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Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross just saved the day with part one of their Watchmen score

Photo: Mark Hill (HBO)

Everything about HBO’s Watchmen, the sequel series to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons iconic ‘80s comic series, is kicking us in the gut, and that includes the show’s propulsive score. Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are behind the tunes, which they’ll be dropping, squid-like, on an unsuspecting public across three volumes throughout the rest of the year. The first volume, which sprawls across 15 tracks, arrived today.

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Tracks range from ambient (“Orphans Of Krypton”) and melancholic (“Watch Over This Boy”) to cinematic (“Müller Time”) and quirky (“Nun With A Motherf*&*ing Gun”), and the thundering “Owl Hunts Rat” may as well be a NIN outtake. “When we saw a rough cut of the premiere, it started to become clear that the role of music would be more in-your-face rather than a supporting role in the background,” Reznor recently told Rolling Stone.

As /Film points out, the vinyl edition includes a Watchmen Easter egg. “Sons Of Pale Horse,” it reads, a reference to a death metal band, Pale Horse, that’s killed by the fake squid attack in the comics. The vinyl is titled The Book of Rorschach, and, per HBO’s Watchmen supplement site Peteypedia, it was originally released in the ‘90s.

From Peteypedia:

It’s something of a squidsploitation exercise, though this might be the least of its offenses to good taste. You might remember the record if you came of age in the early part of the century. It was one of those one-hit-wonder things and considered controversial for offending the sensibilities of the time; it didn’t “know the room,” to use a phrase that I tend to hear quite often. For those raised on classical music—or, in the case of Deputy Director Farragut, raised in New York, during the last of the radio-free years—all you need to know is that the album was inspired by “Rorschach’s Journal” (explored in a recent memo; copies at my desk, feel free to come by anytime to ask me for one), and that the record is known to be popular with two types of vigilante profiles on the Werthem Spectrum, the rare Objectivist/Messianic and the increasingly common Paramilitary/Nihilist. An obvious example would be the Seventh Kavalry in Oklahoma. Field reports from Tulsa have indicated that original editions of The Book of Rorschach were found in 7K homes during the police raids that followed the “White Night” in 2016.

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Stream it below.

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Expect the second and third volumes on November 25 and December 16, respectively.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.