How to Destroy Angels – Welcome oblivion
Having delivered two competent-but-unremarkable EPs thus far, How to Destroy Angels were surely looking to make a strong statement with their debut long-player. Even taking into account the band's preference for hypnotic electronic jams over and above traditional songcraft, Welcome oblivion falls flat on almost every front.
Sonically, it's robust enough (you wouldn't expect anything less from Trent Reznor and sometime co-conspirator Atticus Ross) but the band's palette of tastefully bit-crushed loops, tough electro beats and processed synths is too practised and too predictable to engage the listener on anything more than a superficial level.
Tracks like Ice age, with its sparse acoustic instrumentation, or the pop-slick How long? could perhaps have served to sweeten this enervating formula if only they themselves weren't so stultifyingly dull. Clocking in at an absurdly-bloated 65-minutes in length, Welcome oblivion offers the listener little more than a hyper-stylised landscape of emotional petrification – sorely lacking in conviction, energy or inspiration. [Mark Shukla]