Trent Reznor’s new musical project with his wife Mariqueen Maandig, titled How to Destroy Angels, is kind of like NIN lite, but only in the musical department. HTDA’s newest single “How Long”, the first off their upcoming full length album titled Welcome Oblivion (due on March 5th), has the industrial grime and grind of NIN’s best, but is much more understated than much of NIN’s white noise and synth washed guitar sonic attack. Maanding also handles the lead vocals for HTDA with Reznor’s nasal groan regulated to backing vocal status. Despite the sonic differences between HTDA and NIN though, the fear factor and subtle but graphic social and political commentary that has become a staple of Renzor’s music ever since he seemed to exorcise his demons on The Downward Spiral (and one can argue that it was present there too) and brought to the front and center on the brilliant Year Zero, are still prevalent in HTDA’s music and videos.
If fact, HTDA’s first ever video for their first ever single, “The Space Between,” featured images of a dead Reznor and his wife in their honeymoon suite covered in (or laying) in in pools of blood. “How Long,” which visually, thematically, and musically harkens back to NIN’s Year Zero continues the tradition of Reznor related creepy videos and songs. A nuclear winterlike washed landscape frames the story of a man who hunts another man for survival. Post-apocalyism is always good for giving people the creeps and no one can like Renzor. As reported at NPR, “the video was created and directed by London-based visual arts collective Shynola” who came up with the visuals after “a great conversation with the band…”
“How Long” is a better song than anything off of the band’s last EP An Omen, which featured a handful of tracks that felt more suited to (and perhaps was inspired by) Reznor’s recent foray into soundtrack work (Reznor collaborated on the scores for The Social Network and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). “How Long” is a much more proper song. It even has a sort of pop chorus. Something that you’d never hear in a NIN song. It’s a new day for Reznor though, and it appears anything is possible…including some great new music from the dark master of the industrial mainstream.