Nine Inch Nails releases ‘Cargo In The Blood’ limited edition book

Nine Inch Nails and artist Russell Mills present Cargo In The Blood, a deluxe 320-page, limited edition book capturing the art that Mills created for Hesitation Marks, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts and was named one of the best albums of 2013 by critics at The New York Times, Rolling Stone and SPIN, among others. Mills also created visuals for 1994’s The Downward Spiral.

Available exclusively via, each volume contains an original painting by Mills. A new mini-documentary, produced and directed by Charles Leek (Bark Media), explores Mills’ inspiration and process behind the artwork for Hesitation Marks. The short film premiered Wednesday (Dec 16th) at and can also be viewed at the newly launched Cargo In The Blood microsite, where detailed information is available about the book.

“Our renewed collaboration on Hesitation Marks very quickly suggested massive potential for the strange and the familiar to collide and collude in works that I hoped would encapsulate, by allusion, suggestion, metaphor and association, the conceptual ideas imbued in the album as well as in the undertow of its sonic world,” says Mills, who has also produced artwork for albums by such artists as Brian Eno, David Sylvian and Peter Gabriel and for books by Samuel Beckett, Ian McEwan and many others.

The mixed media works hover between anthropology and forensics, suggestive of transformation and regeneration. Traditional materials – oils and acrylic paints, varnishes, etc. – are combined with sundry objects that Mills subjected to a variety of chemical processes, including burning, bleaching, calcification and erosion.

“I created a total of 30 pieces for Hesitation Marks and they chose Cargo In The Blood for the cover of the deluxe CD,” recalls Mills. “The title seemed to sum up everything I’ve been working on for the last 5 – 10 years, this whole idea of something that can be carried in the blood and it could be good or bad, something that could be character-building, something that could be destructive, something that could be positive.”

After Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor asked him to create the book, Mills began brainstorming with U.S.-based project manager Jeff Anderson. The pair quickly hit on a way to make the volume truly unique: Mills would create a piece of original art for each of the 2,000 books. The main challenge was a physical one: how he could complete such an ambitious project in his small U.K. studio?<

“They said, ‘don’t worry about that. We’ll hire you a warehouse in Los Angeles we’ll get you all the materials you need,'” says Mills. With longtime collaborator Mike Fearon on hand to assist, he spent three weeks painting huge canvases, which were then cut down into 2,000 pieces, each approximately 6″ x 4″. Not only is each work of art completely different, its frame is also unique. Fashioned from COR-TEN steel, the frames were sprayed with a demister, which produced and sealed a patina of rust, so no two frames are alike.

Cargo In The Bloodpriced at $300, includes:

  • Limited edition 320-page book featuring Russell Mills’ art for Hesitation Marks
  • Original Mixed Media Painting by Mills housed in a COR-TEN steel frame
  • Custom laser-etched steel card numbered between 1 and 2000
Additional details:
  • Each set is bound in a plush cotton and rayon flocked material
  • Exterior features debossed and foil stamped lettering and unique hand cauterized mark
  • Pages printed with Metallic Silver and 4CP UV inks
  • Ships from US late December, ships from UK mid-January
  • Dimensions: 15″ x 13″ x 2″; 10.9 lbs.
  • Product shots are prototype. Each set will contain original artwork and markings that will vary in appearance

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.