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How To Destroy Angels is a truly unique band. This post-industrial group consisting of Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross. An Omen is the second EP released by HTDA, building up anticipation for the band’s planned release of an LP next year. This EP was released November 13 and is surely an interesting piece of work.
I give this six song EP a 3 out of 5. Simply, if anything, because I can’t quite put my thumb on it. At times I love it and at times I don’t understand it. This EP won’t have any hits that you’ll find on the radio, but it’s Reznor putting together a new project with that techno-industrial sound, featuring the ghost-like voice of Maandig, and creating his own little pet.
Taking similar sound from Reznor and Ross’ collaborated “The Social Network” and “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” soundtrack, the album at first listen appears to be all over the place, but then you realize it’s Reznor’s perfectionist attitude and planning that goes into each little bit of the album. With that said, I had to listen to it twice to get a grip on it to review it.
The single off An Omen is the track “Keep It Together” but I don’t believe it is the best track on the album. It’s a slower piece, featuring Maandig’s whisper of a voice, hitting all the right notes, and fits perfectly for this track, with Reznor included singing shakily along the chorus “I can’t keep it together.” The song has a haunting feel, but sets the pace for the entire EP.
This is followed by a unique “Ice Age” featuring a simplistic banjo accompanied with Maandig on vocals. At first listen, I was unsure, but I think it is a good song. It certainly stands out from the rest of the album, and a bit unsuspecting sounding almost folk-like, but showcases what Maandig is capable of vocal wise, and then floats away at the end into the next track.
In my opinion, as a Nine Inch Nails fan, I believe “The Loop Closes” is the best song on An Omen. It begins with a various “clanking” sound, but then comes together perfectly and forms a solid beat, similar to one you’d see from Nine Inch Nails. Then Reznor appears from the darkness chanting “The beginning is the end that keeps coming around again” in a whisper shout, building up and up only to drop off into a technological beat to drift the song out.
The rest of An Omen fits right along with these tracks, but these three stood out the most. The album seems spacy and other-worldly at times, containing plenty of distortions that Reznor loves to showcase, with a dark atmosphere, the album comes and goes before you know it. With its original release pushed back from November 2011 till this week due to Reznor’s un-satisfaction, he took the time and formed it into his own little masterpiece. It’s my opinion that a lot of people probably won’t like the album, even some fans of Nine Inch Nails may not, but it’s what you expect out of Reznor when his hands are on a project, not in a bad way, just unique. We’ll see what the band has in store coming out with its full debut album next year.
How To Destroy Angels – “Keep It Together”: