Trent Reznor / Atticus Ross / Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

Watchmen, Vol. 2

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After the thrills found on the first installment of this three-part series, Watchmen, Vol. 2 dials back the action to shift focus onto the heavy issues and deep drama presented in the middle stretch of the HBO television series. While the general ominous tone and heightened tension remains ("Losing Face" and "Squid Pro Quo"), Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross throw in some sonic curveballs to keep listeners on their feet. The old-timey piano of "Trust in the Law" fits perfectly with its on-screen scenes, while a playful chord progression will delight fans of NIN's most recognizable hit, "Closer." Meanwhile, surprising moments "Nostalgia Blues" and "Dreamland Jazz" pull listeners away from the usual synth-and-guitar drama just as jarringly as the on-screen "nostalgic" black-and-white flashbacks. With effective use of period-specific music layered atop their established sonic world, Reznor & Ross match the utterly gripping visuals of the mid-season episodes with imaginative score choices. Watchmen, Vol. 2 may not be as immediate as its predecessor, but like the respective moments on the show, it's just as compulsively engaging and a creative wonder to behold.

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