Welcome to the multiplex of Trent Reznor’s mind, where your ICEE is spiked with arsenic and there’s a mind-control microchip at the bottom of every box of Goobers. Reznor’s Oscar-winning soundtrack for David Fincher’s The Social Network wasn’t too far from Nine Inch Nails‘ industrial rock. But he had 14 months to throw himself into Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and the result is an obsessive-compulsive studio necromancer at his most maximally creepy. Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross roll out three hours of often weirdly engrossing metal-machine music, from “Oraculum,” which distantly resembles a goth groove, to tracks like “Cut Into Pieces,” which distantly resemble suicidal vacuum cleaners. But it mainly displays Reznor’s knack for placing forlorn, darkly pretty pianos, keyboards or percussion sounds over glacial ambient whir and grind. There’s a huge debt to Brian Eno at his most austere, along with occasional nods to modern classical minimalism (check those Steve Reich marimbas on “The Heretics”). There are also two actual rock songs: a stormy ballad from Reznor’s side band How to Destroy Angels and an utterly boss synth-metal rip through Led Zeppelin‘s “Immigrant Song,” with Karen O swinging the hammer of the gods like a New Wave fjord witch, and bringing the midnight sun to Reznor’s land of endless ice and snow.
Listen To “Immigrant Song”: