Marilyn Manson is no stranger to creating albums on the dark fringe of genres, and The Pale Emperor is no different. Although the album doesn’t contain a cover like its predecessor Born Villain and earlier albums, this album boasts some incredible tracks from the dark prince of the 90’s.
Manson manages to fuse his iconic, dirty riffs with a range of other styles throughout the album. Manson’s lyrics still focus around religion and the dank and depressive, but that’s not a bad thing. His ability to gradually transform his music is one that all bands should take note of; so they aren’t crucified for sounding the same every album, or for changing too quickly. The Pale Emperor opens with Killing Strangers, and it is one of the strongest on the album. The guitar work is catchy without crossing over to pop territory, and the track holds a strong groove throughout the entire song. Manson’s vocals are coarse and add an edge to the track the rest of the album seems to miss.
While the album doesn’t enthral the listener like Manson’s earlier album Antichrist Superstar, it does have its moments. It doesn’t have the truly gritty feel of Manson’s earlier work, but the aging rock star is no longer in his angst-filled 20’s. Another standout is Birds of Hell Waiting, which connects with his earlier, more visceral work. It opens with a deep soundscape of foreign noises underpinned by a brooding bassline. The track moves along with a sludgy pace, just the way Manson’s best work sounds.
Marilyn Manson managed to create shock with each of their albums, and it was always going to be hard to up the ante, and people believed they had reached that point, but The Pale Emperor screams that they have more to show us.
Marilyn Manson will be playing Soundwave Festival around the country in February/March, stopping in Brisbane at RNA Showgrounds on February 28.