Nine Inch Nails: Trent Reznor (vocals, various instruments).
Additional personnel includes: Richard Patrick (guitar); Chris Vrenna (drums).
Recording information: The Right Track, Cleveland, Ohio (1989); Blackwing, London, England; Unique Recording Studios, New York, New York; Synchro Sound, Boston, Massachusetts.
Although Nine Inch Nails mastermind Trent Reznor became the poster boy for industrial rock in the early 1990s, his '89 debut, PRETTY HATE MACHINE, actually has a stronger foothold in '80s synth-pop. The guitar-heavy opener, "Head Like a Hole," is the most aggressive track on the album and proved to be the signature song for Reznor's initial breakthrough, but much of the disc sounds like Depeche Mode in a particularly bad mood.
All of the tracks on PRETTY HATE MACHINE are based on synthesizer lines and programmed beats, with other elements--such as the distinctive bass on "Sanctified" and sampled explosions on "That's What I Get"--filling out the sound. Despite Reznor's morose lyrics, a number of HATE MACHINE's finest moments are energetic dance tunes, particularly "Down in It" and the surging "Sin." Oddly enough, Reznor's fiercer--and seemingly less accessible--subsequent work (the BROKEN EP and THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL) led directly to his mainstream success, but PRETTY HATE MACHINE reveals where the Nine Inch Nails aesthetic started out.
What the critics say...
Q (3/91) - 4 Stars - Excellent "NIN scans the spectrum of modern dance...Reznor's panoramic vision is both admirably adventurous and yet accessible."
Alternative Press (7/95, p.77) - Ranked #7 in AP's list of the 'Top 99 Of '85-'95' - "...fulfilled what had merely been the prophetic rumblings of industrial music....before PRETTY HATE MACHINE, [industrial had]...no real messiahs....Reznor assumed that position...with subhuman slips of the tongue and those patented screaming, 'gated' guitars..."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.53) - "Fusing huge hooks and a colossal rhythmic punch to desolate lyrics..."
- Head Like A Hole
- Terrible Lie
- Down In It
- Something I Can Never Have
- Kinda I Want To
- That's What I Get
- Only Time, The