By Andrew Hunter
The Pale Emperor
Marilyn Manson had a new album called The Pale Emperor out this year and it got sent to me for free, somebody paid for it so it’s not stealing. I’m not going to be all like it’s a return to form cause I liked the last album Born Villain especially “Slowmotion”. So much so, I saw him when he toured with Rob Zombie. Even though half of Rob Zombies band used to play with Manson, I preferred the Manson section of the show- “Coma White” still got me. He may not be everybody’s idea of a good time, he’s 46 and can’t wear a corset onstage anymore but not many 46 year old guys could, but to me he’s aged well like Alice Cooper, he may be getting older, but can still put on a hell of a show.
The Pale Emperor hasn’t got the same aggression as previous offerings, but loses none of it’s edge, co written/produced by Manson and Tyler Bates (who composed such soundtracks/videogames as Guardians of the Galaxy, Watchmen, Super, God of War: Ascension & a whole lot more). So no Twiggy Ramirez writing on this album to my knowledge anyway. The film links don’t stop with Manson reunited with another Keanu Reeves movie John Wick, when the producers of John Wick visited Manson & Bates at the studio they listened to The Pale Emperor and wanted to use ‘Killing Strangers’ and it was only the demo version.
This album feels personal and intimate especially if you hear bonus tracks on the deluxe version with three stripped back version of album tracks they still work so well it’s hard to decide which is better. It has a more slowed down bluesy feel to it with ‘Odds Even’ meandering guitar , it still has those heavy screaming tracks we came to expect with ‘Deep Six’. But it has such a strong set of songs within it ‘The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles’ is a clever, classy track Manson sings “Don’t know if I can open up I’m not a birthday present”. ‘Third Day of a Seven Day of a Sven Day Binge’ another example of how its not about a heavy riff but clever song writing that gets you hooked this album feels like a change in direction softer, slower in places but just a sharp tongued. ‘Warship My Wreck’ stands out as an emotional epic, but pictures are painted within The Pale Emperor with Guns, love, hate, sex, emptiness, religion, demons, the devil all there but it has an ambiguity for the listener where you are asked to make your own interpretation. Questions are asked of you but you feel the album was as much Manson questioning himself.
“My dagger and swagger are useless/ in face of the mirror when the mirror is made of my face”