Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

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[quote]I wanted to try something new… something that’s never been done before, I want to push boundaries.  I’m an artist, an actor, a poet; but music is my priority.  ‘The Pale Emperor’ is going to change the way people experience music.  The fans are going to get a combination of genres that sound impossible to mix.[/quote]

-Brian Warner / Mar1lyn Man5on (this isn’t an actual quote)

Hello flushers, Detective McNulty checking in for duty. Since I suffered through Slipknot’s newest effort and In This Moment’s time capsule that they buried in 2001, why not review the new Marilyn Manson? I asked Papa Joe to put me on the case and he said “Yes, I will make sure that everyone else doesn’t cover this.”

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So what can be said about Marilyn Manson? He has a few good albums under his belt (does he? cause I honestly don’t know). And of course he turned in a phenomenal role in Bro’s of Anarchy, showcasing acting skills that we all knew he had been holding back all this time. I read on Wikipedia that he’s been putting out music since 1994, something I can fact check at least the first few years because in high school I was hanging with the skater kids and they used to listen to Marilyn Manson. As an attempt to fit in with the “skaters” I purchased Mechanical Animals in 1998… and it was great! He did a fantastic job with his tribute to David Bowie-esque glam rock (I’m not joking, it’s a great arena rock album that puts it down to this day)! And then every couple of years, some metal blog would post updates about a “new album” and I’d listen and chortle to myself and think, “Good luck to this guy, I wonder if he knows his fans are like 35 now.”

Come 2014 and the metal blogosphere is sharing with us a new tune: “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” (video below)! “This isn’t terrible,” I think to myself. I hear hints of Americana: southern-style guitar licks that aren’t even close to metal, some rhythmic clapping like you’re sitting in an old saloon, and depressing introspective lyrics. Odd for an artist like Marilyn Manson; this album could be good! Months later we are treated with a new tune, “Deep Six” and Holy Moly, it’s GREAT.  Overall, a slick pop tune with disco-style drumming, industrial riffing like the Manson of old, and killer catchy hooks! “I can throw away all judgment and just enjoy this great pop tune!” was my reaction at the time. But then something changed…

So of course I decided to review the album for Toilet ov Hell!  Upon hearing the first track “Killing Strangers”, I started hoping that I was one of the strangers in question.  Metalsucks described it perfectly: “The White Stripes on NyQuil.”  Simplistic drumming that could easily be mastered by anyone who’s played 15 seconds of drums on Guitar Hero.  Tambourines. Oh yeah, the lyrics… Manson’s definitely bringing the angst here with lines like: “we’re killing strangers, so we don’t kill the ones who we love.” Or how about “we got guns… motherfuckers better run”? Dang, such edge, wow. Gather them disenfranchised teens, bruh!

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I can’t help but wonder if he thought he’d succeed by mixing [what he thought sounded like] Tom Waits, Johnny Cash, White Stripes, and just the disco/industrial elements of his old albums.  Let me clarify here: there is nothing even approaching the genius of Tom Waits on here, but I could easily envision him listening to Tom Waits, completely misunderstanding and thinking, “I got this. I see what he’s doing. Throw in some heavy percussion and real head-scratching lyrics!” Track four, and the accompanying hook: “I’m the Mephistopheles… Of Los Angelees”. So you’re thinking to yourself, this must just be a track or two, right? Nope. Tracks 6 through 10 are like this, a man with an identity crisis thinking he can be Tom Waits but with a disco beat. I can’t even bother to post any of the lyrics.

I mean YES, yes I can bother to post some dumb lyrics. Taken from “Slave Only Dreams to be King”:

[quote]Don’t want your God and His higher power
Want power to get higher
I’m not allowed, I’m not allowed
When you look up, what do you see?
Don’t need a muthafucka lookin’ down on me
Muthafucka lookin’ down on me
‘Least I know wherever I go
I got the devil beneath my feet
Least I know wherever I go
I got the devil beneath my feet[/quote]

…and repeat 36 times. Yes, that bad. Each song ranges from 4:16 to 6:22, with the average track length being over five minutes. And if you think the first 30 seconds of a particular track suck, be prepared for the rest of it to suck too. There are no drum fills, no guitar solos; there are only a FEW handful of industrial/nu-metal guitar riffs to keep us interested*. The hooks are repetitive beyond comprehension (especially track 8 “Birds of Hell Awaiting”).

*I use the term in a relative sense. As in, The Big Bang Theory is relatively interesting when compared to a Michael Bay film.

So bad album, okay we get it. Review over? NOPE. The special edition comes with three bonus tracks: acoustic versions of three album tracks. It’s Marilyn Manson trying to sound like Johnny Cash, pure stripped-down acoustic guitar. I shit you not, dear reader; you simply must hear these tracks to understand the absolute flushability being presented to our earholes. It’s terrible, horrible, no good and very bad. Boy this guy’s got balls for attempting this; but I can’t even give him respect for that.

Surely the review is complete! “Nay” I say to you, peasant. Let’s do one more song breakdown. One more glass of wine in and I’m ready for “Birds of Hell Awaiting”! The song starts out with an industrial beat – wait, I kid – it’s not industrial at all, it’s like a synthesized version of a hawk screaming above in the sky. It fades into a classic western drum beat with a dirty guitar lick casually played over a back-and-forth bass backdrop. “This is your death’s… this is your death’s… this is your death’s desire,” I sure hope you like this grouping of words because you’re going to hear it about 400,000 more times. This song never progresses (neither forwards nor backwards), it’s simply hammered into your brain for FIVE MINUTES.

Next song “Cupid Carries a Gun” starts out with an acoustic guitar and – I have to throw in the towel. I simply cannot do this any more. I’ve listened to this album probably 10 times all the way through and I’m about ready to staple my nuts to my thigh. Let’s end the suffering. Marilyn Manson’s “The Pale Emperor” gets…

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l’d like to share with you the only acceptable song from the album, “Deep Six” to help cleanse your pallet of the absolute garbage that preceded it. Honestly, it’s a good song. I do not know how he managed to compose one good track among a smoldering wasteland of atrocities; but he has. Get ready to post some funny comments while you listen to the following:

“The Pale Emperor” comes out January 20, 2015.  Pre-order the deluxe edition here.

(Photo via) (Photo via)

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