By Tom Sinclair
Updated March 18, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

On its second full-length album, Nine Inch Nails (a.k.a Trent Reznor, the studio Svengali responsible for NIN’s mix of twisted techno and impure industrial rock) advances further along the path of radio-friendly aural terrorism. Reznor’s pet topics (sex, power, S&M, hatred, transcendence) are all on The Downward Spiral, wrapped in hooks that hit your psyche with the force of a blowtorch. Definitive: the phallus-as-firearm imagery of ”Big Man With a Gun.” B+