Album Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Scott Kara

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Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo OST (EMI)

After winning an Oscar for their soundtrack to The Social Network last year, musical collaborators Trent Reznor (aka Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross get back together for the American remake of this tense thriller.

After catchy opener Immigrant Song, a cover of Led Zeppelin's 1970 stomper that's given the hammering and distorted industrial dance treatment Reznor is best known for, it slips straight into pure soundtrack mode. It's both beautiful and eerie as well as sick and twisted in parts - so it's all the things you imagine from these two conjurors of the moody and macabre. But at an immense 39 tracks and almost three hours long - the film is only two and a half hours in length - it is not simply a soundscape to the film. Rather than it being a collection of incidental snippets of music, as some soundtracks are, this is an album in the true sense. But be warned: it's an intense, brow-furrowing listen.
Pinned and Mounted is especially evocative of one harrowing part of the film, Please Take Your Hand Away is tranquil and haunting at the same time, and the unnerving frenzied hiss and buzz of Cut Into Pieces and the haunting music box-inspired The Splinter are the perfect soundtrack for being laid out on an autopsy table and analysed in depth.

And that's all just in the first half.

Much later comes brain-rattling highlight Oraculum, a frenetic eight-minute shock of tinny beats, digital bleeps, discordant chimes and other odd delights, and to finish, their rendition of Bryan Ferry's Is Your Love Strong Enough? is like a slightly seedy Bond theme song.

The album is also a fitting accompaniment to Reznor's cannon of Nine Inch Nails' releases. Because though the pulse and pummel are mostly absent, the moodiness and intensity of the music remains, making it a unique and formidable sonic achievement.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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