HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS – ‘Welcome Oblivion’

howtodestroyangelsHOW TO DESTROY ANGELS – ‘Welcome Oblivion’
Trent Reznor is never one to play it safe.  He could’ve gone for the big seething industrial record riddled with Metal guitars, to satisfy the great unwashed who bought into NIN via the Head Like A Hole or Wish singles; the vicious and hugely successful Downward Spiral.  Instead and in keeping with a carefully cultivated position on the edge of the mainstream, Reznor with wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan have created yet another set that’s way off the deep end.  A set that refuses to sit comfortably in any clearly defined category; another difficult record in popular parlance, but one that fuses reality with the improbability of the subconscious to stunning effect.  Over an hour long (an hour and a half with the bonus tracks), it takes in a hugely bold array of post-industrial moods and musical arrangements with a slew of ambient washes and blips along the way.  ‘The Wake Up’, ‘On The Wing’ and ‘Recursive Self-Improvement’ – not so much tunes as pieces sculptured from the banks of Reznors electronic sounds; linking extremes and opposites seemlessly.  ‘Keep It Together’, ‘Ice Age’ and ‘How Long?’ are rooted in a hidden cult of personality, Maandig’s effortless vocal perfectly complimenting the dark subterranea.  Bookended on the extended version by the fantastically sedate ‘A Drowning’, a cut from 10’s self titled EP, Reznor drops a perverse twist on the late night ballad theme and brings to a close this daring and daunting debut album of love, fear and loathing.  A clear demonstration he’s still one of the foremost composers of unique and contemporary music.  (8)
STEVE FLETCHER

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