Release Date: Mar 5, 2013
Record label: Columbia
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
The singularity is a theory emergence of superintelligence through technology, whether it is through artificial intelligence, human enhancements or a mix of the two. While such a moment and its after-effects cannot be predicted with any sense of accuracy, there are some who think that the singularity will lead to the destruction of humanity, whether through an A.I. takeover or through the loss of individualism.
Trent Reznor often seems more robot than man, like he plugs in and charges up each night instead of sleeping. Luckily, his musical output has proven reliably alive. Following Nine Inch Nails’ consistent excellence and stellar work scoring David Fincher’s The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo comes the debut HTDA album, an impressively powerful affair.
Anybody who paid attention to Trent Reznor's post-Nine Inch Nails project How to Destroy Angels' two EPs would not be shocked by the coolly meditative nature of their full-length debut, Welcome Oblivion, but if there happens to be a NIN fan coming to this 2013 LP cold -- odds aren't great, but stranger things have happened -- they're likely to be shocked by how aggressive this album isn't. This isn't to say Welcome Oblivion is an ambient album or a record consumed with solipsistic navel-gazing. Rather, How to Destroy Angels frees Reznor to explore quiet, intricately textured territory with the assistance of longtime collaborator Atticus Ross and vocalist Mariqueen Maandig, who also is Reznor's wife.
Plenty of artists have constructed bands around themselves in order to fade into the background. Eric Clapton did it with Derek and the Dominos, David Bowie did it with Tin Machine and Jack White does it with whatever new iteration of players he has on the go. Trent Reznor's temporary dissolution of Nine Inch Nails and formation of How to Destroy Angels with regular musical partner Atticus Ross, his wife Mariqueen Maandig and Rob Sheridan is his chance to operate within the bounds of a collaborative group, something he's spent his entire career avoiding.
Trent Reznor excels at getting attention: A quarter-century into his career and just shy of the age of 50, he's maintained large public interest not only through the merits of a consistently risky catalog but also by couching his music in creative circumstances that the cynical might describe as stunts. Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero made its way into the world as part of a massive multimedia campaign that included a dystopian storyline, a video game, a remix album, an as-yet-unmade film and, famously, USB devices containing parts of the record left in European bathroom stalls. After exiting Interscope, he gave 2008's The Slip away, something he'd done a year earlier with his Saul Williams collaboration.
Trent Reznor is undoubtedly a Renaissance man, but he’s not always creatively successful. One of the most musically and economically influential artists of the past two and a half decades, especially through his work with Nine Inch Nails, Reznor hasn’t undergone the same stylistic transitions as some of his contemporaries, but has delved into a variety of simultaneous mediums, from video games to film scores. His most recent project, How To Destroy Angels, features his wife Mariqueen Maandig, his The Social Network and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo score partner Atticus Ross, and art director Rob Sheridan.
On a technical level, we can discuss Welcome Oblivion as How to Destroy Angels’s first album. But realistically speaking, we all know that’s not quite the proper way to put it. How to Destroy Angels came from the ashes of Nine Inch Nails when newlyweds Trent Reznor and Mariqueen Maandig teamed up with NIN holdover Atticus Ross and visual artist Rob Sheridan to make a self-titled EP in 2010.
Trent Reznor puts the human in inhuman. His Frankenstein brings monsters to life. He’s one of the best at inserting genuine emotion into what, in the hands of a lesser artist, would otherwise hit the eardrums as soulless bleeps and bloops. This is the challenge he faces with every record he releases, whether via Nine Inch Nails, movie scores, or his most recent project, How to Destroy Angels.
When Trent Reznor "retired" Nine Inch Nails four years ago, it seemed he was ready to try something new. He did that in spades in his work with Atticus Ross on movie scores, a collaboration that netted him an Oscar for The Social Network, but his interim band, How to Destroy Angels, doesn't exactly tread new territory. The group, which includes Ross, Rob Sheridan and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, has released two good but not great EPs, and Welcome Oblivion, their debut LP, was their chance to really make an impression.
Veronica Falls Waiting for Something to Happen. “I won’t look back anymore,” the English band Veronica Falls promises, in nicely meshed boys-and-girls harmony, on its second album, “Waiting for Something to Happen” (Slumberland). Which may be disingenuous since Veronica Falls very much ….