Marilyn Manson
The High End of Low


1.5
very poor

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
June 15th, 2009 | 42 replies | 5,936 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Nothing's shocking. Go home, Brian.

12 of 14 thought this review was well written

We’re only a few months away from the end of the first decade of the 2000s. A ridiculous amount of things have changed between the turn of the century and right now, with plenty of specific examples to choose from. But today’s lesson is on the work of Brian Warner – better known to the general public as Marilyn Manson.
In the first half of the 2000s, Warner was public enemy number one for a moment in time, leading on from severe controversy of the late nineties. If any youth-gone-wrong story was running on a major network, you could be ninety percent certain that it would be linked back somehow to Marilyn Manson’s music. Let’s not forget the two school shootings that used Manson’s music as a scapegoat. In spite of this, and in turn with the ideal that “all publicity is good publicity”, the sales for albums like Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) and even, to an extent, 2003’s The Golden Age of Grotesque skyrocketed (as well as a greatest hits CD the following year).

But come the second half of the 00s, the unthinkable happened.
The shock wore off.

With Manson’s last effort, 2007’s Eat Me, Drink Me, it appeared that MM was looking to recapture former glories – if not in terms of controversy, then at the very least in terms of musicality. When that failed, Warner had no choice but to bring in the big guns. And by “the big guns”, we of course are referring to the reinstatement of founding band member Twiggy Ramirez. A part of the band when they were in their prime, one would assume that if anyone would have the right ideas in order to get the Manson brand back on track, it would be Ramirez. Surely the pairing once more would assist in at least a catchy chorus somewhere along the line – even when Manson albums have been at their lowest, a hook or three have never gone astray. Alas, this is simply not the case with The High End of Low. The band is far too busy chasing its tail, and up front, Marilyn himself is sounding like the embodiment of the famous Onion article all those years ago, going door-to-door trying to shock people.


Before we get around to the next chapter of “What Brian Did and Why You Shouldn’t Do It”, let’s analyse the instrumental side of this record. There are a few interesting ideas around the start of the record- opener “Devour” layers spacious, clean guitar until it develops into distorted crunch, accompanied by thick drums and a heightened level of intensity surrounding the vocal hook. Elsewhere, “Four Rusted Horses” boasts a bluesy, Johnny Cash-esque acoustic noodling in time with a stomp box – and if it continued entirely on in this fashion, it would even be considered an album highlight. If this look at the positive aspects of the music seems quite brief, then it will only take one listen to The High End of Low to figure out why.

Next to everything on this record has not only been done before on several occasions, but has been done far better. The slower tracks are plagued with glitchy industrial loops and the same warped arpeggios, whilst the more upbeat tracks (a rarity on such a gloomy record) are the least fun they’ve ever been. Warner’s voice is also an atrocity, even after being processed and produced to buggery, probably the weakest and most artificial it has ever sounded (see “Wow” and “Pretty as a Swastika”).

And sure, they’ve never been well known for excellent lyrics, but try some of these works of Livejournal genius on for size. “It’s not like I made myself a list of new and different ways to murder your heart” (“Leave a Scar”). “We’re running to the edge of the world, but I don’t know if the world will end today” (“Running to the Edge of the World”). And, finally, the crème-de-la-crème: “First you try to *** it, then you try to eat it/If it hasn’t learned your name, you better kill it before they see it” (“Arma-Goddamn-Mother***ing-Geddon”, easily the worst name for anything ever).

Think that was bad? They’re just getting warmed up – you haven’t experienced the worst of it yet. It’s time for you to be introduced to track eight. Entitled “I Want to Kill You Like They Do in the Movies”, there is honestly no better description for this song than nine minutes of pure torture. Line after line of lyrics just as bad as the ones used earlier (some even worse), irritating drones of instrumentation, awful vocals…this song is truly the stuff nightmares are made of. The best advice to give in regards to this particular song is to only experience it once; because you will never want to subject yourself to it again.

2009 has been a year of polar opposites thus far, with some of the best albums to be released this decade, along with some of the absolute worst. The High End of Low is destined for the bottom of the latter barrel – the name, face, band and music of Marilyn Manson is old enough to know better, but most certainly isn’t young enough to not care.



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user ratings (502)
Chart.
2.7
average
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Jacob Russell (2.5)
    Marilyn takes baby steps back to regaining his true skill....

    themindtrick (3.5)
    A slight return to form for the Antichrist Superstar....

    LeeHarveyKennedy (3)
    Marilyn Manson's seventh album is good, with moments approaching greatness, but it's unlik...

    Dylan S. (3)
    Goodbye Marilyn, Hello Brian Warner of the new age....

  • Vilen1025 (2.5)
    An improvement from Eat Me, Drink Me, and while still not great, it's worth a listen....

    Jeremy Bentham (4.5)
    Manson’s 7th Studio Album sees him mixing elements from all of his previous releases wit...


Comments:Add a Comment 
fireaboveicebelow
June 15th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

panic at the disco LOL irony

AtavanHalen
June 15th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I thought PATD were in the Members Also Liked section...but you've seriously just said it for no apparent reason.
Awesome post great job.

scyther
June 15th 2009



1606 Comments


The end of the decade occurs on December 31st 2010.

AtavanHalen
June 15th 2009



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

No, see, then we're out of the 00s and into the 10s.
A decade is ten years. 2000 - 2009 is ten years.

scyther
June 15th 2009



1606 Comments


True my bad.

mutatedfreek
June 15th 2009



7351 Comments


Good review David

also yes you are right with the 09/10 debate.

scyther
June 15th 2009



1606 Comments


: D

mutatedfreek
June 15th 2009



7351 Comments


Yeah im sorry, bout 5 minutes behind the times.

marksellsuswallets
June 15th 2009



4848 Comments


Haven't heard the album but I'm sure I'd agree with this take on the album the most. Never liked anything the guy(?) has put out.

Phantom
June 15th 2009



8930 Comments


guy(?)


hurhur

PracticallyInsane
June 15th 2009



8 Comments


Nothing's shocking. Go home, Brian.


lol

Meatplow
June 15th 2009



5524 Comments


Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon is the worst song title ever next to Potz Blitz from KFMDM

KILL3
June 15th 2009



601 Comments


lol Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon

Thrasher86
June 15th 2009



181 Comments


Really like the review. To be honest I think "Brian" is a huge douche bag, but the review was really interesting.

OllieS
June 15th 2009



2024 Comments


Great review, really liked it.

mvdu
June 15th 2009



595 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I agree. And I'm not a complete Manson basher: I like Mechanical Animals.

Chewie
June 15th 2009



4531 Comments


what's his best album, Antichrist Superstar or Mechanical Animals?

marksellsuswallets
June 15th 2009



4848 Comments


hurhur

thnx it took me like 10 minutes to think of that.

fireaboveicebelow
June 15th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what's his best album, Antichrist Superstar or Mechanical Animals?
forget about AC/SS, Mechanical Animals is a solid album but Holywood has some really good tracks too

ConorMichaelJoseph
June 15th 2009



1870 Comments


Good review



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