By Dane Anderson
Released March 8th, 2013 - Sony Music
There's no denying Trent Reznor is a musical genius. The way he draws human emotions and rhythms from the most obscure sounds is nothing but amazing. And it would seem he's gone into musical genius overdrive of late in his collaborations with producer Atticus Ross for the award winning movie soundtracks The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Once again they have joined forces, along with Reznor's wifeMariqueen Maandig, to make up the new venture How to Destroy Angels. After releasing two EP's, we are finally introduced to their debut full length release Welcome Oblivion, which combines the industrial experimental electronica we've come to know from Reznor and Ross but this time with the added dimension of Maandig's sultry female voice.
It's not an entirely different departure in sound for Reznor but instead continues on the path set by the aforementioned soundtracks and certain songs from Nine Inch Nails The Fragile and Ghosts I-IV albums. First single How Long is a definite highlight with it's almost pop like chorus "How long/How long/can we keep holding on", as is Ice Age which does away with a majority of the bleeps and bloops in favour of an acoustic and catchy tone.
Several of the songs that appeared on last years An Omen EP make the grade for Welcome Oblivion so it's not entirely new material especially if you're familiar with the previous EP release, however of the new songs Recursive Self-Improvement and Hallowed Ground stand out with the latter haunting as an end piece to the album.
Plenty of the songs on Welcome Oblivion have that unmistakable Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor sound to it, and you'd expect it to, but it's the female voice of Mariqueen Maandig that adds a new and different dimension. Sure, Reznor's voice is still there but its Maandig's subtlety that only compliments the arrangements without being over the top or obnoxious.
Overall it's Trent Reznor who holds the key to the success and while Welcome Oblivion from How to Destroy Angels won't garner many new fans to the Reznor forum, it still places him firmly as the genius we've come to know, and it still persists with that Reznor trait of each listen brings a new and interesting sound that you wouldn't have heard previously.
3.5 / 5