Trent Reznor may very well win an Oscar tonight, so here are some words about his humble synth-angst beginnings. 1989's Pretty Hate Machine is the rawest you'll ever hear Reznor; standing on its own as a solid record, if a bit dated.
So cue the remastered edition put out at the end of last year. The re-release of the record brings a louder, fuller sound to the old tracks - packaged with revamped art. Even though now more than 20 years old, Pretty Hate Machine still holds the emotionally driven electronic darkness it always has.
Of course,Reznor was the main creative head behind this album and did pretty much everything himself. From the ambient, tribal rumble of “Sanctified” to the sample-laden esoteric groove of “Ringfinger”, he commanded sounds found on a little Casio keyboard to essentially give the middle finger to New Wave like Big Black before him. The songs here are topped with Reznor's quavering but passionate vocal delivery, ranging from unsettling whispers to hoarse yells.
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The energy of the old Nine Inch Nails is embodied in the video for “Head Like a Hole” – it justifies Pitchfork's claim that Reznor makes a convincing Satan. This reissue is the perfect opportunity for newcomers to see what all the fuss is about, and the bonus Queen cover ending this version is a welcomed addition too.