The Great Destroyer

From nine inch nails wiki

Jump to: navigation, search
"The Great Destroyer"
Album: Year Zero
Length: 3:17
Tempo: 150 BPM
Versions: The Great Destroyer
The Great Destroyer (Instrumental)
The Great Destroyer: modwheelmood
Live: Performance 2007 through Lights In The Sky Tour
NIN 2014 Japan Tour through present

"The Great Destroyer" is the thirteenth track on the 2007 release Year Zero.


This could be a song from the perspective of the character known as the Angry Sniper, or also a song about the Red Horse virus referred to in the "hidden" lyrics. It could also state the thought process of somebody who is secretly rebelling against the government in Year Zero.




The Great Destroyer

This is the original album version. Consisting of two distinct but interrelated sections, the song begins with a drum loop similar in structure to that of "Every Day Is Exactly The Same," also possibly sharing beat and sounds with "Reptilian." A simple guitar riff, panned right, and Trent Reznor's vocals enter after four measures, playing the first verse. A loud synthesizer rings in the chorus, played with the same instrumentation but with different chords. The second verse features an additional e-bow guitar line in the left channel which drops out for the second chorus, after which the climax is reached when the title is sung in a multi-layered vocal harmony. It quickly builds in intensity and leads into the second section, which features much louder beat loops that were heard earlier underneath the verses and choruses as they are manipulated, crunched, and destroyed. By the end of this coda, its beats have been so mashed that the decaying delay effect sounds nothing like anything else in the song. The opening noise layers of "Another Version Of The Truth" quietly fade in underneath.

The Great Destroyer (Instrumental)

Running Time: 3:24

This unmastered vocal-less mix was released by Reznor through his account.

The Great Destroyer: modwheelmood

Running Time: 4:19

This remix by modwheelmood appears on Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. It begins with the vocals sung over an acoustic guitar before bass and drums join in as the first verse is repeated. As the chorus comes in, a synth beat and melody play under echoing vocals, singing a melody different than what's in the original version. Layers of sound are gradually added in the second verse, creating an ominous sound and tone to the song. It is sourced from an MP3, as revealed by its spectrographic image.

modwheelmood was interviewed by The NIN Hotline on March 1, 2008. Band member Alessandro Cortini said the following about the remix of "The Great Destroyer":

"Trent asked me to pick a song off Year Zero and to give it a try while we were on tour in Europe. 'The Great Destroyer' is probably my favorite song off YZ, so I borrowed a bass and an acoustic guitar from Aaron and reconstructed the song in my hotel room in Amsterdam. I also used my Buchla 200e music box, which I love to death. I think I added a couple of tracks when I got back home, then mixed it and sent it in. To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that TR liked it. I thought he would hate it since I changed the melody and chords around…"[1]

Song Credits

  • Remix by modwheelmood


"The Great Destroyer" (in its original album form) made its live debut on August 1, 2007 in Moscow, Russia during the Performance 2007 tour, and was played at almost every show for the rest of the tour. Not long after its debut, it began to include samples from "Happiness In Slavery" in the breakdown.

During the Lights In The Sky Tour, "Happiness In Slavery" was no longer in the breakdown. "The Great Destroyer" was played at slightly under half of the shows, appearing before the "Ghosts" section alongside (or instead of) "Vessel", "Me, I'm Not", and "The Warning". During the NIN 2017-2018 tour, the song featured samples from speeches made by Donald Trump.


    Say your name
    Try to speak as clearly as you can
    You know everything gets written down
    Nod your head
    Just in case they could be watching
    With their shiny satellites
    I hope they cannot see
    The limitless potential
    Living inside of me
    To murder everything
    I hope they cannot see
    I am the Great Destroyer
    Turn it up
    Listen to the shit they pump into
    Your head
    Filling you with apathy
    Hold your breath
    Wait until you know the time is right
    On time
    The end is near
    I hope they cannot see
    The limitless potential
    Living inside of me
    To murder everything
    I hope they cannot see
    I am the Great Destroyer

The following phrase can be heard as plain speech at 2:24 when the song's left and right stereo channels are combined into a single mono channel:

         Red Horse Vector

External Links

Previous track - "The Greater Good" Track 13 from Year Zero Next track - "Another Version of the Truth (song)"
This page was last modified on 29 May 2020, at 14:48. This page has been accessed 133,340 times.