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Music / How to Destroy Angels

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Ghosts in the machine. Clockwise from top left: Trent Reznor, Mariqueen Maandig Reznor, Rob Sheridan, Atticus Ross.

A Nine Inch Nails side project formed in 2010, originally consisting of NIN frontman Trent Reznor, his vocalist wife Mariqueen, and his soundtrack-composing partner Atticus Ross. (Long-time NIN art director Rob Sheridan became a full-fledged member several years later, as well as contributing his passion for video-glitch art to the band's promo photos and stage setup.) The band named themselves after the band Coil's first single (and subsequent remix album) – one of whose members, Throbbing Gristle alum Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson, directed several NIN videos.

As of 2013, their recorded output consists of two self-released EP's (a self-titled 2010 debut and 2012's An omen EP_) and 2013's full-length, Columbia-released album Welcome oblivion. The album was followed by a brief tour...and the news that Reznor would be reforming NIN for a fall tour.


This band provides examples of:

  • Ambient/Electronic Music: Certainly more so that most of Nine Inch Nails' output, but still poppier than the Reznor/Ross soundtracks.
  • Anonymous Band: Played with. Their band photos (especially after Sheridan joined) are usually glitched-video screen grabs, and in their first tour, they played behind translucent curtains and were obscured by various light projections.
  • Auto-Tune: Employed in much the same manner that Radiohead used it: to sound entirely inhuman.
  • Bizarre Instrument: Despite being heavily digital/computer-based musicians, HTDA actively seek out quirky, custom-made analog instruments/controllers to help create their music. Here's one.
  • The Chanteuse
  • Crapsack World: The video for "How Long?"
  • Cover Version: Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough?" on the soundtrack of the Americanized The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
  • Advertisement:
  • Drone of Dread
  • The Faceless: Played with during the 2013 tour; for large chunks of the performance, the band were silhouettes.
  • Kill the Ones You Love/Kill It with Fire: The video for "The Space Inbetween," which shows Trent and Mariqueen as dead newlyweds in a hotel room - except that Mariqueen's Dies Wide Open corpse is still singing, even as her body catches on fire. Serious horror...
  • Let's Duet: Mariqueen and Trent share vocals on some songs, but she is still the band's primary voice.
  • Looped Lyrics: A literal example in a song called (fittingly enough) "The Loop Closes."
    The beginning/Is the end/And it/Keeps going/Around again... (repeat ad infinitum)
  • The Ophelia: Mariqueen's on-stage personna (floor-length white dress with angel sleeves, some mid-song temple dancer moments) evoke this trope.
  • Trying Not to Cry: During a New Jersey stop on their tour, Mariqueen attempted this while performing "The Ice Age." She was not successful.


Example of: