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Album: Year Zero
Length: 4:53
Tempo: 92 BPM
Versions: Vessel
Vessel (Instrumental)
Vessel: Bill Laswell
Vessel (Mix 1): Bill Laswell
Vessel (Mix 2): Bill Laswell
Live: Lights In The Sky Tour
NIN 2014 Japan Tour through NIN + QOTSA Tour

"Vessel" is the fifth track on the 2007 release Year Zero. Multitracks for this song were released in raw WAV, GarageBand and Ableton Live formats via


There is a theory that "Vessel" is about John of Boston. In the transcript of his discussion with the facility member he mentions that he is a vessel for the truth. Another theory is that the song is about pills given to US soldiers to counteract the effects of Parepin or Opal. ("When I put you inside of me, none of that matters anymore" and "I am turning into God" suggests this.)







This is the original album version. It consists of heavily distorted drum loops, a wall of percussive synthesized sound, and ending improvization using a set batch of synthesized loops that distort and glitch. Its danceable rhythms and highly synthesized nature are somewhat reminiscent of "Closer."

Vessel (Instrumental)

Running Time: 4:59

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

Vessel: Bill Laswell

Running Time: 6:10

This official remix appears on the CD and digital releases of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. The intro mixes the glockenspiel melody and "alarm" sound with percussion elements found within the song. A guitar can be heard playing along to the percussion beat, along with an echo effect on the vocals, making it sound as though a voice is whispering underneath the vocal melody. A percussion breakdown comes in after the first chorus and other sound elements come in over the beat. Many of these elements drop out before the second verse, leaving only a rhythmic percussion loop. As the second verse progresses, sound elements from the original version are added. The outro is similar to the original version as well, with the exception of a couple of new noise elements added.

Song Credits

  • Mix translation and additional production: Bill Laswell
  • Additional beats: Fanu
  • Created at Orange Music
  • Engineer: Robert Musso
  • Assistant: James Dellatacoma
  • Mastered by Michael Fossenkemper at Turtle Tone Studio, NYC
  • Administration: Steven Saporta/Invasion Group

Vessel (Mix 1): Bill Laswell

Running Time: 9:23

This remix appears on the vinyl edition of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. It begins with an extended instrumental introduction, incorporating many sound elements from the original Year Zero version. Lyrics are very sparse in the first half of this mix, making it seem more like a dub mix. At almost 4 minutes in, the regular lyrics enter into the mix as many of the sound elements drop out, before gradually coming back in. The vocals contain some distortion which makes them sound far less organic than those in the original version.

Vessel (Mix 2): Bill Laswell

Running Time: 12:58

This remix is on the vinyl edition of Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D. It is exactly the same as the CD remix, but with an extended ending or "appendage" with a running time of about seven minutes, bringing the total length of this version to 13+ minutes.


"Vessel" made its live debut at the Edmonton, Alberta show on July 28th, 2008. A picture of its performance was posted on's blog.

Throughout the Lights in the Sky Tour, "Vessel" was regularly played before the "Ghosts" section of the setlist, played alongside (or replaced with) "Me, I'm Not", "The Warning", or "The Great Destroyer".

"Vessel" has only been played live twice since 2008, both within two weeks of each other in 2014 - in Tokyo, Japan on February 26 and in Adelaide, Australia, on March 13.


  • The alarm sound looped in the WARNING box on the Art is Resistance website is a sample from this song (heard at 1:48).


    I let you put it in my mouth
    I let it get under my skin
    I let you pump it through my veins
    I let you take me from within
    They tell us what we can and cannot do
    Same thing we've heard a hundred times before
    When I put you inside of me
    None of that matters anymore
    My God
    Can it go any faster?
    Oh my God
    I don't think I can last here
    I am you and you are me
    We will never be alone
    I have finally found my place in everything
    I have finally found my home
    I can leave all of this flesh behind
    I can see right through this whole façade
    I am becoming something else
    I am turning into God
    My God
    Can it go any faster?
    Oh my God
    I don't think I can last here

Previous track - "The Good Soldier" Track 5 from Year Zero Next track - "Me, I'm Not"
This page was last modified on 2 September 2019, at 20:22. This page has been accessed 114,616 times.