Nine Inch NailsBroken

Label:Island Records – 12 IS 552 DJ
Vinyl, 12", Mini-Album, Promo
Genre:Electronic, Rock
Style:Alternative Rock, Industrial


A4Help Me I Am In Hell
A5Happiness In Slavery
A6Gave Up

Companies, etc.


Promotional only 12" in black die-cut sleeve. No info on the labels, only a NIN logo and the catalogue number (both sides). Includes yellow A4 press sheet for this release.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Matrix / Runout (A-Side Runout Etching): 12 IS 552 DJ A2 •ORLAKE•
  • Matrix / Runout (B-Side Runout Etching): 12 ⁺ IS ⁺ 552 ⁺ DJ ⁺ B ORLAKE

Other Versions (5 of 112)

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Title (Format)LabelCat#CountryYear
Recently Edited
Broken (Cassette, EP, Dolby HX Pro)Nothing Records, TVT Records, Interscope Records, Nothing Records, TVT Records, Interscope Records7 92213-4, 92213-4US1992
Recently Edited
Broken (12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Single Sided, Mini-Album, EP, 7", 45 RPM, All Media, Limited Edition)Island Records, Island Records, Island Records, Island Recordsilpm 8004, 514 147-1, IS 552, 864 498-7UK1992
Recently Edited
Broken (12", 33 ⅓ RPM, Mini-Album)Atlantic, Atlantic, TVT Records, TVT Records, Interscope Records, Interscope Records670.8311, 756792213-1Brazil1992
Broken (CD, EP, Tri-Fold Digipak)Interscope Records, Interscope Records, Nothing Records, Nothing Records92213-2, 7 92213-2US1992
Recently Edited
Broken (CD, EP, Jewel Case)Island Records, Nothing Records74321 12044 2Germany1992


  • stefan_habulinec's avatar
    This is THE album, which attracted most of the Nine Inch Nails fans in the beginning. Although it's "only" an EP, its length of 31 minutes might be considered even as an LP by some. It's the hardest, angriest and most industrial piece done by NIN. It oozes all over it the Trent's frustration and production issues he had during that era. After recording and promoting it here and there, Trent extended his then-current muse to record his follow up masterpiece Downward Spiral, where the influence of Broken is clearly visible. In the sleeve of the 12" vinyl release of Broken, there was a note from Trent:

    "Broken was secretly recorded from march to august 1992 in a variety of locations without the permission of the record label to ensure it could fester without Divine intervention, now They just leave me alone and let me do what I want. Broken was a hard recording to make, Broken is an ugly record made during an ugly time in my life, Broken marks phase three of nine inch nails: the becoming, I am starting to realize what this is all about and I don't like it. Flood starting out producing but I ended up I'm not sure why, maybe I am what everybody seems to think I am."

    That's exactly what Broken is: Hard and ugly, but it has been distilled in a very fine spirit of a record. The opener, Pinion, is repetitive riff, which is coming back and forth, feels like a migraine as it builds up to 2nd track Wish and the very first lyrics set the tone for the whole album "this is the first day of my last days". Wish is an existential ride fueled by angst and self-hate, but what a ride! Just when you've thought it couldn't be any better, it quits abruptly and track #3, Last, kicks in. Who could ever thought, that a nihilistic anthem could be so good, catchy, but raw, hard and heavy at the same time. Definitely catchiest guitar riff done by Trent. "This isn't meant to last, this is for right now". After Last we'll get a kind of intermission with the 4. piece Help Me I Am In Hell, a typical NIN instrumental piece with percussion and guitar ends up with a kind of a heartbeat tune, which delivers the next existential scream in the next track, Happiness In Slavery. "Slave screams he claims he has his own identity" - there isn't any better description of the absurdity of life and its absence of an actual freedom. We all are slaves to ourselves, yet we can find happiness in this slavery, we don't have any other, more reasonable, choice. Trent ends this song shouting Happiness in SLAVERY! It couldn't be any better. With track #6, we get another fast angst-ridden ride, "I tried, I gave up, throw it away", luckily Trent didn't gave up and is keeping moving on to the next song, Physical, a slower head-banging riffy ballad about attraction, or lack thereof. The last song, Suck, resembles the future NIN works, much like the stuff written for the 94' album Downward spiral, especially the last line "I want to do terrible things to you" - he will do those terrible things in the song Big Man With A Gun on Downward Spiral.

    To me, Broken is NIN's peak. Downward Spiral was a bit more polished, yet still another masterpiece nonetheless. Broken is short, raw, genuine, true, hard and very honest. Downward Spiral had the same touch, but with the 1999 album The Fragile it became obvious, that NIN is moving towards a different style, away from that hard industrial genre set not by NIN's first album, Pretty Hate Machine, but by Broken. I liked that. Trent Reznor is talented artist, he evolves and changes styles and tones of his work, but if you're looking for some raw industrial madness dealing with existentialism, it's the Broken you should get. It is the Nine Inch Nail I liked the most.



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