Saturday, October 30, 2010

Return of the Pretty Hate Machine

It was recently announced on the Nine Inch Nails official website that NIN's first album, Pretty Hate Machine, is going to be remastered and re-issued. This, I have to say, is very good news. I have always loved Pretty Hate Machine since I was first exposed to it in early high school. It is a fantastic album from start to finish. The record is almost entirely electronic, even more synth heavy than any of Reznor's later NIN albums. Reznor wrote and recorded Hate Machine when he was barely into his twenties, and although it lacks the sonic complexity of later stuff there is no denying the importance of this album not only to Nine Inch Nails fans such as myself, but also to the progression of modern music itself during the early nineties when it was released.

However the thing with Pretty Hate Machine is, that by modern standards, this just isn't a very well produced record. It sounds very 'tinny' and the lower bass tones are very understated. This gives the album a dated sound and it has always bothered me. To hear such brilliantly written and arranged tracks so under-produced dates this album so much. I can't wait to hear this thing once Reznor has put it through the sound lab and gives these songs a new life.

The currently announced release date is the 22nd of November. I will be making sure I have space cleared and ready on my mp3 player come November.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A new Splinter Cell Conviction co-op mode

I'm always looking for something interesting to play co-op with my son and step-sons. Trent, my five year old, was into Lego Star Wars in a very big way for a while, Halo co-op was a blast for him once he got the hang of it and he's no longer content playing 'little brother mode' on Mario Galaxy 2, so the latest game we've been playing together is Splinter Cell Conviction. I was a little dubious beforehand, Splinter Cell being a fairly complex stealth game, but after a few rounds on hunter mode we are both having a blast. It is a very different game for me now. On your own hunter mode consists of skulking around in the shadows picking off heavily armed terrorists one by one, trying to avoid detection, but all of sudden Trent is thrown into the mix and suddenly aside from me and the 10 to 20 bad guys there is a KGB operative with mad cow disease running all over the map firing an automatic machine gun with careless abandon. Now I have a new goal; try and keep this schizophrenic Russian alive, while every bad guy in the level descends onto his position. Now I'm flanking firing squads that are filling the air with hot lead, trying to pop head shots into the guys that occasionally grab Trent and hold him at gunpoint, I'm stunning the half dozen guys that have surrounded Trent with an EMP and then racing to defribulate him before he kicks the bucket, all the while trying to avoid Trent's own grenades and sporadic gunfire. What, at first, I thought was going to be a fairly tiresome experience I am finding to be a blast. It gives the game a certain urgency that it didn't have before. I'm thinking perhaps Ubisoft could implement a mode like this so everyone can try it. They could call it 'protect the heavily armed NPC that has recently suffered a severe head injury mode', or maybe just 'mad cow disease mode' to keep it short.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I've just been looking at the Cataclysm release date and intro movie. Typically awesome stuff from Blizzard's video team. I must admit that I do kind of miss the early World of Warcraft intro movies with the different races and classes tearing shit up. But still, this new one has me totally psyched for Cataclysm. I can't wait to get stuck into some new WoW content with some friends. Hopefully I will get a second account and something to play it on organized before December 7th so I can play with my step-son, Brad.