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 released in support of the HBO adaption of the Alan Moore 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 “insure a risk free immersive experience,” in reference to the shows final moments, from 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 released, with Volume One, set up to look like a release from Sons of Pale Horse, the in-universe band that took inspiration from Rorschach’s journal, which is filled with Easter eggs referencing Rorschach and Volume Two, which is designed to look like the soundtrack for American Hero Story, Watchmen’s show-within-a-show which 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 were the shows final climax takes place. It also hosts an essay titled He’s Gone Away, which offers an alternate account of The Nine Inch Nails history, mostly in relation to Dr. Manhattan’s disappearance from Earth, which occurs in the show. This essay claims that Sean Parker suggested adding the “The” to the band’s name, in reference to the film The Social Network (which Ross and Reznor also scored); that Trent Reznor has not been seen since 1995, when he walked off stage in Saigon after yelling “Fuck you!” to the crowd and that Cameron Crowe wrote the liner notes for a 2018 reissue of TNIN’s entire discography. Images of 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.”
Reznor and Ross had previously debuted “The Way It Used to Be” from this latest volume of the soundtrack earlier this month. They also debuted a cover of the David Bowie classic “Life On Mars” earlier this year.
Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat