"The Great Destroyer" as written by and Trent Reznor....
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 satellite

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

Lyrics submitted by not_for_real

"The Great Destroyer" as written by Trent Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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The Great Destroyer song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI think this song is from the perspective of the Angry Sniper (learn more at bethehammer.net/).

    "Hold your breath, wait until the time is right" - hold your breath to steady your rifle right before you take the shot, and on another level it could mean don't get excited, take your time in your revolution, be calm.

    "listen to the shit they pump into your head, filling it up with apathy" - the media and the government telling people lies to keep them complacent. could also refer to parepin, which seems to affect the brain so that the subject becomes more complacent and accepting of the totalitarian government they are under. that's all i got for now.
    SurgicalSteelon April 11, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think its about a rebel who vows to destroy all government. kinda like anarchy, but more structured
    slevletteon April 09, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJust to clear some stuff up... at 2 minutes and 24 seconds (beacuse it's Halo 24) there is an announced phrase that leads to a website. This is part of the Year Zero Experience. To hear the phrase, you have to mix the stereo left & right channel into one mono channel (Trent acheived this through the process of phasing). This can be done with audio editing software. Creepy when you hear it... but genius. The phrase is "Red Horse Vector".

    Now that we cleared that up, we can now concentrate on the song itself. Sure, the subject matter probably has to do with the Angry Sniper and the world that Trent has conjured, but it speaks also to the state of the world that we are in today. Just as the novel "1984" was a social commentary of the world that existed around George Orwell.

    Now let me offer you another theory for the rhythmic barrage of computer-laced analog bliss that follows the lyrics. We can all agree that Trent is a human being & one that might posses a great sense of humor. Right? Most of you are too young to remember the great arcade games that pioneered the slick consoles of today, but there was one in particular that had the same great analog sounds that can be found in this great tune. It was called Destroyer!

    Couldn't it be possible that Trent completed the bulk of the tune and then took a cue from the lyrics and proposed title to inspire this great finish of analog synth mastery? Go ahead, listen to some Destroyer sounds and tell me I'm wrong.
    NoOneInParticularon May 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about Neo (you know.. from the Matrix) and the pressure he's been going through.
    Hiding from all the machines and their scanners, and stuff... hehe, NOT!

    but it's a fun interpretation, no?

    I agree that this song is about a rebel, or something... but maybe the meaning of it is way more cooler than I imagine! Also, the song has the "red horse vector" thing, so maybe that's got something to do with the meaning of it? maybe the 'red horse' virus is 'the great destroyer' and it (the virus) is praying that people don't find out about it's limitless potential.. to murder everything :P

    yeah, another worthless interpretation by me..

    The only thing I know for sure, is that this song is my favorite from the new album, and it's a shame the chorus is in it only twice ;)
    the_great_destroyeron April 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah a lot of this album is reminescent(sp?) of the ideas and underlying messages in 1984. On the surface i think it tells a whole story of a big brother society and how it gets to be that bad and where it leads to.
    Touweon April 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyou see where after the second chorus ends and we get a massive barrage of electronic noises and screeching, has it made anyone think of an explosion? Possibly "The Great Destroyer" has destroyed or damaged some type of communications centre or satellite? quite abstract, I know, but it ties in with Be The Hammer Not The Anvils "CARVER" idea. Its possible the point of view this song is sung from, is that of a person who has decided to use AngrySniper's idea, and fuck up some type of structure of government control. Just a little thought
    SethSephiron April 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt think the electronic "explosion" is what the song is building up to this is about either the angrysniper or whoever carried the attack out against the movie award ceremony in the ARG. What it really means I think people pretty much hit the head on the nail we all have the abiliity to destroy everything if left unchecked by reason and our frontal cortex. In other words if we don't use the frontal cortex (the part of our minds that enables us to think critically and which impeeds agression) and by extension our minds we will all be great destroyers a haunting but necessary message.
    PCS153on April 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI disagree on the point of the disconnect of the explosions from the melodic part of the song. I think the contrast between them is one of their biggest strengths. Also, listening to it in my car for the first time (now that the cd is out), I realized the basic beat of part 2 is the deep underlying beat of part 1. Even the squidgy noises show up in places. Listen to the "hold your breath" line.

    Anyway, I think the song is about a suicide bomber. I never considered the idea that this might be a member of the resistance, although that makes sense now. I assumed it was an IA operative, mainly because of the first verse.

    "Say your name...everything gets written down" especially reminds me of the videos suicide bombers make before they blow themselves up where they state their name, etc and their dedication to their cause.
    fortheloveon April 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNIN does it again........but the great destroyer on the remix cd is a much better version of this song!!! check it out.......actually search 'Y34RZ3R0R3M1X3D'

    great stuff!!
    Weaslemulberryon January 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    MemoryAround two years ago I was listening to Year Zero on (what seemed like) a daily basis. I was in the midst of a job search having become very disillusioned with my employer at the time. I felt like a drone and after six months of searching I became even more depressed than I had been at the start of my search.

    So this song really started to become my rally cry. I saw my employers as the ones "writing everything down". I had to keep nodding my head; couldn't let them suspect I was looking for a better job. I had to convince myself that I had "limitless potential". Don't let them take advantage of you...remember all the crap they've told you and put you through - but hold your breath and wait for the right moment to escape.

    I didn't take much longer before I gave notice - and another job found me. I regret nothing about it and I am so, so happy with where I am now in my career.
    stephanie5on July 30, 2014   Link

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