Releasing a new album in January is a bold fucking statement for any artist and there is no one bolder in modern rock than Marilyn Manson. Besides the release date, probably the biggest surprise on The Pale Emperor (His ninth album) is how utterly amazing and solid it is. You can credit Twiggy Ramirez, composer Tyler Bates, Shooter Jennings, drummer Gil Sharone all you want but the true credit lies with Mr. Brian Warner aka “Tully” from Sons Of Anarchy for all you MM newbies.
It’s fitting that a handful of tracks from The Pale Emperor appeared on both the small and big screen first because, as a whole, the album is incredibly cinematic but still maintains that signature Manson evil. Whether it’s the sinister thump of “Cupid Carries A Gun” which opens Salem or “Killing Strangers” playing in the gritty world of John Wick (Coincidentally scored by Bates as well), Manson’s new batch of songs is mature, macabre, and unlike anything he’s done before.
Straying from the Antichrist Superstar (Unless you count the subtle drum beats and slowed down riff nods to “The Beautiful People” within “Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles”), The Pale Emperor is an experience unto itself and begs to be listened to from start to finish. Once inside, gems like “Deep Six” prove that Manson can still rock harder than most but it’s the slower tracks that hit hardest here. Closer “Odds Of Even” instantly comes to mind and is one of the most stylistically beautiful songs Manson’s been involved with and features an almost inhuman growl from the singer (For another side of this song, check out “Day 3” of the deluxe edition).
Having been a fan since Portrait… but unimpressed with both Born Villain and The High End Of Low, The Pale Emperor is not necessarily a return to form so much as it is the Marilyn Manson album fans knew he was capable of finally realized.