Feature: Marilyn Manson Can Save Rock ‘n’ Roll with “The Pale Emperor”
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 15:38:10
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Marilyn Manson already saved rock ‘n’ roll once. When Antichrist Superstar invaded pop culture in 1996, music got the diligently decadent and brutally brilliant villain it so desperately clamored for in the wake of grunge’s demise. As the stalwarts of the latter praised everyman anonymity instead of bombastic bacchanalian rock star imagery, Manson may not have “been born with enough middle fingers,” but he proudly raised the ones he had and singlehandedly resurrected both the rock concept album and proper live show. Moreover, he wasn’t afraid to evolve as evinced by Mechanical Animals, Holy Wood, and The Golden Age of the Grotesque to follow. As society became more prudish, the music got sexier. As everything slid into political correctness, he got wilder. Along the way though, he embodied what rock music was meant to be since day one.
Now, Manson’s embrace and grip on that ethos has never shaken, but it’s tighter than ever on The Pale Emperor. This isn’t just the best Manson album since Mechanical Animals, it’s the best tried-and-true balls-out rock record in recent memory. A big element of that arrives courtesy of Tyler Bates. The iconic film composer co-produced the album with Manson and played guitar and wrote. He adds a cinematic scope musically that's befitting of the Faustian lyrical depth. The songwriting feels flawless throughout augmented by Tyler's multi-instrumental prowess and formidable perception. He's the perfect collaborator for Manson here.
The Pale Emperor rules with an iron fist because it never holds back. “Deep Six” belongs in the set right next to “The Beautiful People” and “The Love Song” with its sticky vitriolic hook and industrialized metal bitchslap. “Killing Strangers” is a woozy, bluesy seduction of guitars and Manson’s satanically sweet croon. It’s perfect for John Wick or 50 Shades of Grey. “Warship My Wreck” turns melancholia into epic, and “Cupid Carries A Gun” blasts out one sharp vocal barb after another wrapped in a distorted haze. “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” takes his literary bent and douses it in kerosene, and “Slave Only Dreams to Be King” and “The Devil Beneath My Feet” are classic bangers bruised and bloody like an open wound.
“Odds of Even” closes everything out with an ominous last gasp that chills to the core like all of his best work continues to. With its much deserved Top 10 Billboard Top 200 debut and triumphant live tour, The Pale Emperor signals yet another renaissance for both Marilyn Manson and rock ‘n’ roll. The Pale Emperor reigns again, and that’s a damn good thing...
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What’s your favorite song from The Pale Emperor?
See what Slayer, Rob Zombie, Korn, The Pretty Reckless and more have to say about Manson in this feature!