How To Destroy Angels
Welcome Oblivion


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Beebe USER (126 Reviews)
March 7th, 2013 | 61 replies | 22,184 views


Release Date: 03/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Working out the kinks and making some adjustments, How to Destroy Angels are officially their own group just in time for their debut album.

How to Destroy Angels has never really had issues with finding an identity of their own in the industrial sounds they dabble in, nor have they had trouble distinguishing themselves from Trent Reznor’s brainchild Nine Inch Nails. This can partially be attributed to the fact that while there aren’t a notable amount of female front-women in the industrial music scene, vocalist Mariqueen Maandig’s sensual croons and chilling whispers have always given How to Destroy Angels’ EPs a trip hop vibe as opposed to an industrial one.

After two EPs, the group’s long-anticipated debut album Welcome oblivion benefits from not only progress and substantial growth, but in sporting the key differences that have always separated this outfit from Nine Inch Nails, and Reznor’s industrial legacy as a whole. This is the most minimal and cogitative music that Reznor has ever been involved with. It’s nowhere near as aggressive, or even abrasive as Nine Inch Nails, and instead focuses on noisy glitch music with petrifying build-up that never climaxes and erupts into harsh music, but is instead relieved by soothingly frigid ambient tracks. Those more downtempo cuts are right off their An omen EP_ from last year, whose only flaw was a lack of differentiation in mood, but is corrected on Welcome oblivion thanks to the new tracks with more busy elements at work. Its things like this that are evident of the refinement to their approach that How to Destroy Angels makes sure to incorporate. Gone is the awkward sexuality of the songs “Fur Lined” and “BBB” found on their self-titled debut EP, improved to a level of seductive entrancement that is boasted on “Too late, all gone”.

Welcome oblivion succeeds mostly in being a vibrant collage of colorful glitch music that’s vast in its atmosphere, yet claustrophobic in its grip. Maandig takes a few tips out of Reznor’s playbook here as well, providing shouts on the title track that are hushed under layers of distorted and hissing synths. There’s certainly a lot of variety here as well, instead of brooding, both Reznor’s backing vocals and Maandig’s leading opt for a cold and emotionless tone, which makes the last three tracks that drone all the more ominous and unnerving.

The sonic range here is much more expansive than Reznor’s previous experiment in the genre with the Nine Inch Nails album Ghosts, as the ideas here are fully thought through, and the caustic textures have a diversity that seem to take after the experience in densely layered mood music that Reznor gained from his recent interest in score music with fellow How to Destroy Angels bandmate Atticus Ross.

To that end, the similarities between the soundscapes on Welcome oblivion and Reznor and Ross’s score music are most likely due to Ross’s equal reign over the music as Reznor. There really doesn’t seem to be someone exactly in charge on Welcome oblivion, it truly feels like a team effort where everyone involved has just as much power and contribution in this collaboration as the other.

Welcome oblivion is the music that How to Destroy Angels have always showed potential of being able to make in the past, and that potential has now been fully realized. This is music that is unique from most electronica in a post-industrial word, and shows that Reznor and company have acquired and comfortably settled into a state of artistic maturity in which they aren’t trying to put out the chaotic angst of Nine Inch Nails, but instead, mellow and thoughtful mental wallpaper with some gritted teeth lurking just beneath the surface to boot.



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3.6
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
March 7th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because I've been wanting to review something involving Reznor for the longest time.

HSThomas
March 7th 2013



668 Comments


Because I've been wanting to have sex with something involving Reznor for the longest time.

Fix'd

HSThomas
March 7th 2013



668 Comments


But seriously cool review.

breakingthefragile
March 7th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Because I've been wanting to have sex with something involving Maandig for the longest time.

Fixed

Seriously though, thanks man.

heyadam
March 7th 2013



1692 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Such a good freaking album.

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

DeadToPain
March 7th 2013



694 Comments


This is my favorite thing Reznor has done in a long, long time. I liked the soundtrack work, but it wasn't much for repeat listening to me. "Ghosts" was amazing, but obviously overdrawn and more of, like you said, experimentation and didn't sound 'complete'. This just clicks on all cylinders. Not sure if I think it's classic yet, but it's definitely between a 4 and 4.5 for me. Good review. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

Acanthus
March 7th 2013



9510 Comments


Their debut was good, but a lot of the newer tracks on An Omen were really disappointing to me; I'm not sure if this will do the same or not but I hope they don't all go the way of "Ice Age."

Digging: Ayria - Hearts for Bullets

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2013



3020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I just downloaded this on my MOG app (loving it so far), will give it a go when I have the time.

Digging: Todd Terje - It's Album Time

tmagistrelli
March 7th 2013



686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review breakingthefragile

breakingthefragile
March 7th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks all.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2013



6734 Comments


Puts Renzor on the front page. - AlexB

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2013



20229 Comments


is this dark and grimy like the space in between

cos I loved that song but haven't heard anything else by them

Digging: YG - My Krazy Life

jtswope
March 7th 2013



1209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

another great review Alex. still need to check this out.

Casablanca
March 7th 2013



262 Comments


where's my damn feature?? grrrrrr


kiddin', excellent review sir. looking forward to this now

fromtheinside
March 7th 2013



16395 Comments


oh this isn't cryptomnesia

Digging: Lord Mantis - Death Mask

Gyromania
March 7th 2013



14653 Comments


very good review, alex.

breakingthefragile
March 7th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks you to whoever featured this and thanks for the compliments guys.

NapalmCrusader
March 7th 2013



1737 Comments


Very good review dude. Album is very cool.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
March 7th 2013



3020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is starting to grow on me, though I find it difficult to assign a rating to music like this - it's so industrial and lifeless that it's difficult to tell what's right or wrong.

But Fur Lined was a great song, man, how can you say it was "awkward?"

breakingthefragile
March 7th 2013



2935 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I just think the lyrics are awkward and the flow is a little annoying. The whole rock-ish sound of the
track really doesn't work in my opinion.



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