My parents weren’t cool enough to buy their 5 year old a Nine Inch Nails album when Pretty Hate Machine was first released. Actually I probably didn’t hear PHM until 10 years after its release. The Downward Spiral was my first NIN album, then I got Broken, then I started listening to Marilyn Manson, Skinny Puppy, KMFDM and others. When I first heard Pretty Hate Machine I didn’t like it, it sounded old. I still listen to Nine Inch Nails regularly and of all their releases spanning 22 years, PHM is my least favorite. I don’t hate it, but don’t listen to it as often as the others. I’m telling you all this as a disclaimer.
Recently Trent Reznor announced that Pretty Hate Machine was going to get an update and re-release.
I’m happy to finally announce the re-issue of the first Nine Inch Nails record “Pretty Hate Machine,” releasing worldwide 11/22. UMe and Bicycle Music Group managed to locate the original mixes, so I went in the studio with Tom Baker and remastered it for a greatly improved sonic experience. In addition, Rob reinterpreted Gary Talpas’ original cover to make for a fresh new package.
It’s been an interesting trip watching the fate of this record float from one set of hands to another (a long and depressing story) but it’s finally wound up in friendly territory, allowing us to polish it up a bit and present it to you now. We had fun revisiting this old friend, hope you enjoy.
Tonight I had a listen to the new and improved Pretty Hate Machine to see if I liked it more. About a minute into ‘Head Like A Hole’ I asked my wife if she heard anything different. She did immediately. “It sounds different, I don’t like it, its not as dirty.” So there’s the totally non-audiogeek first impression. It does sound cleaner, and louder, more modern in some ways. I dropped the original and remaster into a DAW to A/B compare.
These are my thoughts as I listen to Head Like A Hole on speakers and headphones. I like this song more than the others on the album.
*NOTE* the remastered file is an mp3, I’m not going to buy it again, remember I didn’t like it all that much the first time
- Clearly a louder master, as is the trend
- Fuller bass, the kick drum definitely hits deeper
- More midrange, listen to the synth bass, the original had the mids aggressively cut out
- Much less dynamic, as are most hard NIN songs
- Some of the percussion parts can be heard more clearly
- Wider stereo image
It sounds better to me, but I wish they would have just rerecorded it with modern equipment. The very dated sounds, drum machines, cheap reverb etc and of course immature songwriting keep me from really liking most of the album. *flame suit on* Let me know what you think.