Self-Titled EP by How to Destroy Angels (TMR 36)

The sound of authoritariansim sickening free spirits

J.P. Williams
2 min readMay 3, 2023
The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London depicts an America under the harsh rule of oligarchs. Public domain. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

If, as Aristotle wrote in Poetics, art depends on mimesis, then what has Trent Reznor been imitating all these years? From Nine Inch Nails to soundtracks for films such as The Social Network, Reznor uses a precise collection of synthesizers and drum machines to create music that bangs, hums, saws, broods and threatens. Side project How to Destroy Angels debuted with a self-titled EP on The Null Corporation in 2010. It falls somewhere between the industrial violence of NIN’s The Downward Spiral (1994) and the flatline ambience of Ghosts I-IV (2008). In it, I hear the usual 1) Machinery 2) Fragility and, more intriguingly, 3) Politics. “BBB” decries the sound of “big black boots” to a stomping beat, electronic slewing and the sound of actual feet marching. This mimesis conjures contemporary analogues for the Nuremberg rallies, and it’s an uneasy feeling we would do well to heed.

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