Release Date: Jul 6, 2010
Record label: The Null Corporation
When Trent Reznor made the decision last year to put Nine Inch Nails on hold indefinitely in order to pursue new projects, the assumption was that whatever he had planned next would be a significant departure from the music he had been making under the NIN name. Reznor had already shown signs of restlessness and an eagerness to move beyond his band's core aesthetic, most obviously on the all-instrumental Ghosts I-IV box set. It stood to reason that he was about to reinvent himself, and given his good taste and formidable talent as a musician, the prospect was very exciting.
Trent Reznor might have given his rabid fanbase a scare after he closed the books on Nine Inch Nails -- at least in the live sense -- and got hitched last year, but wedded bliss hasn’t seemed to slow the industrial-rock pioneer down by any means. In fact, it’s proven beneficial rather quickly. How to Destroy Angels, a project that was once a well-kept secret, has been overexposed in a matter of weeks.
It’s hard to deny the influence of Trent Reznor on How to Destroy Angels, the group featuring the Nine Inch Nails mastermind, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and his longtime collaborator Atticus Ross but HTDA isn’t quite NIN fronted by a female. Maandig’s presence isn’t incidental; having her as the focal point shifts the tone considerably, giving the music a dreamy quality even when things get quite gnarled and ugly, as they do on “Parasite. ” Draped in twisted, processed guitar gunk, “Parasite” is recognizably Reznor’s, as is the electro-throb of “Fur Lined,” and the ominous undertow of “BBB,” but HTDA’s debut EP doesn’t consist of dressed-up leftovers from The Slip: some of Reznor’s obsessions remain recognizable, but having collaborators opens up the music and Maandig softens it, giving this EP a different feel despite some familiar sounds.