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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2013
There are times when HTDA sound like b-sides to Trent's 'Year Zero' or 'Ghosts' sessions, but there are times when they sound more like their own, unique thing. Trent working with Atticus Ross again means HTDA still need to keep pushing their own sound to fully break away from the mould of the last few NIN releases, but Mariqueen's soft vocals are a good start. You'll need to like quirky, sometimes cold but always interesting minimalist electronica for this, but while they're pretty postmodern in avoiding traditional song structures, this is an album that buzzes away happily at the edge of your conscious mind rather than getting all up in your grill and shizz.
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Five years after his last vocal studio album, Trent Reznor returns with a new band, and a sort of new identity. Teaming up with his wife on vocals - ok, that sentence sounds terrifying, but at least it shows that his musical palette has changed -, as well as Atticus Ross (who has been Reznor's musical foil for many years on soundtrack work) and longstanding alumni in visual artist Rob Sheridan, How To Destroy Angels are both clearly children from the Nine Inch Nails camp, and a seperate identity. Musically, it follows the template of Reznors work for the past fifteen years, with densely layered, atmospheric pieces that unfold slowly with measured menace. Sonically, there's barely a guitar here, built on a slow and uncoiling air of general malaise, like a tense, angry Massive Attack.

Which is a nice way of saying that it is as good as a Nine Inch Nails record. There's little sense of a bold new musical identity - especially after the "Ghosts" double album and the soundtrack releases - but a more refined approach. Soncially it is the calmest release in his non-soundtrack work, lacking much in the way of organic instrumentation : it's all keyboards, drum machines, textures and the occasional vocal. But that is not a bad thing - the record operates largely as a duet , with Reznors icy whispered vocals and Marrianne's monosyllabic, clipped melodies that are used more as punctuation, unclear words - aside from the odd sentence - in a way that sounds luxurious but uncomfortable.

Over the length of a full record though, the formula ages slightly. It all sounds the same - variations on a theme - as the record moves to a conclusion, slowly but confidently. If you liked his soundtrack work, were intruiged by the slower, more thoughtful edges to Nine Inch Nails (such as "Ghosts"), then this is for your. In the old world, this is a record designed to be listened to repeatedly and which will reveal slightly more with every exposure, every listen. It is not, nor will it ever be, the kind of quick and instant rock hit that will be taken to the hearts of mainstream media, but a thoughtful, clever, dense record made for a world where intelligence is not a burden, where beauty is hidden, and where the answer is a question in itself.
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on 10 January 2015
Following on from November 2012's lead in EP "An Omen"; How To Destroy Angels have now released their first full length album "Welcome Oblivion" which comes almost 3 years after their self-titled debut EP. Those who didn't bother checking out the "An Omen" EP will be surprised at the different sound the band now have adopted. There is a lot more subtly to their sound now and that includes the vocals.

The album is mainly built up over a vast array of electronic beats, loops, drone guitars and a lot of electronic bleeps combined with whispered vocals. This is evident on the first track the mainly instrumental "The Wake-Up". People who are already familiar with Trent Reznor and long-time collaborator Atticus Ross will notice a lot of the music shares similarities with the two's score for David Finchers "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" such as on "We Fade Away" which almost features an identical droning guitar in the background as was used on the track "She Reminds Me Of You" from that movies score. The title track itself has more than an influence of former British Band Curve(who were produced by long-time Reznor collaborator Alan Moulder, who also mixed this album) all over it, including the scream and shout vocals.

Four tracks from last year's "An Omen" EP make their way onto the album including the standout near 7 minute long "Ice Age" which features a more stripped back sound which features the sound of plucked strings as Mariqueen Maandig sings over it. The brilliant "The Loop Closes" is also included and is a song that is very reminiscent of "Into The Void" off "The Fragile". The closet they get to a mainstream pop song is on the catchy "How Long".

If you go with the vinyl option you get two extra tracks in the form of "The Province of Fear" and "Unintended Consequences", with the vinyl there is also a CD which includes the whole album as well as the two bonus tracks. The chances are if you didn't like the "An Omen" EP you won't like this album but you shouldn't write it off after one quick listen as there is plenty good stuff to be found here.
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on 29 September 2013
In the space of a year Mr. Reznor has released two full albums of beautiful, technologically advance music which gives my soul a great warm feeling. Though I believe Hesitation Marks (released under Nine Inch Nails) is a superior album, Welcome Oblivion with How To Destroy Angels (A side-project with his wife and Atticus Ross) is still a trippy and wonderfully constructed record. From the start with the jagged opener 'Keep It Together' we get the taste of Mrs. Reznor's hauntingly beautiful voice and of course the masterful production of Trent and Ross. The album only gets stronger from then on with the weird banjo lead 'Ice Age' the NIN crowd pleaser 'Too Late, All Gone' and then just as we hit the half way mark the sing-a-long 'How Long?'. Though it was inevitable that the basis of the album would sound very NINish the introduction of female vocals and other people's ideas in general make HTDA another band completely willing to go the distance to push the boundaries of experimental electronic it music for the world.
Key Tracks: Keep It Together/Welcome Oblivion/How Long?
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on 21 May 2013
I purchased the vinyl version of Welcome oblivion for both the extra 2 bonus tracks (The Province of Fear & Unintended Consequences) and the expanded artwork on the vinyl sleeve, (plus getting a white label CD version with the bonus tracks included was a massive selling point).

The music itself is a step in a new direction (and a welcome addition) to Trent Reznor's ever growing arsenal of work, if it has to be compared to other work then it might fit somewhere between NIN's Year Zero and his film scoring for Dragon Tattoo. However it is the voice of Mariqueen that pushes this album onto a higher plain, peaking at points when both Trent and Mariqueen's vocals meet, such as on stand out track "Too late, all gone".
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on 4 March 2013
Following on from last Novembers lead in EP "An Omen"; How To Destroy Angels have now released their first full length album "Welcome Oblivion" which comes almost 3 years after their self-titled debut EP. Those who didn't bother checking out the "An Omen" EP will be surprised at the different sound the band now have adopted. There is a lot more subtly to their sound now and that includes the vocals.

The album is mainly built up over a vast array of electronic beats, loops, drone guitars and a lot of electronic bleeps combined with whispered vocals. This is evident on the first track the mainly instrumental "The Wake-Up". People who are already familiar with Trent Reznor and long-time collaborator Atticus Ross will notice a lot of the music shares similarities with the two's score for David Finchers "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" such as on "We Fade Away" which almost features an identical droning guitar in the background as was used on the track "She Reminds Me Of You" from that movies score. The title track itself has more than an influence of former British Band Curve(who were produced by long-time Reznor collaborator Alan Moulder, who also mixed this album) all over it, including the scream and shout vocals.

Four tracks from last years "An Omen" EP make their way onto the album including the standout near 7 minute long "Ice Age" which features a more stripped back sound which features the sound of plucked strings as Mariqueen Maandig sings over it. The brilliant "The Loop Closes" is also included and is a song that is very reminiscent of "Into The Void" off "The Fragile". The closet they get to a mainstream pop song is on the catchy "How Long".

If you go with the vinyl option you get two extra tracks in the form of "The Province of Fear" and "Unintended Consequences", with the vinyl there is also a CD which includes the whole album as well as the two bonus tracks. The chances are if you didn't like the "An Omen" EP you won't like this album but you shouldn't write it off after one quick listen as there is plenty good stuff to be found here.
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on 22 April 2013
Nine Inch Nails meets Massive Attack, with extra glitchy beepy stuff thrown in. Much more chilled out and meditative than NIN (tracks tend not to shift too much, or too dramatically. Guitars and shouting more or less absent). While the music is unmistakably the sort of thing Reznor/Atticus Ross have been doing since "Ghosts" and "Year Zero" (and if you loved the latter album, you'll like this - YZ is without a doubt the NIN album this HTDA release sounds most akin to) Mariqueen's vocals do have an understated, slightly spooky quality that Reznor's nasal brooding/shouting persona lacks in some ways.

The songs from the "An Omen" EP are all here (that'll teach me to pay attention), and I thought they were all great - it's really more of the same, so if you liked that EP, it's a safe bet. I got into the songs I'd never heard almost straight away, with the exception of 2 or 3 in the middle.

Production is solid, if you're an old hand at NIN then it won't blow you away like the 90s albums did, but still, absorbing ambience and bass that will give your headphones a workout and massage your head a bit.

Overall this is well worth a few quid, 1 star deducted because of the 2 or 3 tracks I don't rate so much (not awful, just not as good as the rest). Also the melody from "On the Wing" is a bit too much like "I can see clearly now" by Johnny Nash & this one is probably just me but the harmonies on "How Long?" remind me too much of "Mama" by The Spice Girls.

...I feel weird leaving it on that note, so I'll finish up by saying I prefer this release to "With Teeth" by Nine Inch Nails (not trolling).
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on 15 January 2014
Yes, great with an exclamation mark. Their first full album contains a few songs from the second EP but contains so much different songs, fluctuating between genres, that it's hard to define this new outfit of Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen and frequent collaborator Atticus Ross. NIN fans will either love it or hate it. Everyone else has the chance to look at it with fresh eyes (and ears). Try it and wash the commercial garbage from your radio. Go on, what;s the worst that can happen ?
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on 28 June 2013
I have always been a massive Trent Reznor fan, so I'm a little biased, but I truly loved whats going on in this album. Trent has always been able to craft some awesome soundscapes, so coupled with his wife's amazing voice, and the talents of Atticus Ross, we have some real gems on this album. The chilling Ice Age, and the dystopian How Long are the real standouts for me. This is a milder form of Nine Inch Nails, and none the worse for that, its the kind of Album I like to stick on at work...
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on 16 August 2013
Nine inch nails and trent have done so many different styles of music over the years I was worried this wouldnt stand out or be a true group project but some how they have managed it. Overall the album flows well (bar the last song which fades out so the album doesnt end on a high) and its more layed back then nin so has a very different feel to it but is still very moody.
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