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Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor Returns With New Band, Carrying The Same Loyal Following

Trying to emerge from Trent Reznor’s massive musical shadow is almost impossible. Plainly put, the man doesn’t have a following, he has an obsessive cult who will follow whatever artistic path he may take and will gladly jump into the fire’s central core. In his post-Nine Inch Nails band, How to Destroy Angels, he’s back to a Trent circa Downward Spiral. Not in the sound, but in the eerie feeling it creates when put on in a dark room. The feeling that spiders could crawl out of speakers or a rusty gear could lapse and the machine of life could spin uncontrollably all in time as the world ended.

That’s the Trent the people have been missing. In HTDA, Trent plays the role of sonic creator while his new wife, Mariqueen Maandig, handles the vocals. It’s more Portishead than it is industrial, but the result is staggering. The music is layered beyond comprehension while the overall feeling is cryptic and sexual. Maandig’s vocals are ethereal and haunting, like smoke hanging in a room post coatis. She adds an element of style that is vastly impressive as it is welcome to listen to. On “A Drowning,” the world falls apart as Maandig takes breathless cries while the sound of the machinery of God sputters and clanks. “Parasite,” the mid-point of the record, features a thick, muddy guitar(?) riff that sounds like a dinosaur crushing its enemy. There’s an underlying heaviness that is almost like a Mastadon riff but without the weed smoke and beards.

“BBB” is strict and overwhelming. The soniciscape created is vintage Reznor trickery and it works to phenomenal results. In some moments there’s a feeling of drowning in spacey world beats, but then coupled with sonically distorted guitars it creates a feeling of visibility through the haze. “Fur Lined” has a drum beat very similar to “In This Together” from the Nails record “All That Could Have Been,” it’s easily the record’s weakest link but as a whole it works. For a free six-song EP to whet people’s mouths for the band, there is nothing to complain or be disappointed about. If Nails is gone, this isn’t a bad place to pick up the pieces.

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