For those who aren’t familiar, How to Destroy Angels is a growing collaboration between Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig (formerly of West Indian Girl) and Atticus Ross, who has not only assisted Reznor in NIN efforts but some award-winning soundtrack work as well. Rob Sheridan, the chief art director for NIN releases, is also involved. One would think that How to Destroy Angels is merely an extension of the NIN formula, but it’s so much more than that.
With Maandig assuming primary vocal duties, HTDA is the perfect vehicle for Reznor and co. to explore spacier soundscapes and—as daunting as it sounds—a more pop-oriented approach. A good example of this equilibrium comes to the forefront with How Long?, a catchy tune that makes great use of industrial beats and Maandig’s harmonized vocals. In fact, everything on Welcome Oblivion, their debut LP, straddles between the familiar and the strange without becoming full of itself.
Keep it Together is a brooding track that keeps the same sludgy pace from beginning to end, but it manages to stand apart from the melt-your-face-off aesthetic that NIN is famous for. Every moody second of Welcome Oblivion is utilized to create a dark, sensual atmosphere, and it works for a group that puts experimentation first and prefers to leave any grand statements to the wayside. This record is best suited for moments of quiet introspection in the shadows.
If you wish to purchase the album, check out Amazon.com. Not only will you get all 13 tracks of Welcome Oblivion for one low price, it also includes all 6 tracks from their debut EP from 2010.