Trent Reznor surprised everyone by announcing that Nine Inch Nails have a new album in the can that we can expect to hear before 2013 is out. Get all the details on the return of NIN here.

After announcing that the band was going on an indefinite hiatus, which culminated with the band's 2009 Wave Goodbye Tour, Nine Inch Nails fans were unsure if they'd ever hear new tunes from the band. Trent Reznor had decided to turn his attention elsewhere for a while, mostly toward scoring films and the side-project How to Destroy Angels, which also features his wife Mariqueen Maandig.

Reznor received much acclaim for his work on David Fincher's 2010 Facebook-centric film 'The Social Network' in addition to a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar for he and long-time collaborator Atticus Ross. The pair joined forces with Fincher again in 2011 for his adaptation of the best-selling novel 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' an intellectual property that had already proved successful on film with the Swedish version.

After a pair of EPs and the January 2013 release of How to Destroy Angels' debut album 'Welcome Oblivion,' Reznor's creative fire for Nine Inch Nails had been reignited. He had previously mentioned that he had new material "in mind" for NIN, but dropped the bomb in late May by announcing that the new album was completely finished in the following post on the band's tumblr page:

"I’ve been less than honest about what I’ve really been up to lately. For the last year I’ve been secretly working non-stop with Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder on a new, full-length Nine Inch Nails record, which I am happy to say is finished and frankly fucking great. This is the real impetus and motivation behind the decision to assemble a new band and tour again. My forays into film, HTDA and other projects really stimulated me creatively and I decided to focus that energy on taking Nine Inch Nails to a new place. Here we go!”

What is, perhaps, even more surprising is in the fine print of the story -- Reznor inked a deal... yes, a RECORD deal with Columbia Records. The same guy who famously feuded with his previous labels (Both TVT and Universal/Interscope) and then self-released and album for free on the internet in 2008 ('The Slip') is back on a major label. The news may not be as surprising to those who followed HTDA, who inked a deal with the same Sony imprint in late 2012. Reznor says his decision was inspired by the absence of Nine Inch Nails albums in record stores and said he didn't mind losing a little creative control in exchanged for the increased exposure.

The band's current lineup -- Reznor, Ross, Ilan Rubin, Josh Eustis, Alessandro Cortini and Robin Finck -- will hit the road for a string of dates, both home and abroad, beginning in late July. Noteworthy U.S. dates include their headlining stint at Lollapalooza 2013 in Chicago and a gig at Jay-Z and Budweiser's Philadelphia-set Made in America Festival.

While there is no substantial details on Nine Inch Nails' forthcoming eighth studio album, the fact that it is already finished is a pretty good omen that it will be released before 2013 has come to an end. In the meantime, check out Reznor's guest work on both the new Queens of the Stone Age album '...Like Clockwork' and Dave Grohl's 'Sound City: Real to Reel.'