Nine inch Nails main man Trent Reznor and his other band How to Destroy Angels which includes his wife Mariqueen Maandig as well as his co-Oscar winning partner Atticus Ross and long-time art director Rob Sheridan release their second EP "An Omen" which will serve as a lead in to next year's full length album, for which a title or release date has yet to announced. The band has also signed a record deal with Columbia Records which means after 4 years Reznor is back with a major label.
Those familiar with 2010's self-titled debut release could be in for a surprise as the group have gone in a different direction sound wise, some of the songs are really stripped back and unlike on their debut EP Maandig's vocals are not as much at the forefront this time round, there is also more vocals from Reznor himself which should keep long time Nine Inch Nails fans happy. An example of the stripped back sound is one the song "Ice Age" with its plucking strings being sung over by Maandig. The music at the times will recall recent Reznor/Ross collaborations from "Ghosts I-IV" as well as the pair's two score releases for the David Fincher movies "The Social Network" and the haunting "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".
Any Reznor release would not be the same without some big heavy beats and there is plenty to be heard on the track "On The Wing" which has Reznor on a whispered lead vocal duties. People familiar with "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" soundtrack will notice the similarities of Maandig's vocal take on "The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters" in which she hums over the music. If there is one track that sounds anything like a Nine Inch Nails track it would be the excellent "The Loop Closes" which sounds not to unlike "Into The Void" off "The Fragile". Must people will already be familiar with lead single "Keep It Together" and its whispered spoken vocal delivery by Maandig before Reznor comes in.
It sounds like How To Destroy Angels have changed things up with their second release, which should be a good sign for next year's full length release of which we are told some of these songs will appear on. It should also be noted that there is no CD release for this EP but it is worth buying the vinyl for Rob Sheidans excellent art work which is truly amazing.
Anything by TR and AR is worthy of listening to. Its unconventional music but it reflects the dark undercurrents of society around us. Just beneath the skin, the facade of 21st Century living. Got a good killer stereo? then may I suggest you buy some of this....
Different than Nine Inch Nails. Different than their previous EP. Different than the album that followed. Nice little collection of something new and different than the commercial trite that fills the airwaves.
When I first heard the debut track from this E.P I was quite excited - it was quite different from their first release but it still evoked the atmosphere I'd come to expect from HTDA. Then the whole E.P was put up for people to listen and I was disappointed, the debut track was the best track on there the rest just didn't seem to engage and I actually became quite frustrated with myself for not being able to like it.
So fast forward a few weeks later, An Omen_ has been released, along with a second video which I found myself liking; I buy a game from Amazon and get a two pound credit toward an MP3 album. So I listen to the preview tracks again and think "Well I actually like these snippets..." so I bought the E.P and listened to it twice back to back and completely changed my mind about it - it's actually awesome.
So from my point of view; it's not as instant as the self titled debut but (and I think this is why I might not have "got" it the first time.) you have to sit down and actually listen to it - if you have it on while you're doing other stuff you miss a lot the good bits. So shut the curtains, throw a blanket over the budgie/TV/elderly relative and turn out the lights - then you're in an optimal listening environment. (Or you could just put it on an MP3 Player and shut your eyes...)