Marilyn Manson
The Pale Emperor



by DropTune USER (65 Reviews)
March 27th, 2018 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Manson can have our souls and eat them too.

The devil has many names: the god of grotesque, the antichrist superstar, and most commonly, Marilyn Manson. The industrial icon intoxicated America by not only pushing musical boundaries, but those of morals. Manson became a statement in regards to what American youth truly desired. Even speaking his name was enough to rally parents, pastors, and politicians into a frenzy. Communities begged and pleaded Manson to skip their towns on world tours. Those were the days when the Marilyn Manson character meant something. Many would define the Columbine massacre as the peaking point for the industrial icon. Manson was crucified by the media by acting scapegoat as the “influence” for the two perpetrators. Since then, Manson condensed himself to nothing more than a caricature. A musician so obsessed with music videos, exaggerated performances, and flamboyant outfits that his music was nothing more than a sideshow. What mattered most was banking on Hot Topic shoppers and acting edgy.

No one expected Pale Emperor to be anything different. Manson was a tired act who found relevancy by reoccurring on Sons of Anarchy and Californication. When news broke Manson was dropping *another* record, fans were about as hopeful as a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl victory. Behind the scenes, however, Manson was put under new management. Newcomer Tyler Bates aimed to reinvent the artistic process. Backing away from over production and dated music, Bates wanted a mature and stripped down version of the obscene leader. Influenced by the scores of the series previously mentioned, the group curated dry and aged landscapes of blues inspired music with a bubbling industrial undertone. Pale Emperor grew to be an album questioning mortality and beliefs rather than another pop-parody.

Most would attribute the albums success to its unforgettable appearance in John Wick, but that is a mere highlight in the vast array of achievements. Pale Emperor’s cinematic atmosphere attributes to the chronological order the track list offers. Each song builds on each other to curate an ongoing narrative that shifts between different varieties of reflectance. The album reflects on the Marilyn Manson character by examining its values over the 20+ years of its existence. ‘Mephistopheles of Los Angeles,’ one of my favorites from the album, is the heart and soul of The Pale Emperor. The baron intro, exploding chorus, and shuffling rhythm paint a delirious picture of an aged Marilyn Manson. He compares himself to the beast of legend, Mephistopheles, who is best known for harvesting souls of damned victims.

“I’m feeling stoned and alone like a heretic and I’m ready to meet my maker,” employs a moody outlook on Marilyn Manson. ‘Mephistopheles…’ is an autobiography on how Marilyn Manson currently views himself. He’s a heretic who’s poisoned youth over the past decade. “…Lazarus got no dirt on me and I rise to every occasion. I’m the Mephistopheles of Los Angeles,” He knows he has nothing to lose and will pay for his crimes, but until then, he’s the king of the damned – Mephistopheles of Los Angeles. The dramatic minor scale progression of the song kicks in with full force. The bendy verse explodes into a dismal display of the songs tone. Previous albums would try their hardest to sell the idea of Manson’s grotesque and dark nature, but Pale Emperor’s condensed approach to the subject creates one of his darkest bouts.

‘Devil Beneath My Feet’ is a more simplistic track featured in Pale Emperor. Most listeners would cite this as the closest to a traditional Manson song, but it doesn’t stick out from the rest. Manson’s raspy vocals belt out, “at least I know wherever I go I got the devil beneath my feet,” in a celebration of heresy. The song reflects on his past lifestyle of decadence and drugs. In his effort to exorcise his personal demons, they grew more powerful. He doesn’t need anyone judging him for what he does. He wears the devil on his sleeve, and if you don’t want to be possessed, you better run far.

Pale Emperor is the first Manson album where I actually wanted more. 10 tracks is perfect for the album and clocks in just under an hour. The songs are paced perfectly and are unique from each other. No song is wasted and tell a new story each go-round. One of my favorite features of the album belongs to the deluxe edition. The bonus three acoustic songs are breathtaking! ‘Day 3,’ ‘Fated, Faithful, Fatal,’ and ‘Fall of the House of Death,’ rival the originals in the same album. The desolate atmosphere showcases the bands versatility in performing a bare bones version of the albums best tracks. The rockin’ rhythm of ‘Day 3’ pounds through the stereo with Manson’s powerhouse vocals chugging through. ‘Fated, Faithful, Fatal,’ is even more heart-wrenching than the original. Known for its appearance in Netflix’s Punisher, the acoustic version takes us further down the spiral of Manson’s twisted mentality in accepting his villainy.

Marilyn Manson was reborn as The Pale Emperor. The symbolic name references Constantius Chlorus, the first emperor to deny a god. The album proves true in Manson denying a god, the Antichrist to be exact. Manson has long since been the Antichrist, and Pale Emperor is the official goodbye. Under his new persona, Manson delivers gut-wrenching tales of villainy, acceptance, and mortality. Manson’s contemplative side was without a doubt among his most creative. Manson’s intrapersonal and intellectual side was what fans and critics needed most. Instead of being a goofy has been trying to scare kids, Manson became human. For the first time in his career, Manson walked among us as The Pale Emperor. Instead of leading us to slaughter, he led us to salvation as the Mephistopheles of Las Angeles.

Standout Tracks
Mephistopheles of Las Angeles (I really liked the music video for this one)
Third Day of a Seven-Day Binge
Killing Strangers
Slave Only Dreams to be King
Day 3 [Deluxe Edition]
Fated, Faithful, Fatal [Deluxe Edition]

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 27th 2018


Haven't listened to anything from Mr Manson since the mid 00s, nor to this album, but your review was very interesting and smartly written and you defended your position very well, so pos!

March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 5.0

You're score is waaaaay too low

March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 2.0

only a few above average tracks on here imo

March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 5.0


March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

sweet review, I can't wait till he follows this up.

March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 5.0

"sweet review, I can't wait till he follows this up."

Boy have I got news for you!

March 28th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

Pale Emperor was a gem in 2015. Arguably among the best mainstream albums to drop. As for Shamus, it really depends on what Manson you look for. Pale Emperor wont do anything for you if the shock/glam rock Manson is your preference. Nothing in the album aims to achieve that nature. It's like the movie Logan where he is an aged villain reflecting on his past choices. He's accepted himself as his current state and is going 'til he drops. It's a badass record in that sense. He was bold, creative, and unique in writing this album.

June 30th 2022


Album Rating: 4.5

Too bad he decided to just try and live in the past again after this.

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