The following contains spoilers for the first season of the HBO series Watchmen.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have released the third and final installment of their Watchmen Soundtrack, which was originally featured in the HBO adaption/sequel of Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name. The cover predominantly features the back of Dr. Manhattan’s head, and hosts a tag that states listeners suffering from “11/2 PTSD” should use an “EDS filter” to “ensure a risk free immersive experience,” in reference to the comic’s final moments (also shown midway through the series), when the character Ozymandias destroyed New York City after unleashing a giant squid.
This latest project is packaged as the final album for a fictional band called The Nine Inch Nails (as opposed to Nine Inch Nails, the musical project consisting of both Reznor and Ross) called The Manhattan Project. This style follows a similar motif from the previous two releases; Volume One is set up to look like a release from Sons of Pale Horse, the in-universe band that took inspiration from Rorschach’s journal, while Volume Two is designed to look like the soundtrack for American Hero Story, Watchmen’s show-within-a-show, and features Hooded Justice on the cover.
Easter eggs for this latest album state that it was recorded on a dare in “The Crater,” a mysterious fortress where the shows final climax takes place. It also hosts an essay titled He’s Gone Away, an alternate account of The Nine Inch Nails’ history, that discusses Dr. Manhattan’s disappearance from Earth. This essay claims that Sean Parker suggested adding “The” to the band’s name, which likely serves as a reference to the film The Social Network (a film Ross and Reznor also scored). The images from this volume can be seen here.
Nine Inch Nails have also released some merchandise to coincide with this project including a t-shirt of The Nine Inch Nails which can be purchased here, and a link to moon dust, which cannot be purchased and simply states it cannot be shipped to a consumer’s location. A caption for the shirt reads: TO CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF THE 2019 DEFINITIVE ARCHIVE EDITION OF THE NINE INCH NAILS’ FINAL ALBUM “THE MANHATTAN PROJECT” ON VINYL, WE ARE REPRINTING A FEW CLASSIC DESIGNS FROM THE ERA. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THIS SHIRT HAS BEEN IN PRINT SINCE THE ALBUM WAS RECORDED IN 2001 AND WILL ONLY BE AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME.”
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat