Marilyn Manson calls himself the Mephistopheles of LA, a Satanist, a bringer of chaos. Whatever you want to call him, you should hail The Pale Emperor. He’s back, maybe not in his full glory, but definitely closer to the throne.
Three years since his last studio album, Manson is back with his latest release The Pale Emperor. The dark, at times bluesy, and always acerbic album may be received with caution after Manson’s past few offerings, but fans, dedicated and casual alike, should rest easy with a new album that steps to the likes of Mechanical Animals, and Holy Wood.
If Born Villain (2012) was an experiment in getting his sound back, The Pale Emperor is dark Manson in full glory. Several songs were recorded in a single take, a raw and bold play which, these days, takes a special type of chutzpah to pull off. Manson certainly makes the cut. His voice has improved tenfold since the 2012 record, and the latest album is leagues better than his last four.
Manson’s lyrics are back to that shrewd and astute commentary of his late 90s/early 2000s work, though he does tend to latch onto a few clever phrases and repeat them continually — even outside the anthemic chanting of the chorus, the songs have a tendency to be repetitive.
The entire album is strong, though no one track stands out as a single. Deep Six is probably the best song he could have chosen in that regard, and like 1996’s Antichrist Superstar, it works best when listened to as a whole album. Numbers like Third Day of a Seven Day Binge, The Devil Beneath My Feet, and Cupid Carries a Gun are tracks which alone rival the work he put out over the last 10 years.
A Manson comeback should almost certainly happen, not for nostalgia’s sake, but because he’s a different Manson than he used to be — a talented artist who isn’t yet done showing the world what he’s capable of. His earlier peak came at a difficult time in the music industry, when pop made an early resurgence, leaving him without a real chance to show what he’s made of and what he has to say. The Pale Emperor is the strongest foundation he could have hoped for to step into a full-blown comeback.
‘The Pale Emperor’ is due for release in Australia on Friday, 23rd January in time for Manson’s appearance at Soundwave Festival.