Earlier this year, Trent Reznor announced that he had plans to take the Nine Inch Nails on the road in 2014. For those who can’t wait that long, fans of Reznor’s work will be pleased with the first full-length album Welcome Oblivion from his pet project How to Destroy Angels which will surely hold them over in the meantime.
This album is undeniably similar to the Nine Inch Nails and seems to be reflective of his work scoring the soundtrack for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. But How To Destroy Angels has a welcome twist: ethereal vocals and piercing electronics from Reznor’s wife (and former West Indian Girl singer) Mariqueen Maandig and producer Atticus Ross.
Welcome Oblivion is chock full of heavy and emotional yet ambient beats and leaves you wondering what Reznor & company have up their sleeve. Once you can get past the striking and sometimes shocking high pitched electronics it’s a stellar creation that almost could come out of a futuristic video game that’s epic from start to finish.
The song “Too Late, All Gone” is edgy with it’s catchy call & answer rhythm and a chorus hook “the more we change, everything stays the same” is a conundrum that fits perfectly with the album’s tone. “Ice Age” is a folky and minimalistic track which showcases Maandig’s vocal talent and has a refreshingly light feel. The bold chorus on “How Long” may lend itself to be the most addicting part of the album.
Reznor’s signature style of gritty, hypnotizing, and mind-bending rock comes out in full force on “The Loop Closes” which is by far the best song on the album. The layered vocal crescendo towards the song’s end is the perfect nod to the Nine Inch Nails sound of the past, and it gives the album closure yet leaves us wanting more.