Torture Tunes



Marilyn Manson has spent the last 20+ years shocking people. But while he shocked Middle America with his stage antics, which arguably may not be that difficult to do, he has always been able to do the impossible by shocking even his most die hard fan. He would accomplish this by constantly switching up his style and sound and doing it quite successfully too. From the Anti-Christ Superstar to the Omega, Manson is definitely a chameleon, consistently reinventing himself on each album. When he engulfed the Vaudevillian style for “The Golden Age of Grotesque” he himself said, “Everything has been said before, there’s nothing left to say anymore.” And with that being already over 10 years ago, is it possible that this artist has reached the limits of his spectrum?

HELL NO! Manson’s latest offering of ten tracks that make up his “The Pale Emperor” album, proves this man is far from finished. Released on his own label, Hell, etc, this album offers fans a more stripped down and mature Manson. While his influences of David Bowie are still clear on the album, the new territory he ventures into, encompasses the blues. Which is actually rather fitting since Manson’s raspy and aging voice definitely lends itself well to the music of the “deep south.” But instead going off the deep end with this style, he grabs the blues by the throat and drags it kicking and screaming into the realm of horror and metal.

The result is a very moody, yet honest, straight up rock and roll album that focuses on the music instead of the theatrics that Marilyn Manson has been known for over the years. His lyrics are still on par with the poetic genius of albums like “Anit-Christ Superstar” and “Holywood” but with broader content. His melancholy approach to the songs, show him baring his sole in the most simplistic way, proving that less is more.

The Pale Emperor found Manson working with Tyler Bates, who co-wrote and produced the record with him. Perhaps this accounts for the cinematic feel of the music, since Bates is best known for his work in such films as Rob Zombie’s “The Devil’s Rejects”, William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe” and James Gunn’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy.” Personally, I believe Tyler Bates brought a new element to the table that forced Manson to want to push himself that much harder, similar to how Trent Reznor pushed Manson back in his early days, to be the best he could. So for anyone thinking Manson has been in a complacent rut these last couple albums, will be pleasantly surprised by what The Pale Emperor, offers.

David Croneberg has been quoted, saying “Just because you’re making a horror film, doesn’t mean you can make an artful film.” And the same goes for metal music. And The Pale Emperor is artful metal at its best. From the opening groove of “Killing Strangers” to the climatic finale of “Odds of Even” this album proves, what his fans have known forever. Marilyn Manson is not just a shock rocker, but a true artist.

Album Highlight: “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles”, “Deep Six”, and “Cupid Carries a Gun”.

Ryan Andrews, HMS

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