Bad Witch

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Halo 32: Bad Witch
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Alternate Cover

Bad Witch (also known as Halo 32) was released on June 22, 2018 on Capitol Records. This album acts as the third installment of a trilogy, following the 2016 release of Not The Actual Events and the 2017 release of Add Violence. The album leaked on June 18, 2018.

Track List

  1. "Shit Mirror" – 3:06
  2. "Ahead Of Ourselves" – 3:30
  3. "Play The Goddamned Part" – 4:51
  4. "God Break Down The Door" – 4:14
  5. "I'm Not From This World" – 6:41
  6. "Over And Out" – 7:49


Like the two previous releases, Bad Witch is available as a 12" vinyl, a digital download and as a CD. Despite the fact that Not The Actual Events and Add Violence were marketed as EPs, Bad Witch is marketed as an album. In a post on ETS, Trent Reznor explained the decision behind the format change by stating that "EPs show up with singles in Spotify and other streaming services = they get lost easier. EPs feel less important in today’s music-isn’t-as-important-as-it-once-was world. Why make it easier to ignore?"

An exclusive run (limited to 2400), off-white vinyl pressing was also offered through Merchbar as part of the #SpotifyFansFirst campaign.

A limited number of CD and vinyl copies pre-ordered through Australian retailer JB Hi-Fi came with a card autographed by Reznor and Atticus Ross.


Bad Witch was officially announced on May 10, 2018. The official website description states:


On May 19, 2018, at "The Physical World" ticket presale, an exclusive listening station was made available for those in attendance. It gave fans the opportunity to hear the songs "Ahead Of Ourselves" and "Play The Goddamned Part" before the album's release.

The album makes use of saxophone on several tracks, more than any previous NIN recording. This is explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly[1], where the interviewer compares the use of sax to that on David Bowie's Blackstar:

"Clearly, Bowie is front of mind, and that was certainly an influence. In terms of the precision of arrangement, I think back to [being] younger, reading about Psychedelic Furs as a bunch of students that all picked instruments and learned enough to make a record. As someone that had studied his ass off how to play an instrument, I thought, 'You can do that?' Some people worried about technique or if it’s in tune, or if it’s played well. [For Bad Witch, I thought] let’s just use it and add to the mayhem and message we are trying to convey. All this time [the sax] had been just sitting in my studio staring at me. Taunting me."

Trilogy concept

In an interview with Lizzy Goodman posted on, Reznor explains the trilogy’s concept in detail:

"But to be clear, the record isn’t about Trump, it’s about making sense of the world. The first record, Not the Actual Events, was more of an internal fantasy of what if I lit a match to my life and just embraced burning the whole fucking thing down. You know? All of this is an illusion and I really should be dead or lying in a ditch somewhere. Who I really am is an addict that self-destructs. That’s my true nature and this is an illusion and some borrowed time. It wasn’t a pleasant thing, but it felt like, that’s a story to tell. And if felt like something I needed to internally process.

And that supported other things that were interesting to us like aggressive music and a sense of the self-referential, looking back at other albums and pilfering bits of the art design to confuse people and also because I was thinking about those records. To try picking up a guitar, which I told myself I would never do again for whatever reason and finding, you know what? It sounds fucking good. Listening back and going, you know what? That was a good song from 25 years ago, it’s not bad to play something like that. There are no rules. That was the first record.

It wasn’t fully mapped out but it was meant to feel like if we broke up one big record – if it was Downward Spiral, which has acts, if we do an album like that, but release one act at a time, it will be more immediate and the level of adrenaline and momentum will be higher. And maybe it will be consumed in a way that feels more digestible to an outside world that doesn’t have long attention spans anymore.

With the second one, Add Violence, the idea was, loosely, to zoom out, to be more global and to imply that maybe we’re all in a simulated reality. And that might introduce the concept of meaninglessness but also provide a safe container to explain why everything feels off.

By the time we got to the third one, we had an idea in mind but it felt … rehearsed. Predictable. In the end, what felt true was to say that we as a society and as a species are probably an accident, a mutation. Really what we are is fucking animals. And the illusion was enlightenment. The more we’ve connected with each other the dumber we’ve gotten and the more we decide we want to kill each other. We’re not some elevated transcendent beings, we’re bacteria in a jar. I wanted the art direction of Bad Witch to feel like shadows on a cave wall and we’re trying to figure out what it is and really there’s no nice, clean, safe scientific explanation. We’re just an accident. String theory and quantum physics is a fucking trick. And we’re not going to suddenly elevate ourselves into transcendent beings. We’re kidding ourselves. I know this will be an unsatisfying conclusion for some people. It isn’t what they want. They want it to be full matrix virtual reality, and this is the opposite of that, this is dirt and a broken computer chip and everything you believe in is really just bullshit."

LP Title

Unlike the two preceding EPs, the title of Bad Witch is not derived from a lyric sung or printed in the album’s digital or liner notes. A definitive explanation of the title is yet to be revealed.


Bad Witch back cover

The "scratch marks" seen in the Not The Actual Events and Add Violence cover artworks appear in a different form on the right border of the back cover of this album.

An alternate front cover was found, depicting different hues and contrasts on all five boxes, as well as a different hand and a different computer chip. The alternate cover appeared on a Caroline Records promo CD.

The computer chip, within the fifth box, appears to be an image of the Intel 4004 CPU.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Atticus commented: "There's a primitive aspect or reflection of who we are in these times on there. It seems like we've been led. And I think we implied that in the cover, staring at shadows on the wall."


  • Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

  • Written, arranged, produced, programmed and performed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

  • Mix: Alan Moulder
  • Engineering: Chris Richardson and Justin McGrath
  • Mastering: Tom Baker at Baker Mastering

  • Art Direction: 12:01- Office of Hassan Rahim
  • Legal: Zia Modabber for Katten Munchin Rosenman LLP, Ross Rosen for Ross B. Rosen & Associates, LLC
  • Management: Silva Artist Management
  • Booking: Marc Geiger for WME
  • Business Management: William Harper and Michael Walsh for Gelfand, Rennet & Feldman

Thank you: Mariqueen Maandig Reznor, Claudia Sarne, Steve Barnett, Michelle Jubelirer, Ashley Newton, Ambrosia Healy, Arjun Pulijal, Erin Cooney, Ed Scott, Jim Chancellor, Andrew Lazonby, Cesar Rosas

© 2018 Form and Texture (ASCAP) / Administered by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing, Songs In the Key of Mink (BMI) / Administered by Downtown DMP Songs


All songs from Bad Witch have been played live except "Play The Goddamned Part" and "I'm Not From This World".

External Links

Previous release - "Add Violence" Halo number: 32 Next release - "TBD"
This page was last modified on 16 October 2018, at 19:11. This page has been accessed 48,975 times.