Marilyn Manson: The Pale Emperor

14 Feb

marilyn manson

For any other artist an album with this level of honesty, artistry, and ambition would be a slam dunk, but Marilyn Manson t(I refer to Manson in the singular here as no previous band members contributed to the album) is not just any other artist. It’s true that The Pale Emperor is flawless in its composition, seamlessly smothering Manson’s freakish industrial sound in drawling blues beats. And no one could argue that this latest effort holds any less lyrical weight than the band’s magnum opus; the trilogy of Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, and Holy Wood. But it does lack Marilyn Manson the performer, replaced by the less hypnotizing Brian Warner the man.

That being said, there is still much to like here, and The Pale Emperor is vastly superior to anything the band has produced since 2000. Opening track Killing Strangers comes out swinging, with Manson’s trademark swaggering critique. Lilting, punchy, bluesy guitars are reminiscent of the playfulness that has always eschewed the band’s darker image.

Third Day of a Seven Day Binge, and Cupid Carries a Gun are also worth an honourable mention. Each highlighting Manson’s departure from obscured meanings in favour of very honest, straightforward story telling. While Deep Six delivers the religiously obtuse metaphors which catapulted Marilyn Manson into the public eye at the turn of the century.

On the whole then, it seems The Pale Emperor will sit well in Manson’s cannon of work, and perhaps some of the stylistic changes will help invigorate the band’s image. But for those that remember fondly the glory days of Marilyn Manson; the storms of controversy; the enigmatic, defiant, fearless performer; and the band that at one time ruled the airwaves; The Pale Emperor is just that, a faded image of one of music’s brightest stars.



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