Six new tracks, $5 download in MP3 or lossless format. There is no CD release for this EP, and the 12″ 180-gram vinyl it’s already sold-out. This is the second EP by Mariqueen Maandig, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Rob Sheridan, while their long expected debut album probably will be released next year. Post-Industrial? Sort of, but not quite. How To Destroy Angels it’s an extremely slippery something, not related to any genre or style, but incorporates different musical elements from experimental Trip-Hop to Post-Rock and Post-Industrial explorations. Far away from the contorted and furious expression of anger so typical for Nine Inch Nails, but in some moments similar to the spirit of the 2008′s “Ghosts” series, How To Destroy Angels are in the search for new, unexplored paths, virgin, untouched areas of the music. Quite a temerarious task for 2012, isn’t it? But Reznor once again proves that everything it’s possible with inspiration and boldness.
Taking their name after Coil’s 1984 12″ debut entitled “How to Destroy Angels”, the project’s first release was a self-titled EP, released on June 1, 2010. The entire EP can now also be downloaded directly from Destroy Angel’s website, for free in 320kbit MP3, and optionally upgraded to lossless audio, with a high definition 24-bit option, for a $2 fee.
Meanwhile, The band also recorded a cover of the Bryan Ferry song “Is Your Love Strong Enough?,” which was released December 9, 2011 on the soundtrack for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
Rob Sheridan attended art school at New York’s Pratt Institute for one year before being hired at age 19 by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor in 1999, on the merits of a Nine Inch Nails fansite he created during high school. He was initially hired to maintain the newly-launched official Nine Inch Nails website. Since then he has taken over as art director for the band, contributing photography, web design, album covers, music videos, live tour visuals, and two live concert films. Sheridan now is also the art director of How To Destroy Angels.
Atticus Ross first came to notice in the mid-1990s as a programmer for Tim Simenon’s Bomb the Bass during the period of the albums Unknown Territory and Clear. He worked on a number of production and remix projects with Simenon as well as forming a collaborative relationship with former Bad Seed Barry Adamson. He programmed The Negro Inside Me and Oedipus Schmoedipus, and produced As Above So Below before forming his own band 12 Rounds with Claudia Sarne and Adam Holden. They released two exciting albums, “Jitterjuice” and “My Big Hero”. Also a third full-length album was produced by Trent Reznor for Nothing Records, but ultimately never finished.
Moving to the United States in 2000, Ross has been credited as a producer and/or programmer on four Nine Inch Nails albums: “With Teeth”, “Year Zero”, “Ghosts I-IV” (on which he was also credited as co-writer) and “The Slip”. He also performed live with the band at their farewell show at the Wiltern. Beyond Nine Inch Nails, he has worked with Trent Reznor on other acts, including Saul Williams and Zack de la Rocha, and in 2009 they co-produced tracks for a re-formed Jane’s Addiction with Alan Moulder.
Ross, along with Trent Reznor, won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for “The Social Network” in 2010 and the award for Best Original Score at the 68th Golden Globe Awards.
Mariqueen Maandig was a vocalist for the band West Indian Girl from 2004 to 2009, she performing on the albums “West Indian Girl” and “4th & Wall”. Her departure from the band was announced via the band’s website, coinciding with the announcement of her engagement to Trent Reznor.
“An Omen” was released on November 13, 2012 through Columbia Records.
“Keep it together” it’s a build-up made out of noises and smartly shaped sounds. Not what usually we call a song, but an exploration of possibilities, playing around smoothly with rhythmic and musical elements to discover new doorways into some mysterious, unknown universe.
“Ice age” sounds like a twisted in and out Led Zeppelin song with a charming Folk vibe except the nicely messed up rhythmic build-up. Mariqueen Maandig’s singing it’s definitively charming and gave to the song a friendly, but airy feel.
“On the wing” came like a whisper and smells like a lullaby. Quite minimalist and build upon pulses and rhythms, it has a Post-Industrial taste, but the sharp and hard edges are all rounded down and got soften. Once again, this isn’t a song, but a journey on the wing of a dream.
“The sleep of reason produces monsters” it’s one of the most abstract moments, eventually soundtrack taste like, near to the quieter moments of “Ghosts” and some score tracks written by Reznor and Ross.
“The loop closes” have reminiscences of the Nine Inch Nails spirit, the groove is definitively more nervous and the some of the noises are cutting through, and as the song it’s intensifying we’re expecting the deadly stab, a painful Reznor scream or a twisted off guitar. Nothing of this happens, still, this might be anytime a NIN song.
“Speaking in tongues” it’s like a mantra, a spiritually fueled incantation, an invocation of spirits.
01 – Keep it together
02 – Ice age
03 – On the wing
04 – The sleep of reason produces monsters
05 – The loop closes
06 – Speaking in tongues
Probably one of the most original and experimental, still not wildly abstract and eventually quite commercial releases of the year.