Apr 2013 24

How to Destroy Angels - Welcome OblivionHow to Destroy Angels
Category: Electronic / Industrial
Album: Welcome Oblivion
Stars: 3
Blurb: Languishing in stark electronic atmospheres and lushly somber melody, the full-length debut from How to Destroy Angels is a slow paced, dreamy affair.


Formed in 2009 at approximately the same time Trent Reznor announced a hiatus for Nine Inch Nails, How to Destroy Angels has been the subject of much discussion and debate. With fellow NIN alumni musician/producer Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan, along with Reznor’s wife Mariqueen Maandig on vocals, the band released two EPs over the next two years, showcasing a stark and abstract style akin to the later, more atmospheric works of NIN, all the while retaining a mildly pop sensibility of songwriting aided by Maandig’s saccharinely soulful voice. With the debut full-length album Welcome Oblivion, How to Destroy Angels makes a valiant attempt to come into its own with mixed results.

Listening to the album, it would be difficult not to draw comparisons to Nine Inch Nails – chalk that up to Reznor and company making music for more than 25 years and thus having an established sense of technique and approach that would be difficult for any musician and/or producer to shake. Indeed, from the droning bass lines and bleak reverberations filling “Keep It Together” to the monotonous glitch-laden cadence of the title track, to the gloomy yet upbeat melodies and slow rhythms of “Too Late, All Gone” recalling “Everyday is Exactly the Same” from With Teeth, the similarities between the two projects are perhaps too much to ignore. This is not to say that Welcome Oblivion is without its pleasant surprises, as “How Long?” evokes a sweet melancholy with its lovely vocal harmonies and sparse arrangement of bouncy electro beats. “Ice Age” features a whimsical sequence of jaunty acoustic plucks as Maandig sings a simple tune that is lovely to listen to, a steady buildup of scratchy bass and layers of skittering electronics and vocal manipulations make up “Recursive Self-Improvement,” and “The Loop Closes” jitters and judders with cut-up piano and electronic effects to make for an oddly funky track. “Hallowed Ground” ends the album with a distorted electronic thrum and layers of vocalized and ambient drones, ending with as little fanfare as the rest of Welcome Oblivion.

There is a marked slowness to Welcome Oblivion, with each song moving at a rather languid pace that along with the minimalist atmosphere makes for an ethereal and dreamy album that if not for the lush production could be rather sleep-inducing. In this regard, coupled with the somber melodic tone of Maandig’s voice, How to Destroy Angels brings to mind the likes of Fever Ray or Android Lust as well as Nine Inch Nails, albeit with a less energetic and more lushly sullen approach that may be better experienced as accompaniment to Sheridan’s distorted visuals in the packaging and video promotions. Perhaps this is a byproduct of Reznor’s and Ross’ recent successes with film scoring, or it may simply be a diversion away from the expected rage of their more famous outlet. Whatever the mentality, Welcome Oblivion is at the very least a finely produced piece of experimental audio art.
Track list:

  1. The Wake-Up
  2. Keep It Together
  3. And the Sky Began to Scream
  4. Welcome Oblivion
  5. Ice Age
  6. On the Wing
  7. Too Late, All Gone
  8. How Long?
  9. Strings and Attractors
  10. We Fade Away
  11. Recursive Self-Improvement
  12. The Loop Closes
  13. Hallowed Ground

How to Destroy Angels Website http://howtodestroyangels.com
How to Destroy Angels MySpace http://us.myspace.com/howtodestroyangels
How to Destroy Angels Facebook https://www.facebook.com/howtodestroyangels
How to Destroy Angels Twitter https://twitter.com/destroyangels
How to Destroy Angels SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/howtodestroyangels
How to Destroy Angels Webstore http://store.destroyangels.com
Columbia Records Website http://www.columbiarecords.com
Columbia Records MySpace http://us.myspace.com/columbiarecords
Columbia Records Facebook https://www.facebook.com/columbiarecords
Columbia Records Twitter https://twitter.com/ColumbiaRecords
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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