ALBUM: Marilyn Manson ‘The Pale Emperor’


Goth god Marilyn Manson has finally released his much anticipated ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor (the perfect description of the man himself). Fans expectations of the sound of Manson’s new album have been up in the air since his surprisingly glam rock single ‘Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge’ was released last year, which have made the prospect of a new Marilyn Manson album seem much more exciting.

Its just so different to any of his other work; still lined with heavy, riffy guitar in parts, but with a more melodic feel to it, which is the biggest contrast to the majority of his other work. But it is without a doubt one of the strongest albums Manson has released – it’s on par with the incredible Portrait Of An American Family from back in 1994. It was Manson’s metaphorical two finger salute to traditional American values and everything they stand for, and this is what’s so consistent in his work – it can even be seen thorough out the majority of The Pale Emperor.

The album feels very raw and improvised, and does shred similarities to Portrait… in that sense. Manson recently revealed that all of the songs were recorded in just one take,  describing the music as being “dirty… Like the dirt under my nails, like someone who has dug a grave”. When you actually sit and listen to the album in its entirety, it’s so hard to believe that each song was recorded in just one take. Manson’s vocals are outstanding, the best they’ve been in years! You can hear the passion from track one, and it’s something that lingers throughout, giving it its edge.

‘Warship My Wreck’ is without a doubt the strongest song on the album – it’s just so interesting instrumentally – simple yet intense. I love the improvised feel of the guitar, which isn’t common in Manson’s work or in metal as a whole. You still have Manson’s hauntingly husky vocals over an intense, dramatic ensemble, but there’s still something different about his vocals, as if they’re so much stronger. The song shows them off perfectly, how he effortlessly leaps from soft intimate parts to passionate screams.

Another track definitely worth having a listen to is ‘Slave Only Dreams To Be King’ – another glam-rock track from the goth god? Can we expect a transition any time soon? I’m starting to see a pattern! But this isn’t your typical glam rock, this is Marilyn Manson we’re talking about. It’s more supercharged glam-rock, if that’s even a thing. If not, then he’s gone and created it. It’s definitely going to be a crowd favourite when he plays it live. You’re in for a treat when you’re past the slow ambiguous start and get into the swing of the song. It’s a far throw from the rest of Manson’s work, but definitely a throw in the right direction.

If you stripped Manson’s distinct vocals from ‘Cupid Carries A Gun’ and just played it as an instrumental, you’d never think that it was a Marilyn Manson song. The bluesy guitar lick played at the start is so memorable and works surprisingly well with Manson’s vocals. This song totally took me by surprise, when I heared that one of the tracks on the album had an acoustic guitar part, I questioned whether it would work, but Manson killed it!

This is definitely some of the best work I’ve heard from Manson in years. I’m expecting huge things from him this year!

The Pale Emperor is released on January 19th via Hell, etc.

Abbi Parcell