actual Events manages to build on Nine Inch Nails' past while stepping resolutely into their future. 

The Needle Drop

Nine Inch Nails brings industrial rock back with a vengeance with this new EP.

Pretty Much Amazing

Better than 2013’s Hesitation Marks I think, mostly ‘cuz it’s shorter.

A.V. Club

Even with its moments of flawed excess, Not The Actual Events is so full of new ideas compared to the relatively “this again?” nature of Hesitation Marks or The Slip that it deserves its place in the NIN catalog.


Nine Inch Nails’ surprise-release new EP Not the Actual Events is slight, but at moments it delivers the kind of visceral fury that NIN hasn’t recreated since its mid-’90s Downward Spiral heyday.


Rather than offering a bold new step in Reznor's long, winding career, Not the Actual Events feels more like tentative first steps towards something bigger.

NOW Magazine

The burst of primal aggression is welcome (especially in today's political climate), but this EP is too meandering and amorphous to hit as hard as the band’s best stuff.

Consequence of Sound

No matter how urgent its creators’ intent, no matter how explosive its highlights, Not the Actual Events stands, alas, as a pyre dependent on the kindling of nostalgia, as opposed to innovation.

This EP is supposed to be "impenetrable", but all I think is that it's really good. I love the ambient/industrial mixture.
She's Gone Away performed at the Roadhouse really revitalized my interest and made me appreciate this record more.
Trent Reznor and new member Atticus Ross deliver some of Nine Inch Nails' best material in a while! "Not the Actual Events" contains darker Industrial Rock sounds that Trent hasn't been able to return to since the 90's and Nine Inch Nails sound hasn't been this heavy and raw since "The Fragile"! Overall, after multiple listens, I legitimately think this is up their with their best releases!

Fav Tracks: The Idea of You, Burning Bright (Field on Fire), Branches / Bones, She's ... read more
A fistfuck ep, Conceptually it reads as being lost before something forces you into focus, and in the haze of taking in your surroundings the fleeting awareness that "everyone is asleep" in a dystopian far too close too home.

With the gift of hindsight we can see where this will lead, that was until bad witch was announced and Trent claiming that the year delay was because it seemed too obvious where the third ep would lead, confrontation. Instead a new LP where it leads only the ... read more
Man, Branches / Bones is so fucking great just wish it was longer
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Year End Lists


Track List

  1. Branches / Bones
  2. Dear World,
  3. She’s Gone Away
  4. The Idea of You
  5. Burning Bright (Field on Fire)
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Added on: December 16, 2016