Review Summary: Back On Form
Marilyn Manson, aka Brian Warner and his self titled band have never been a stranger to twisting expectations. With his band’s disdainful industrial metal as an apocalyptic soundtrack to his so-called corruption to youthful minds and erosion to the parody-like American dream, he terrified parents and moral authorities that ultimately came knocking on Warner’s door. It’s now over 14 years since the self-proclaimed ‘God Of ***’ released Holy Wood, the final page of his name as one of the most controversial, libel and ironically iconic characters in music.
Throughout years of shoddy live performances, forgettable albums and a constant overshadowing of his past outfit, 2012’s Born Villain was a welcoming step back in the right direction and reminded us why we loved the band in the first place however their latest album The Pale Emperor was then surrounded with uncertainty. The Pale Emperor effectively feels like the next chapter of Marilyn Manson’s life. It feels like he has just woken up hung-over and dazed after 14 years from all his excess sins.
The crawl and low-end churn of Killing Strangers announces that band has lost none of its dark humour and lyrical malice, aiming at the USA gun legislation with the pitch perfect ‘We’re killing strangers so we don’t kill the ones that we love’. Darker lyrics are also found in tracks such as Cupid Carries A Gun, “Am I God or a guardian” and “Don’t need a mother***er looking down on me” on Devil Beneath My Feet. New collaborator Tyler Bates’s six-string twang echoes in inharmonious grandeur throughout the album from the spiking licks in Warship My Wreck and setting a perfect tempo in the bluesy The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles.
The Pale Emperor focuses Warner’s voice to create a dreary mood. Stand out and first single to be released, Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge is the textured, musical interpretation of the feeling you get when an unwelcome beam of light awakens you from your slumber through the slightest crack of your eye. The groans of both vocal and bass line reiterate this semi-conscious mood whilst the dragging guitars and toned down alt-rock create a fragile tone. Not the entire album is a typical cacophonous drone however. The fuzz of classic rock oozes out of The Pale Emperor in tracks such as Deep Six and Worship My Wreck are all examples of what it is like to contain explosiveness; both tracks sound more like the shocking Marilyn Manson that we are familiar with.
Marilyn Manson has created a clear highlight in the past 14 years of his musical clear with The Pale Emperor. The theatrics and violent nature of the band’s heroic sound are gone but from the ashes of the publicly shocking figure raises a mature, melancholic and masterfully produced album that resonate finesse and renewed focus.