Rediscovering the old bite

Like so many other metal lovers my age, I remember being intrigued by Marilyn Manson and his band in the late 90s and early 00s. He brought about a certain theatrical element that scared a self righteous society of do gooders and a danger that hadn’t been felt to this effect since Alice Cooper’s arrival in the late 60s.

‘Revelation #12’ kicks off his new album with a feel and darkness that the man and his band hasn’t exuded since the Holy Wood album. A very welcome return to a darkness and theatre that the band ruled the airwaves with so long ago. This feeling bleeds into next track ‘Tattooed In Reverse’, with its Golden Age of Grotesque stomp mixed with some of the more electronic elements that Manson and friends have flirted with a bit more on recent albums.

The next two tracks ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’ and ‘SAY10’ bring this mix of older, angrier, and far more frightening Marilyn Manson to a peak that the band hasn’t been close to since the Mechanical Animals/Holy Wood era. On ‘WE KNOW…’ the band sound the most dangerous they have since perhaps their high water mark Antichrist Superstar album, while ‘SAY10’ reaches desperately to be a topical and controversial.

Heaven Upside Down begins to trail off from here and settles in to the more rock vibe of previous album The Pale Emperor, with the bloated ‘Saturnalia’ constantly building up but not going anywhere over its eight minute run time the only real distraction on the second half. ‘JE$U$ CRI$I$’ with its opening line of “I write songs to fight and fuck too” shows that Manson does have what it takes still to be dangerous, but he doesn’t seem to still have what it takes lyrically to convey his message powerfully as he was once able to, while ‘Blood Honey’ is one of his most musically powerful tracks.

This is album number ten for a band who once had the ability to scare society at large with nothing more than make up and outrageous opinion. With the passing of time there is no denying this dog lost his bite somewhere, something that this album continues to rediscover in conjunction with The Pale Emperor. Perhaps it truly is a long hard road out…

1. Revelation #12
2. Tattooed in Reverse
4. SAY10
6. Saturnalia
7. JE$U$ CRI$I$
8. Blood Honey
9. Heaven Upside Down
10. Threats Of Romance