How To Destroy Angels felt like a godsend when they first broke onto the scene in 2010. The love product of industrial musician Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, and longtime friend and collaborator Atticus Ross, their creepily surreal self-titled debut EP had a great sound to it and found a perfect balance between Reznor’s work for The Social Network and his work as Nine Inch Nails.
Though not perfect, the EP left many fans, myself included, anxiously awaiting more from the fledgling musical project. And, two years later, we’re finally getting it. But does their new EP An Omen live up to the high expectations they set for themselves?
Sadly, the answer is a resounding no.
An Omen falls short on just about every level. The musical compositions throughout the EP are either excessively boring, not holding the listening ear for even a fraction of the song, or are incessantly obnoxious, such as with the high-pitched plucking in the track Ice Age. They bat between going too synthpop and not pop enough, creating a discordant feeling throughout the EP that is unwarranted.
The vocals, too, don’t mesh with the tracks either. One of the high points in their first EP, here Maandig’s singing feels consistently out of place, with some songs pronouncing her part too much while others hardly feature them at all.
Essentially, nothing on the album works together, creating an annoying cacophony that demands to be turned off immediately. It seems like very little thought went into the compositions themselves and, instead, the band members recorded everything separately and tried to smash them all together.
The magic of HTDA’S work was the fact that the instrumentals and vocals melded together to create a near otherworldly experience. With some good headphones plugged in, listening to songs like A Drowning could transform your daily commute into something mystical and ethereal. The tracks on An Omen simply can’t do that, and I’m not even convinced they were trying to.
Though most fans will find one or two tracks to enjoy (Keep It Together looks to become a fan favorite), this short form album is a tepidly boring experience with little depth to…well, to keep it together. Hopefully, HTDA’s next release will reclaim the power that their debut had in abundance.
A dull EP devoid of anything that makes the band special. Skip it. The only standout track is Keep It Together.
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