How to Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion (Sony; 2013)
For those who have never heard of How to Destroy Angels, the group is composed of former industrial project Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Reznor’s wife Mariqueen Maandig and Rob Sheridan, who was also involved with NIN.
This album will definitely appeal to the industrial/electronic crowd, with an abundance of synthesized sounds and flowing vocals blended seamlessly over them.
The songs range from more ambient and upbeat, such as in the song “Ice Age”, which features plucky strings and Maandig’s sinuous voice, to slightly more intense and murky ones, such as “Too Late, All Gone” and the title track. These songs are a lot heavier on the effects and distortions.
The album is such that veteran fans of industrial music are sure to enjoy it, but it’s still light enough that individuals new to the genre can ease into it.
Trial track: “How Long?”
– Joseph Arciresi
Conceived around the time of last summer’s student protests in Montreal, Images Du Futur reflects the tension and unease of a city in upheaval, torn by the uncertainty of the future.
Masters of restraint, the Montreal-based band has perfected a sinister minimalist sound that is detached, yet intensely present. Evolving from the style of their debut album, Zeroes QC, the much-anticipated sophomore release is a mixture of drone and tension. You can almost hear the murmur of “les casseroles” clanging in the art-rock soundscape.
The anxiety incurred by Images Du Futur is both a blessing and a curse. Don’t expect any catchy hooks or satisfying choruses, this album is like a dark alleyway in the wrong side of town, just close your eyes and hope that you get to the end with all of your limbs intact.
Trial Track: “Minor Work”
– Paul Traunero
Phosphorescent – Muchacho (Dead Oceans; 2013)
“Sun, Arise!” has a choir-like vibe reminiscent of a less-boring religious service, while the cheesy, echoing vocals and airy instrumentation on “Song For Zula” sound as if they belong on a tiny Zellers speaker system, albeit at one of the more upscale branches.
“Terror in the Canyons” has a home-on-the-range feel, while “A Charm / A Blade” is a classic-rocked up version of the same sound. If your focus starts to slip, make a game of catching the “Whoop!” interjections on almost every track.
The second half of the album captures the weight and emotion that Muchacho probably intended to deliver; kudos to these tracks. To send off the record, the choir returns in all its glory for the final track, “Sun’s Arising”.
Trial track: “The Quotidian Beasts”
– Stephanie Ullman