Last Updated on Thursday, 10 January 2013 18:39
Artist: How To Destroy Angels
Album: An Omen
Label: Columbia Records
Genre: post-industrial, electronica, alternative
An Omen is the second EP of How To Destroy Angels, a band that consists of Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, as well as Rob Sheridan and Atticus Ross. It is no surprise that with this set of fine musicians, a delicately crafted sound resulted.
The atmosphere of An Omen is minimalist, blue, under-cooled and haunting. The rhythms are fragmented, the sounds are broken into snippets and then carefully all restructured into lunar soundscapes. Mariqueen's whisper-like vocal style adds an eerie layer to the music.
With Trent Reznor in there, you can't avoid the comparison to Nine Inch Nails. However, How To Destroy Angels is a different band, a different sound – and I'd advise everyone to (try to) listen to this work without NIN-oriented expectations.
How To Destroy Angels borrows on An Omen from a wide array of artists and musical styles: Massive Attack, Joy Division, Appalachian folk music, dubstep, Ludovico Einaudi and Kaftwerk are just some of the references that caught my attention.
The opening track “Keep it Together” contains layers and layers of rhythms and electronica, and out-of-sync vocals. On “Ice Age”, a 7-minute track, the vocals of Mariqueen are used to narrate a story on top of layers of sounds.
“On The Wing” is supported by a more pronounced beat, and keeps the flow underneath all the layers of electronics and effects – the most interesting track of the album. “The Sleep Of Reason Produces Monsters” is built up by adding layer by layer to the sound, as sometimes done in post-rock compositions, and feels like a nightmare that became sound.
“The Loop Closes” feel like a contradiction of its title – a track drifting away from its origins. The final “Speaking in Tongues” again creates a deeply menacing sound.
At its best moments, An Omen creates a hauntingly beautiful sound that chills my blood and freezes my fingers. At its words moments, An Omen contains cerebral parts that lack feeling and groove.
Buy How To Destroy Angels – An Omen