by Jesus Ibarra
Nine Inch Nails (NIN) is my favorite band of all time and the man behind it all, Trent Reznor, is my hero and idol. It was a sad time in September 2009 when he announced the retirement of NIN as a touring entity. However, he also announced that new music as NIN, and some not as NIN, would be released in 2010. Following that, he ended the Wave Goodbye tour and married Mariqueen Maandig.
On February 9, 2010, he officially went back to work with the release of cryptic pictures on nin.com (the band’s, and Trent’s, official website) of his studio equipment and him singing. Fans, myself included, took to the internet — Twitter, message boards, Facebook, MySpace, etc. — to discuss the pictures and what they meant. To our delight, at the beginning of April, How To Destroy Angels (HTDA) was announced to music sites throughout the web. Details were scarce; offering only that Trent Reznor, Mariqueen Maandig Reznor and often collaborator Atticus Ross were behind the band, and that a self-titled six-track EP would be released in the summer. At the same time, HTDA launched their website, along with Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, and Vimeo accounts that included a short clip of an awesome evil sound coming out of some audio equipment. The fans went crazy and again met across the internet to discuss possible developments.New clips were released in the following weeks, each including a member of the band. This led to the release of their first single, “A Drowning,” on Amazon. Following the single, the band started releasing a new set of cryptic pictures on their Twitter account, culminating on May 14 with the release of their first music video entitled “The Space In Between,” featuring all the band members but in very dire circumstances. After that, the band stated on Facebook that they would be releasing their EP on July 6, 2010, and that there may be a tour and full-length LP in 2011.
For a couple of weeks, Trent and company left us with everything they had used to tease us then announced that the EP would be released on June 1 as a free digital download. Knowing I could still buy the physical CD in July, I jumped for joy and signed up right away to get my download link. Now fans could get the full experiment that How To Destroy Angels was. Having listened to the EP over and over, I’m satisfied and excited. The music is not quite NIN, and that’s good because it isn’t supposed to be. There are clearly NIN influences but it is very industrial and electronic in its own right. It was also refreshing to see that, without having to sing and write lyrics, Trent can turn noise into something beautiful, with the help of Atticus and his wife of course.
- The Space In Between
- The Believers
- A Drowning
“The Space in Between” is, in a word, EPIC! Right off the bat, you get a sense of the grandiose; of a sound larger than it really is. Its perfect description is as a sound that plays when in fact an angel is killed. The lyrics seem to be about the death of two people and their poisoning of each other. Mariqueen’s voice complements the music well. “Parasite” is by far my favorite track because it is heavy in its noise, and has a lot of noise to filter if you listen carefully. It has a very deep bass and its tempo switches beautifully from slow to fast. It also features Trent’s vocals melded with Mariqueen’s, which is probably why I love it. “Fur-Lined” is definitely the most different track of the whole album, as it’s not something you would expect from Trent. Yet, that is what makes it so good. It starts with a very Pop-sounding drum line that shifts into a noisy electronic masterpiece that makes you want to move. The lyrics are about losing control and it fits the style of the song. “BBB,” which stands for big black boots, can be interpreted as either an S&M anthem or about authority keeping you down. It has and evil sound to it which I love and is a good song through and through. “The Believers” is the most experimental with all kinds of different sounds. It’s a decent track but, compared to the others, it’s just alright. “A Drowning” is definitely the most emotional track, akin to NIN’s quiet masterpiece “Hurt.” Its lyrics are fitting for the song and it definitely stirs some deep emotions. All in all, this EP and how it was released amazes and excites me. It excites me because of what Trent has planned next as he is obviously not done making music and will keep teasing us, his fanatic fans.
Download the FREE EP on HTDA’s website or order the physical CD on Amazon. Nine Inch Nails’ last album, The Slip, is also available as a free download at their site. You can follow Nine Inch Nails’ on Twitter or Trent Reznor, and How To Destroy Angels also has a Tumblr where you can ask them questions. Finally, for the musings of a college student living in Los Angeles or if you just want to contact me, I’m on Twitter too.