Marilyn Manson
The Pale Emperor


3.5
great

Review

by PostMesmeric USER (88 Reviews)
January 12th, 2015 | 69 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Marilyn Manson trim the fat on The Pale Emperor, making it one of their best albums in years.

Marilyn Manson, Brian Warner’s creepy shock rockin’ industrial band, has never been a stranger to twisting expectations. Their very existence was all about pushing things further and further, until even United States politicians were at Warner’s doorstep. But after the swell in popularity from albums like Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, Marilyn Manson’s later albums were obnoxiously one-note. Eat Me, Drink Me and The High End of Low lacked any real substance behind their indulgence. Born Villain was a step in the right direction, but the anticipation for Manson’s 2015 record The Pale Emperor was rich with skepticism. But the curtain’s down; Marilyn Manson have taken a bold new direction with their newest record. It’s the best Marilyn Manson album in years.

There was a point in Marilyn Manson’s career where the tracks felt far too thick and bloated to be worth their weight. The Pale Emperor, oddly enough, trims the fat. It slims down on the excess, making for songs that can stand on their own much better. “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” is a remarkable track. It’s much less heavy and stripped down than other tracks from the later parts of Marilyn Manson’s career, but capitalizes on alt-rock inspired strums and hypnotic drones from Warner. The siren guitars add the texture where it counts, making the track sound full, but never oversaturated. “Warship My Wreck” is a bleak composition, where not even Warner’s belt-out cry can destroy the simplicity and scorched earth he pitches. Warner said that he wanted The Pale Emperor to be a “cinematic” album and he’s definitely made the effort to show this. But oddly enough, he’s made it cinematic less in scope, and more in mood. Even in its biggest moments, The Pale Emperor is still very stripped-down. That’s a good thing.

Of course, Warner isn’t really throwing back to his Antichrist Superstar years. The grinding industrial riffs are nearly omitted, sticking to more classic rock guitar sounds. The solos are more than welcome in this simpler aesthetic; the bluesier tones of “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” roar with the twanging guitar notes. “Deep Six” moves into the heavier rock territory on occasion, but groove takes the torch in The Pale Emperor. Warner’s voice is especially notable here, as he croons and moans on tracks like “Slave Only Dreams to Be King”, channeling his best interpretation of music by The Doors. Other tracks sound almost indie in nature, like the funky guitars on “Killing Strangers” or the groovy bass on “The Devil Beneath My Feet.” The Pale Emperor isn’t nearly as indulgent as past records like The High End of Low, but still manages to keep things interesting. It’s a solid move on the band’s part.

The portions where the classic rock styles wane turn out to be the worst parts of The Pale Emperor. “Killing Strangers”, as brooding as it is, is generally uninteresting. The layered buzzes and thick guitars revitalize the issue of past records, where excess limited what Marilyn Manson could do. Mood and agency are sacrificed for animalistic emotion, a bad move with the rest of the album doing so well in its picturesque representation. The album in general has sporadic issues with this. Many tracks go into noisy, cacophonic whirlwinds of sound. While this would be acceptable in any other Marilyn Manson album, with so many tracks stripping things down, these tend to be more intrusive than core. The direction Marilyn Manson take on The Pale Emperor is a good one, a fascinating shift in perspective for the group when it can really grab it.

The Pale Emperor trims the fat and narrows the focus on Marilyn Manson, resulting in an album that has little to hide and a lot to show. The blues influence has moments of being buried under indulgent cacophony, but for the most part, Warner is stripping off the layers and showing his iconic group in a great light. But the texture hasn’t been forgotten; just switched up. Bleak tracks like “Odds of Even” complement picturesque ones like “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles.” Marilyn Manson are showing their brooding, sinister world without shoving it in our faces. While the more classic Marilyn Manson records capitalized on unsettling mixes of industrial, metal and rock, The Pale Emperor is unsettling in its simplicity. It’s a great direction for Marilyn Manson to take and it makes their newest record an early surprise for 2015.



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user ratings (763)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
PostMesmeric
January 12th 2015


779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stream on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/lomavistarecordings/sets/the-pale-emperor



Wow...good move on Warner and team's part with this record.

Tunaboy45
January 12th 2015


18385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Haven't listened to it yet, but I have preordred it. Enjoyed reading the review so have a pos.

The 3 songs released so far are fantastic and the eerie, stripped down vibe is great.

Frippertronics
Emeritus
January 12th 2015


19511 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

good review



good album

Supercoolguy64
January 12th 2015


11781 Comments


this guy invented grunge


TalonsOfFire
Emeritus
January 12th 2015


20951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

Don't know if I'll review this or not you said a lot of my thoughts, this is certainly his best since eat me, drink me

FruityCatOfDoom
January 12th 2015


2227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"this guy invented grunge" [2]



I thought that The High End of Low was a step in the right direction but it's always generalized alongside Eat Me, Drink Me as a weaker album. I easily prefer High End of Low to Eat Me, Drink Me, Golden Age, and Born Villain. At times, The Pale Emperor seems like a continuation of some of the ideas explored on High End of Low.

PostMesmeric
January 12th 2015


779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This sounds a bit more like Holy Wood to me.

ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2015


40742 Comments


"this guy invented grunge"

"This guy" didn't have any music yet during grunge's peak in popularity.

Good review! Pos'd.

DoctorDoom
January 12th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stoked to hear this but yeah he's as bad as Billy Corgan in interviews these days. It's tough getting old and jaded I bet.

Supercoolguy64
January 12th 2015


11781 Comments


http://consequenceofsound.net/2015/01/marilyn-manson-says-he-invented-grunge-youre-welcome/

Tunaboy45
January 12th 2015


18385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

He's most likely taking the piss.

DoctorDoom
January 12th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^^^ an that's the interview I was thinking about. His insecurity is showing a little bit.

Supercoolguy64
January 12th 2015


11781 Comments


i was watching this one live stream the other day and literally everyone in the chat were crapping themselves over this album. should i check or nah?

ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2015


40742 Comments


@Supercoolguy: I'm pretty sure Manson is delusional, because he claimed to have coined it in
a review for Bleach (which came out in 1989), when Mark Arm had been using the term to
describe his band Green River since the early 80s and the term itself had been used to
describe the Seattle sound in general before the release of Bleach as well...



Supercoolguy64
January 12th 2015


11781 Comments


lol i know bro
if you ask me, mark arm first coined the term and green river were the first grunge band

ArsMoriendi
January 12th 2015


40742 Comments


I agree completely.

DoctorDoom
January 12th 2015


2987 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Jamming now. It's good. Nothing to defecate yourself over. I think ever since he lost his core band ( pogo, ginger fish etc etc) his records have had much of an identity an that continues to be a bit of an issue. However, it's leagues better than his last two. (Thus far)

TheBarber
January 13th 2015


4130 Comments


best Manson artwork

Tunaboy45
January 13th 2015


18385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Born Villain was brilliant, it breathed new life into Mason's career.

FruityCatOfDoom
January 13th 2015


2227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Born Villain did breath new life in to his career, but the album has grown off me a bit.



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