Marilyn Manson

The Pale Emperor

Written by: EL on 19/01/2015 15:44:19

In the nineties Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, aka the God of Fuck, was the fear that haunted many parents’ worst nightmare as he ruled the rock/mainstream metal scene. They said his music inspired satanic hysteria into the minds of disaffected, rebellious youths and thus ignited such tragedies as the Columbine massacre. However in the following years, especially in the past decade, his originality and shock tactics dwindled and had become less memorable. No one hangs on to their fire for the entirety of their career and it’s unsurprising that recent albums, apart from "Eat Me, Drink Me", fell a little flat when released.

Given that nothing shocks anyone anymore, Manson had to rethink his approach to the music scene and has done so by adding the exceptional musical talents of composer Tyler Bates (Halloween, The Devil’s Rejects, 300), who will also be touring with Manson as his guitarist this year, which has given the album a far superior and matured cinematic feeling. It’s also evident on this album that Manson has put the breaks on complete destruction and hysteria and instead has revealed a far more human and identifiable nature of himself which makes this album possibly one of the best creations he has produced in the past 15 years.

Starting off with “Killing Strangers”, the track is slow, punchy and features a very heavy bass line, which continues to stand out throughout the entire album and Manson’s gravelly groans sing out the extremely honest lyrics, “We are killing strangers so we don’t kill the ones that we love”, which is a sure-fire shot at American gun culture. The next track, “Deep Six”, which was the second single to be released by Manson, packs a meaner punch and speeds up the pace. “Deep Six” was written by Bates and features an incredibly strong rhythm section and quasi-industrial guitar with the licks of classic rock hugging it tightly. Slowing things down again is the bluesy rhythmic sound of “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge”, which was also written and composed by Bates. Songs like this on the album are thoughtful and extremely personal, so the choice to slow down the pace was an extremely clever one as it really gives you the time to understand and identify with the words. I think the most notable piece of this song is drummer Gil Sharone’s (of Dillinger Escape Plan) choice to slow the drumming down to a bare minimum thus inspiring a comfortable, nod-along pace. The blues theme continues with “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles”, which has one hell of a fun chorus line and the intense lyrics such as, “Lazarus got no dirt on me”.

Half way through the album “Warship My Wreck” comes on. It’s dark, it’s compelling and it’s quite possibly the most open and vulnerable Manson has ever been in any of his previously released work. It’s slow, sorrowful, melancholy and the whining guitars intertwine with the brooding bass. It’s like something you’d play during a film trailer. The intensity and the chords strike deep notes and create an incredibly depressive soundscape which pulls you deep into the psyche of a man whose more vulnerable side has rarely been seen. “Slave Only Dreams To Be King” is a bit off with some seriously forced rhyming though. It falls flat of anything remotely memorable compared to the first half of the album. “The Devil Beneath My Feet” is another highlight of the album structurally but I still feel like the energy and emotion I felt at the beginning of the album is starting to fade and everything feels a little bit flatter and grey.

“Bird Of Hell Awaiting” starts off with another Bates infused intro with the grinding whines of a guitar and Manson’s voice chirping out whale-like moans in the background. Again it’s slow and moody and doesn’t have any energy running through it, which seems to be quite uncharacteristic of Manson. If they’d only dotted a few more air-punching songs into the mix this album might have been held in a higher regard for me. “Cupid Carries A Gun” continues at a walking pace tempo but introduces several catchy hooks and for me is one of the best tracks of the album. The album ends with “Odds Of Even” and kicks off with some animals’ echoed wailing and yapping. The pace slows down to a crawl now with an eventual high octave violin plucking, which adds a nice touch to this emotive and passionate song.

Overall, if you were expecting something as explosive as "Antichrist Superstar" then you will be sorely disappointed. Having said that this is by far one of the best albums Marilyn Manson has produced in the past decade. He’s realised that he can’t be the shock king any longer as everyone is now completely disillusioned by violence these days and so has dramatically shifted gears and gone down a completely unexpected, laid back route. Where a few songs might fall short of anything spectacular and be boring at times, the rest of the album is mature and identifiable and the album as a whole verifies that he still has some tricks hidden up his sleeve.

7

Download: Deep Six, The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles, Warship My Wreck
For The Fans Of: Skold, Nine Inch Nails, Rob Zombie, Rammstein
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 19.01.2015
Hell, etc.

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