Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine. Available here on LP and CD.
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.
LP - Standard LP.
CD - Standard CD.