Pretty Hate Machine







23. Februar 1991



Autor: Ralph Traitor





‘Pretty Hate Machine‘



NINE INCH Nails is Trent Reznor, and it‘s fitting that his surname borders on ‘razor‘ because 'Pretty Hate Machine‘ is musical mutilation of the first order.

Reznor is not, one imagines, interested in being considered ‘nice‘ - the machinery that gives him a kick is the kind that causes industrial accidents, big black things with ugly, spiky little cogs. Maybe coming from Cleveland is to blame, but it just isn‘t fair to accuse a whole city for his nightmares. Sicko.

‘PHM‘ is not a happy record. ‘Head Like A Hole‘ is an evocative title and the track is itself vicious. Marching in like a stormtrooper looking to break heads, it unrolls over you, a mechanised caterpillar spitting pieces of guitar shrapnel and a vocal both antagonistic and desperate. With raging choruses trapped between cold rhythms, this is a song to padlock at night.

‘Terrible Lie‘, which follows, is less intense but more sinister, Reznor supplicating his abstract gods with cursing and contempt. The absence of obvious melody deepens the rnelancholy to the point where Reznor seems an intellectual masochist kidding himself he‘s a sadist but unable to stop himself jamming his fingers in a steel door again and again. Peculiar noises trouble the track like hungry insects in a fight, making it a minor masterpiece of inturned disgust and pity.

‘Down In It‘ is more of the same, but ‘Sanctified‘ offers relief in the form of a subdued vocal and dark grey, rather than wholly black, tonal colouration. Nevertheless, li‘s still a cockroach on Valentine‘s Day, whereas ‘Something I Can Never Have‘ is genuinely laid back, the sound of melting black ice, Reznor exaggerating every phrase to within inches of self-parody. Few love songs manage, ‘ That night on my bed/Still picking at this scab/I wish you were dead’ a fact we should be grateful for.

Reznor has guts, and they make his ‘Machine‘ one to be treated with respect. It‘s ready to dose ranks with Ministry, Foetus and the rest.. .and crush us.

Ralph Traitor