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American shock rocker MARILYN MANSON is back in 2015 with his ninth studio effort entitled “The Pale Emperor”. The first song “Killing Strangers” is a slow, dark piece that kicks things off. It’s one that most have heard already, having been featured in the Keanu Reeves 2014 film John Wick. I also already heard the two rocking singles “Deep Six” and the brooding “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” so I must admit I was pretty jacked up to hear the rest of the album, which was produced by Manson and guitarist Tyler Bates. Spilling out of my speakers next came the haunting cuts “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles”, “Warship My Wreck”, and “Slave Only Dreams to be King”. Clearly Manson is back at peak level songwriting form again, berating you with his deeply disturbed singing style, punctuated by his trademark child-like screaming outbursts.

As he has gotten older it almost seems as if he has become a more powerful singer actually, developing into one who truly knows how to best use their instrument – so as to convey ‘a life of pain’ through his Alice Cooper inspired delivery that sounds as raspy and chilling as ever. It seems Manson has become more and more the bluesy-type after so many years of being an over the top vocal performer. Although the latter cut sounds a bit too close to the classic Manson anthem “Beautiful People” for my comfort, it’s still a very cool song that moves the record along. The quirky rhythm section held down by longtime Manson cohort Twiggy Ramirez on bass and Gil Sharone on drums is what makes it all work with a total retro rock feel employed all throughout. People can say what they want about this dude but the fact is Manson has sold fifty million albums to date because he truly is a legendary rock music performer.

“I don’t need a motherfucker looking down on me”, Manson sings on the next song, track seven’s “The Devil Beneath My Feet”. The song bounces along with a swagger that is intoxicating. This gem is followed by “Birds of Hell Awaiting”, “Cupid Carries a Gun”, and “Odds of Even”. You know what? Each of them are equally ass kicking and fascinating in a way that only Manson can pull off. Any fan of well written rock music will totally dig this album because it’s not too heavy or frightening to scare off people who typically are into more softer sounds.

Rocket Rules!

[starreview tpl=16]
MARILYN MANSON – “The Pale Emperor” (CD)

(Hell, etc., 2015)

1. Killing Strangers
2. Deep Six
3. Third Day of a Seven Day Binge
4. The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles
5. Warship My Wreck
6. Slave Only Dreams to be King
7. The Devil Beneath My Feet
8. Birds of Hell Awaiting
9. Cupid Carries a Gun
10. Odds of Even