Nine Inch Nails Releases 4 Different Album Covers For ‘Hesitation Marks’


Back in early June we got to see what we thought was the cover artwork for the new Nine Inch Nails album Hesitation Marks, due out on September 23, but today we learn that there are actually 4 other covers that will be made available for the album. The digital version, the CD version, the deluxe CD version and the vinyl version of the album will each feature its own cover art, created by artist Russell Mills (the man who created the album artwork for the 1994 NIN masterpiece album The Downward Spiral). Depending on the version of the album you purchase, you will get a different cover … which likely means that rabid NIN fans will end up collecting all 4 versions of the album (ahem, which is prolly what I will do). Click below to see each of the album covers and learn about the inspiration and creation of each piece of artwork.

Today Nine Inch Nails revealed the covers for the four editions of Hesitation Marks at Each features a different work of art by Russell Mills, who created the artwork for 1994’s The Downward Spiral and several other Nine Inch Nails releases from that period.

“This renewed collaboration very quickly suggested massive potential for the strange and the familiar to collide and collude in works that I hoped would encapsulate, by allusion, suggestion, metaphor and association, the conceptual ideas imbued in the album as well as in the undertow of its sonic world … The artworks, (30 mixed media pieces) that I eventually produced towards uses in the Hesitation Marks releases, evolved out of lengthy exchanges between myself and Trent and in response to the conceptual ideas that thread through the tracks and to the sonic territory that the album explores. I’ve tried to lock into the album’s prevailing mood and echo the album’s essence. The ideas are not communicated in a literal or easily digested form, as this would be boring for me and would insult the intelligence of a potential audience. I’ve tried to make works that obliquely allude to the essence of the subject matter, to its emotional core. As with my self-initiated works – the paintings, assemblages, collages and multimedia installations – personal ideas and obsessions seep into these works. The organic, the natural, prevailing over or feeding into the industrial, the man made, is a common theme in my work generally and in this instance was particularly apt for the art required.

The works explore ideas of catharsis, of being into dissolution into being, both on a personal and sociological level. They allude to ideas about chaos and order. They deal with ways of suggesting presence in absence. They are a cross between the forensic and a pathology of the personal in which only fragments remain, in which minimal clues can suggest events that may have occurred. They attempt to harness the chaos of a situation, of now, of the personal trauma, of the human condition, into a form that is coherent, a form that accommodates the mess without disguising it as something else. It attempts to capture the essence of these ideas by implication and exclusion. Beneath the form lies the uncertainty and ceaseless flux of the mess, of the chaos. An amalgam of the contextually-anchored and the process-driven, they are hopefully powerful, arresting, seductive, suggestive and resonant. I hope that they will invite multiple readings.”

These mixed media works hover between anthropology and forensics, suggestive of transformation and regeneration. Mills combined traditional materials – oils and acrylic paints, varnishes, etc. – with sundry objects that he subjected to a variety of chemical processes, including burning, bleaching, calcification and erosion. Materials used on the covers are:

Digital cover: “Turn And Burn”
Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, bitumen, burning, rusted linen, blood, spent matches, on wood.

Standard CD cover: “Time And Again”
Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, rusted linen, blood, microscope slides, on wood.

Deluxe CD cover: “Cargo In The Blood”
Burning, Polaroid frame, copper wire, mica, on velvet, on wood.

Vinyl cover: “Other Murmurs”
Plaster, earth, oils, acrylics, etching varnish, collage, on canvas, on wood.

Wow. These are impressive. I think it is brilliant for Trent Reznor to collaborate again with Russell Mills for the album art for the new NIN album. Hesitation Marks is a return for NIN so why not hearken back to the seminal album (The Downward Spiral) to reinforce the fact that Nine Inch Nails is back. I’ve always been impressed with Mills’s work so I really love all of these covers (tho, if I had to pick one fave I’d prolly go with the digital cover Time and Burn). I like how each of the 4 covers echoes back to the artwork for The Downward Spiral. I figured there might be a couple of different album art versions to choose from but now that we know there are 4 different covers, I guess I’ll have to pick up all 4 versions of the album. Nice move, T. Rez. Which of these covers do you like best? Will you be collecting more than one version of Hesitation Marks?


  • BMcBride81

    I’m loving the Deluxe CD cover (which is what I had already preordered). However the vinyl cover is awesome and reminds me of some earlier Skinny Puppy covers. Might have to get a couple more formats for the collection. Can’t wait until September!