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on 22 October 2003
Listening to Pretty hate Machine again, several years after buying it, it's hard to believe that the album is now fourteen years old. But sure enough it is, and it only goes to show how ingenius Trent Reznor was and how he still influences the music market today. I have three Nine Inch Nails albums, The Downward Spiral, Further Down the Spiral and Pretty Hate Machine, and in my oppinion this is by far the best. The reason I say this is that whilst the other albums seem a bit of a mish mash recipe of hardcore industrial and ambient noise, every song on Pretty Hate Machine straddles the line between heavy synth and metal music, creating a beautiful hybrid that puts modern day bands such as Linkin Park to shame.
From start to finish, there is not a bad song on the album; even Reznor's mock rapping on 'Down in It' stays in perfect harmony with the music. The meaningful lyrical style holds true throughout the album, delivering stark emotional messages and social commentary, whilst also injecting subtle black humour. The standout tracks on the album are 'Head Like a Hole', 'Terrible Lie', 'Something I can Never Have' and 'That's What I Get'.
In short, Trent Reznor was and still is a genius and Pretty Hate Machine is a truly landmark album that sounds as fresh today as it did fourteen years ago. And bear in mind that this review is coming from a rap fan.
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on 14 July 2011
Trent Reznor remastered and reissued his debut album "Pretty Hate Machine" last year, now for some strange reason it's been reissued again. NOT by Trent Reznor who has no say in this!! He has even publicly stated his disapproval of this reissue.

That's all this is it's just a reissue, it hasn't been remastered so it still sounds like it's 1989 original, the artwork is more or less the same, 2010's reissue had complete new artwork done by Rob Sheridan and came in a fold out digi pack as opposed to the original jewel case. Nor does this version have the bonus track that was included in 2010's reissue which is a cover of Queen's "Get Down Make Love".

So while the songs are great and the album itself is brilliant and an important part of Nine Inch Nails history, this is not the version to be buying, this is just a record company looking to make a quick cash in. This is the link to last years remastered version Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
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on 27 November 2010
Nine Inch Nails debut album finally gets it's much needed reissue and a proper one at that! Now it's back in the safe hands of Trent Reznor who up till last year must have thought he'd never get the chance to remaster it but after a long journey he finally got it back and has done a great job with the remaster.

By Reznor's own admission Pretty Hate Machine had become dated in both sound wise and looks wise what with the bands name being sideways on the cover and that jewel case(Reznor has always been a digipack/gatefold man), and a 2005 reissue by rykodisc records did nothing to change that(a small change to the artwork being the only change). Reznor has totally overhauled it, improving the sound no end, listening through a decent pair of earphones and you will hear the difference, the beats sound heavier and bigger without going over the top in loudness, and Rob Sheridan(art director, video director etc) has been brought in to do the atwork and packaging and what a job he has done, the pink is gone(Trent thought it looked dated) and it's now a digipack/gatefold as opposed to the original gatefold, in a recent interview Rob stated that it was really hard to get the original design on the cover as he couldn't get his hands on the original artwork, this despite the help of Gary Talpas who did the original artwork, just goes to show we shouldn't take for granted the work that has gone into this remaster.

It's all very well making it look and sound nice but if the songs are no good then it's a waste of time, but that was never going to be a problem with PHM, from the opening beats of former live staples(nin no longer tour as a live act) "Head Like A Hole" and "Terrible Lie" they remind you of what a great debut album PHM is, it shows what a ear Reznor has for a catchy tune. First ever single "Down In It" sounds better now than it ever did, halfways through the album we get to another of Reznor's favourite live tracks "Something I Can Never Have" which is just haunting and will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, and was used to good effect in the Oliver Stone movie "Natural Born Killers" for which Reznor did the soundtrack. The second half has some of Reznor's catchiest songs he ever did such as the brillant "Kinda I want To" as well as the original version of "Sin" which is not as heavy as the version that was released as a single which is the version they play live. "Ringfinger" uses a drum sample from the Jane's Addiction track "Had A Dad"(The two bands co headlined 2009's nin/ja tour). With the reissue we get one new track a cover of the Queen track "Get Down Make Love" which was originally included on the single "Sin", Reznor totally changes the track from the Queen original and even has got a nice Queen sample in there.

Many people were hoping for a 2 disc version with 5.1 sound like what he did with "The Downward Spiral" or a studio version of Now I'm Nothing of which there is none available, but really the most important thing is that Pretty Hate Machine has been remastered even as recently as last year Reznor said there wouldn't be much chance of that happening.
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Woe. Pain. Anger. Rejection. And some very catchy industrial beats.

Trent Reznor has become legendary for the sound he perfected in "Pretty Hate Machine," his exceptional debut album. Wrapped in catchy industrial beats and sizzling basslines, he exposes all the rage and pain from being betrayed. Like a bad breakup, it's raw and rough and painful, but there's a strange catharsis once it's over.

It opens on a high note with the ear-blowing "Head Like A Hole," which alternates between dark techno and explosive hard-rock. "Bow down before the one you serve/you're gonna get what you deserve... Head like a hole, black as your soul/I'd rather DIE than give you control!" Reznor snarls. And he sounds like he means it, too.

That mix of rage and bitterness permeate the songs that follow. Not every song is a rockin' ragefest: "Something I Can Never Have" is a sweeping, haunted ballad with Reznor lamenting that "I'm starting to scare myself." It's one of the most powerful songs on a hard-hitting record, and shows Reznor's anguished vocals at their best.

But the majority are harder, angrier songs with Reznor's rough industrial-pop, raw singing and sparse electronic beats. The second half does drag a bit, but is pulled back up by the explosive "Sin" ("You give me the reason/you give me control/I gave you my purity/and my purity you stole!") and hauntingly out-there "Ringfinger."

"Pretty Hate Machine" could, in a sense, be seen as a concept album -- a mapping of the painful emotions in a breakup. Okay, painful breakups are not a big deal in the musical world -- every cheesy popstar does them. The difference is, Trent Reznor does them with passion, genuine anger, and explosive music that mirrors the betrayed feelings.

Reznor gets much flack for his angsty songwriting and accompanying vocal style. But it has to be admitted that even when the songwriting is sub-par -- the rather whiny, it's-God's-fault "Terrible Lie" -- Reznor's rough vocals bring them to life in all their painful glory.

This is also Nine Inch Nails' most minimalist album -- no soundscapes, just the guitars and electronics. The instrumentation matches the theme of inverted love -- Reznor throws in some poppy industrial beats, which manage to be darkly catchy and gritty at the same time. Underlying all of this is some smoldering, twisted guitar and drum machines.

Explosive rage, betrayal, confusion and pain lie at the heart of "Pretty Hate Machine," an unforgettable debut that Reznor has yet to equal in pure emotion.
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on 27 June 2006
Released at the height of the Hair Metal years of rock, and even supported by a tour with Guns n' Roses, Nine Inch Nails' debut opus Pretty Hate Machine was an unlikely success.

But has it stood the test of time? Yes, and in some ways, no.

On the opening track, 'Head Like A Hole' Trent Reznor sets out his stall, combining heavy guitar riffs with an infectious dance beat, to create what is still, a rock dance hall favourite. The lyrics point towards the mindset that Trent Reznor was in at the time - angry, lost, heartbroken and confused at the world around him. These feelings are propagated by tracks such as 'Terrible Lie', 'Something I Can Never Have' 'Sin' and 'Ringfinger'. However.... the album at times can sound 'of its time' with the almost comedy rap of 'Down In It' and 'Thats What I Get' showing the albums age.

Dont let that put you off though - this is a powerful work, that even in its lowest points, shines through unlike so many late 80's rock albums have managed to do.
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on 29 December 2005
Released in 1989, this is the debut from Trent Reznor, the man called the "Gothic Reincarnation of Mozart".
It is a landmark album for industrial as it bought the genre out of being an underground music into what nearly became the mainstream.
Those unfamiliar with the genre branded "industrial", should kick them selves- it is a mix of synths and sampled beats to metal with its live instruments.
This album in particular leans toward the Techno side of industrial unlike the metalish "Broken"
In a sentence this album is a mix of subversive lyrics married with funky beats and washed with synth, then married to a guitar and bass, finally layering it with a paranoid and beautuful sound.
Soulful melodies combine together with the screching synths to make a sound that will instantly hook you. Buy now and use it to judge all NIN's and other industrialists albums. A fantastic album!
A recomended follow up purchase would be the sublime "Broken" by NIN
(features the singles "Sin" and "Head Like A Hole")
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on 28 January 2000
For anyone who is "into" Nine Inch Nails, you must start at the beginning with "Pretty Hate Machine", granted its not as heavy as "Broken", "Spiral" or "The Fragile", but its kicks major ass. It has alot more synths then guitars(but still rocks), these songs were written about a good relationship gone bad as described by Trent Reznor. Once you hear "Terrible Lie"(still a concert favorite)"Sin", and "Thats What I get" you feel the anger, passion, and decay. "Something I Can Never Have" pretty much could be used to describe millions of people including myself, while "Down In It" is basically saying should I end it? PHM also contains the hit "Head Like A Hole" as well as choice tracks like "Sanctified", "The Only Time", and "Kinda I Want to", how could you not by this cd? If you're a fan of NIN you alredy have this, if you would like to get inside the mind of Trent Reznor just a little bit, pick it up, you won't be disappointed...this disc contains the very beginnings of a masterpiece called NINE INCH NAILS
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on 15 June 2013
Flaws in the vinyl. You'll see them and hear them. Clearly UMI have not taken any care with this pressing. A real shame because otherwise the dynamics on this record are what vinyl is still best at. Avoid.
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on 20 November 2002
I won't rate myself as a NIN fan. I wouldn't rate myself as a fan of any band in particular, since i listen to so many different kinds of music. However PHM is one of the most exquisite pieces of work I have had the privilege to listen to in my life. It made me buy downward spiral, and it surprised me that it was so different an album than PHM but still an excellent piece of work. So, as a music fan i would rate NIN and PHM alike with a 5 out of 5. Simply because truth never hurt more than the way NIN state it. In its simplest, and most beautifuly sad form. Thank god for albums like that. By the way, after listening to Something I can never have, i wondered how did i ever come to like "everything I do" by Bryan Adams. Personal thanks to NIN for making such music for us to listen.
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on 29 October 1999
NIN's first release broke onto the scene in the last 1980's and brought with it an excitement for 'industrial' music that hard never really before been witnessed.
Alonside Ministry, NIN became a defining force in the genre. Whilst Ministry had the drilling looped guitars of Al Jorgenson, NIN's Trent Reznor favoured the more subversive in-though-the back-door approach of techno beats overlayed with more traditional reock instrumentation.
Opening track, 'Head like a hole' sets the pace well although, for me, the standout track here is 'Something I can never have', a haunting ballad featuring Reznor's tortured lyrics alongside spare piano.
On the strenght of this album alone, NIN secured a support slot with Guns and Roses and Skid Row, two of the biggest bands of the time. The tour took in Wembley Stadium, a gog I was fortunate to witness, and it was apparent NIN were here to stay.
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