Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor


An enticing and seductive affair…

Review by Raymond Westland

Release date: 19 January 2015

After causing a ton of controversy with his androgynous looks and uncompromising artistic vision in the late nineties and early 2000s, Marilyn Manson’s popularity and musical career took a turn for the worst. This decline is eerily mirrored by two subpar albums, namely Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) and The High End Of Low (2009). Manson’s 2012 album, Born Villain, was a return to form, but it still couldn’t touch the artistic prowess of his earlier work.

Whether the album’s title is a play to David Bowie’s The Thin White Duke persona remains to be seen, but Manson does share Bowie’s desire to continually reinvent himself. That’s exactly what makes The Pale Emperor such an enticing and downright seductive affair. The album has little in common with the bombastic industrial nature of Mechanical Animals and The Golden Age Of Grotesque. In fact, the good ol’ blues is the main musical constant, as expertly shown in tracks like ‘Killing Strangers’, ‘The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles’ and ‘Odds Of Even’.

With ‘Deep Six’, ‘The Devil Beneath My Feet’ and ‘Cupid Carries A Gun’ there’s still room for some more industrial overtones, but the overall bluesy feel is never away, nor they those tracks have the sheer angst and intensity of many of Manson’s seminal work. But then again, the whole suffocating atmosphere and pulsating disgust wouldn’t sit well with the overall brooding and understated feel of The Pale Emperor.

It’s heartening to know that Marilyn Manson doesn’t try to relive this glory days, but instead he prefers to proceed to take the road less travelled. The Pale Emperor will continue to divide his fanbase, but it’s sure one solid piece of music which grows with subsequent listen. Isn’t that the hallmark of truly memorable albums?

Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor8 out of 10

Track listing:

  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