Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Marilyn-Manson-The-Pale-Emperor-album-coverStarting off with a death march which is the crushingly infectious ‘Killing Strangers’, the latest album from Marilyn Manson The Pale Emperor sets out its intentions early.

‘Deep Six’ is more upbeat, and has all the hallmarks of a Manson anthem. His lyrics are as acerbic as ever and the musicianship from which (sadly) has become a revolving door of players is top-drawer. The track has a few electronic undertones, a thumping drum and bass line and spews menace when the music pares down to Manson’s double-tracked vocal. 

Lead single ‘Third Day of a Seven Day Binge’ is a bit of a corker. It doesn’t blast out of the traps or rattle your speakers even if turned up to 11. What makes it special is the bluesy tinge, the relaxed manner in which it is played, the catchiness of the chorus, and of course the lyrics which drip from Manson’s mouth. I would hope that in future tours this song becomes a high-point and a regular staple of the set.

‘Slave Only Dreams To Be King’, ‘The Devil Beneath My Feet’, and ‘Birds of Hell Awaiting’ are all excellent tracks. They are slow, brooding, bluesey, infections, and most importantly, dark, and menacing. What more would you want from Manson?

The rest of the album completes in a very similar way, and at the end I found myself wanting to press “Play” almost immediately. The problem is that if you loved his early material then you’re probably going to hate this. Or at least, if you want him to be raw, rocking, and spitting venom through fast-paced noise-laden tracks then you will hate it. Manson the middle-aged performer still spits venom, but in a much more relaxed, musically slower, yet for me much more evil way.

His ninth album is better than most recent efforts. I liked Born Villan, The High End of Low, and Eat Me, Drink Me, however nobody will argue they are classics. Unfortunately the same will be the case for The Pale Emperor, not because of the content, but most likely because after years of an ailing career most have given up on Manson as an artist and performer; which is a shame.

Gareth Fraser
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