It’s been years since Marilyn Manson released something, so you can understand my excitement when I heard Killing Strangers during John Wick. A promise was made – that a new album will come soon enough, and I was eager to listen to it!
Killing Strangers is the opening track – it’s slick, and screams „Manson” with every note. It’s sickening, it’s angry, it’s disappointed – it’s everything you and me are, so why the fuck not!? (10/10)
Deep Six was promoted as a lead single, with a very simple, yet disturbing video. I must admit I adore the bass line at the beginning of the song, the drumming and how it all blends in perfectly with Manson’s screaming. It’s pure joy for my ears, even though at first the song seemed a bit predictable. (10/10)
Third Day of a Seven Day Binge was released as a first promo single, and it was a very smart move. The bass mixes the guitar in a rather savage way, and in theory nothing would seem to make sense, but it does – it does make sense in such a weird way, I can’t stop listening to it! (10/10)
The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles – that’s quite a mouthful! I’m still undecided – the guitars are amazing, the rhythm is not quite there, the lyrics don’t seem to make sense, but the whole package screams „suitability and fear and hope”. What?! (7/10)
Warship My Wreck kinda sounds like a modern Coma White, with a little more comformity and a little less genius. It’s not bad, but it’s not wow either. (6.5/10)
Slave Only Dreams to be King is the kind of title that makes me proud of being a Marilyn Manson fan. Even though the platitude is noticeable and kind of expected from him, at this point in his life, the song is not bad. It reminds me a bit of (s)AINT, minus the angst. (7/10)
The Devil Beneath My Feet seems like a forgettable piece, since I had to look up to see the name. The album seems a bit repetitive at this point, and all the songs get mixed up in my brain. This particular track also has the quality of reminding me of The Red Carpet Grave combined with Children of Cain, so it’s understandable why I’m confused. (6/10)
Birds of Hell Awaiting starts off great, with a bit of Aggaloch-like vocals, and it seems to be the kind of vehicle that propelled Manson to stardom. Too bad he’s like 20 years late… (7/10)
Cupid Carries a Gun sounds like Manson had to fill in a quota, and this straw came short, and Mercury was in retrograde, and a bunch of other bad stuff happened, and so… This song was all that they could come up with. Except that it sounds like Manson circa 20 years ago, so yay?! (7/10)
Odds of Even. I can’t even. Is this The Speed of Pain, remastered?! (5/10)
Overall, The Pale Emperor is at least bearable. Marilyn Manson goes out of his way to please old fans that don’t want any spark of creativity for their idol, and he manages to squeeze out a beautiful combo of Born Villain and The Unholy Trinity (Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood), recycling old concepts that once appealed to the masses, and are now obsolete.
To be completely honest, after The Golden Age of Grotesque, Manson looked like he was on his way to reinvention, and for about 10 years that reinvention seemed great. Too bad peer pressure, or whatever that is, chased away that new spirit – I hope all those oldies reminiscing their 1996 Manson are happy. I am only meh.