Perhaps the most enduring pop culture anti-hero of the 90’s, Marylyn Manson has sculpted himself a throne of social scorn that is so enduring that neither time, nor the mid diminishing returns of the 2000’s can shake the foundation of it. Even as a fan who was naiveté enough to not bear an ill will towards Golden Age Of Grotesque, I completely missed his last two albums. This shortcoming aside, my subjective opinion on The Pale Emperor (surprisingly put out through Dine Alone Records) is a positive one.
Any long term fan with a limited contextual knowledge behind the band and music, likely suspected that a visionary of Manson’s caliber would not still be relying on the industrial sound or shock value. The truth turned out to be far more contrary, as none of the 13 tracks even come close to anything that the band has put out in the last 15 years. While the lyrical subject matter is more or less the same this, it seems to carry a heavier emphasis, whilst being underlined by blues rock atmosphere. The predominant down beat percussions, snazzy licks really set up Manson to fill the minimalism with his voice and lyrics. Killing Strangers, Third Day of a Seven Day Binge, Cupid Carries a Gun, Day 3 and Fall Of the House of Death are the best examples of this refreshing reframe. Of course, there is a familiar side to the Pale Emperor, in the form of the energetic, darker rock tracks that manage to revive the abandon and decadent celebratory energy of “dope show”, “Disposable Teens” or “Beautiful People”. Particularly Fated Faithful Fatal, The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles, Slave Only Dreams To Be King. While every single track has its own identity and flair, as whole they are completely reliant on Manson’s incredible ability to paint a picture with his lyrics. Of course many re-listens will be in order to fully interpret the literal and metaphorical nuances at play. It is on this criteria that The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles, Slave Only Dreams To Be King are the two tracks that stand out immediately.
Manson has predominantly drawn influence from rock legends north of 1990. In an era where DJs & Pop Stars dominate the radio waves, The Pale Emperor seems like a earthy, wholesome step into imbedding Marilyn Manson as a modern successor.
THE PALE EMPEROR is out now!
Marilyn Manson is currently on tour in North America and then in Europe. Tickets are selling fast so be sure to get them early.