Trent Reznor and Mariqueen Maandig have been married for six years. Whatever your predisposition to the term “honeymoon phase” is, it is entirely safe to consider they’ve devoured it. Or rather, to borrow some words from Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails‘ formidable days, the days of fucking each other like animals probably does not bring them as close to God as before: [LISTEN]

I want to fuck you like an animal

I want to feel you from the inside

I want to fuck you like an animal

My whole existence is flawed

You get me closer to god

Reznor in the meantime, has revived said formidable industrial rock crew, fathered 1.5 kids and kicked some Grammy and Oscar ass with his cinematic collaborations (The Social Network, The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo) with producer Atticus Ross, the latter of which birthed the digitally ominous beginnings of How To Destroy Angels, putting Maandig and Reznor in perfect company with Ross to get on with their mid-marriage creative lives. Their first LP offering, Welcome Oblivion, is not Reznor with vocal assists from Maandig, dressed pretty with Ross – it is a twisted, hand-held walk into anxiety and the moment the sun turns black, embracing every harrowed moment of it to coddle the rebirth that comes with certain deaths, its finest moments happening when Maandig and Reznor clash into each other. “I feel the skin that separates us start to fade/And when I lie on top you I’m afraid,” Maandig coos on “Keep it Together,” Reznor fogging up the chorus as the two make ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ indiscernible: [LISTEN]

I promise

I swear

I can(can’t)

Keep it together

Ross, he’s not ancillary. His apocalyptic blip-bloopery is just as well a surrogate to the salty-sweet combo Maandig and Reznor incubate, evoking hard twitches of the palpitating synths on The Social Network with aftershocks of NIN’s quiet “Hurt” moments. And they all have writing credits, as ordained in the liner notes. Maandig will lead a thought, Reznor will come in and rustle some feathers, with Ross on their heels searing searing the mood perfect, as on pinnacle ethos moment “Too Late, All Gone,” Maandig leading a sadistic poetic tumble, Reznor strobing along, Ross whipping its bleak hopes all crunchy, digi-drum around: [LISTEN]

Christmas crushes

Baby blushes

Seedling ashes

Moment passes

Listen, regret

We do forget

Special effect

Same old, same shit


The more we change

Everything stays the same

The beauty of all this bleakness, though, despite Reznor’s affinity for a good ‘downward spiral‘ is that in the end Welcome Oblivion does chase that aforementioned rebirth. “All these precious things/Make them last forever,” Maandig pleads on “Strings and Attractors.” “I will, tear it down, to the ground, and build another one,” Reznor haunts on “And the Sky Began to Scream.” And of course Ross’ sky-clearing atmospherics on “Hallowed Ground.” The ground may be hallow. It may be oblivion. But sunrise, sunset.