Album Review: Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor
Posted by Reggie
Label: Hell, Etc.
Release Date: 20 Jan 2015
Length (deluxe edition): 66 Minutes
Previous Albums: 8 studio albums
Genre: Shock Rock / Industrial / Alternative
Location: United States
I have to admit, the whole shock rock thing was kind of…shocking when it first reared its non-politically correct head in the mainstream 20+ years ago. With due respect, I am not talking about Alice Cooper’s self-beheadings on stage many decades before that, but the resurgence of shock rock when Marilyn Manson started tearing pages out of the Holy Bible on prime time television. Oh, the look on Christian mother’s faces! The picket signs came out in full force (were probably out before that actually) only to have protester’s cries fall on deaf ears. Freedom of Speech is a bitch. Nonetheless, Manson and Co are here, two decades later doing what they do without a protester in sight. Without getting further into the psychology of the Antichrist Superstar’s effect on Christianity, here are a few reasons why you should listen to Marilyn Manson’s 9th studio album, The Pale Emperor.
I think every metal fan secretly (if not openly) likes at least some part(s) of Marilyn Manson’s discography. Just about everyone I talk to about Manson can recall at least one or more albums or songs they like (myself included). The issue with a shock rocker is that they are limited with expressing themselves, though Manson continues to pull no punches. When an artist strives to outdo themselves with every album it tends to get repetitive. In my humble opinion, Manson fell into that rut with a few albums as of recent. The Pale Emperor just might renew your interest.
It’s probably one of the most mature albums of his (their) career. The other comparable album I can think of that is relatable in style is Mechanical Animals (1998) which happens to be my secret love affair with Marilyn Manson. The Pale Emperor is similar in tempo and mood; it’s dark, brooding, and sinister. It isn’t erratic nor is the album spontaneous musically, but instead it is very rhythmic and in some cases as with Birds of Hell Awaiting is quite groovy. Day 3 features acoustic guitar work and is mostly a vocal experience. Fated, Faithful, and Fatal follows the same path as Day 3. Deep Six (featured with this review) is probably the most “rocking” song on the album, but as you can see still pretty tame. Third Day of a Seven Day Binge is a solid track in the vain of something you would hear in a Quentin Tarantino movie. It has a classic vibe to it.
Despite being a less erratic album, The Pale Emperor has some unique things to offer for not only longtime fans, but skeptics as well. I don’t find it to be any vast attempt at shocking people; it’s more or less a pretty straightforward album. Lyrically, Manson still goes for the jugular, but this time those “parental advisory” lyrics are set to a much more melodic backdrop.
3.5 out of 5
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