The High End Of Low review by Marilyn Manson

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  • Released: May 26, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (129 votes)
Marilyn Manson: The High End Of Low
5

Sound — 8
Marilyn Manson has done nothing if not evolve over the course of his headline-grabbing career. He's adopted a David Bowie-esque persona, sliced himself up on stage and been blamed for school shootings and for encouraging the disaffected youth. That's all beside the point. Manson's main mission is making raw, mechanical, industrial-influenced hard rock. He's gotten back to that basic tenet of his sound on The High End of Low. There's a few polished moments here and there like Leave a Scar and 15 but he also slashes and burns with the in-your-face, both lyrically and musically, Pretty as a Swastika and Arma-Goddamn-Motherf--kin-Geddon. Manson isn't attempting to play nice. He's brought bassist Twiggy Ramirez back into the fold, which has reignited some of his old, semi-dormant anger. These two bring out the worst, and we mean that in the best possible way, in one another. Manson proudly lets his scraggly, industrial roots show on Blank and White, while Four Rusted Horses is influenced by the drug-dusted, Mechanical Animals-era of his career.

Lyrics — 8
Manson Brian Warner to his momma- isn't holding back, but then again, did we expect him to? He's talking swastikas, leaving scars, stupid teenage girls and a host of other topics that will have the Christian right wing faction hitting the roof and popping gaskets. He's not just looking for the cheap thrill, though; he's posing questions about how numb we've become to all the shit we see on the local evening news, where human beings are switched out in favor of being a nameless, faceless statistic. Manson bleeds on this record and that's just how we like it.

Overall Impression — 8
Not as gnarly as Antichrist Superstar and not nearly as eccentric as Mechanical Animals, The High End of Low is certainly more memorable than, say, Holy Wood or even Eat Me, Drink Me. Ramirez must be the catalyst sparking Manson's creative drive and gears, because he hasn't sounded this delightfully or determinedly pissed if in quote a long time. Manson is retrofitted to his groove on The High End of Low so let's hope he continues down this path for the next few years. Even though he hasn't really fallen from grace, he's certainly rebounding, musically-speaking, with The High End of Low, which does dip here and there with a few slow-tempo, melancholic songs like the haunting, ballad-like Running to the Edge of the world. But even the more maudlin songs retain Manson's edge. The High End of Low may confound some, with its alternating current of hope and despair, but diehard Manson'ites will click with this album with fevered passion.

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SMB13
    I like it, it's back to Manson's original sound. And for the kid at the top: You heard it was shit? Listen to it yourself and YOU decide. And as for the guy above me, I really liked The Golden Age of Grotesque. But my point is, this album is good. Not his best, but he's closer to his roots, and I enjoy it.
    internetretard
    I, like i'm sure most everyone else, had heard the leaked tracks floating around before the release. Those tracks really didn't get my hopes up. I went out and bought this and I can say that hey, it's definitely Marilyn Manson. This is easily the 4th best in the catalogue after Antichrist, Mechanical then Holywood. Golden Age and that god awful Eat Me Drink Me were horrible. You know it and I know it. That was just Manson going solo and rambling on. And **** Tim Skold. Something wrong with you people if you even for a second thought he contributed anything to "Marilyn Manson" the band. Anyway, The High End Of Low is quite a high point in what has been nothing but low points for the last couple years for Manson. I've been listening since Portrait and dudes, this is pure Manson.
    UberElixir
    I've never really liked Marilyn Manson anyway. I mean, I've liked a couple of their songs. I prefer Nine Inch Nails.
    jables23092
    Just bought the new album. Wow, what a difference from Eat Me, Drink Me. This is by far some of the most melodic stuff from Manson I've ever heard. I'm not going to call it "accessible" to anybody, but this is definitely one of the easiest Manson albums to listen to. In other words, you'll like it the first time you hear it. That's not to say he leaves his staple angst, wit, and sarcasm behind the album is plenty hard and angry. It's just that somewhere in the whole process, the band found a melodic structure to their stuff. I have no doubts that Twiggy was instrumental in this development. The harsh, industrial sounds abound as well. As far as the lyrics are concerned, Manson doesn't miss a beat. He serves up another offering of clever (and extremely irreverent) lines that are sure to be taken literally and quoted by all the parties that want to blame him for the latest tragedy. If you ever liked Manson in the past, don't miss this one.
    mikkisaturn
    In my opinion Mechanical Animals is his best album. It is the most musically sophisticated and has the most interesting lyrics. Furthermore, it has long been my contention (I used to have arguements with people about this kind of thing in highschool) that Marilyn Manson is primarily a pop band - the preponderance of his songs have that familiar verse-chorus-vers-chorus-bridge-chorus-chorus structure, and he displays a persistent interest in catchy melodies and memorable hooks. He's like a modern day version of The Sweet or something. And I think MM has been pretty up front about this, both with comments made in interviews and with the type of songs he chooses to cover which are typically 80's pop songs dating all the way back to "Down In the Park" off the Lunchbox EP. His albums have been trending in a more commercial direction for many years - and yet the quality is variable. Why? I've heard a few songs off this album and they sound more like Mechanical Animals/Holywood era stuff than GAOG or EMDM. I therefore have concluded that Twiggy Ramirez is a better songwriter (or at least, works better with MM) than Tim Skold. It makes me wonder what would happen if other old members of the band would join back up - John 5 for instance, or Gacy (he is gone isn't he?) Anyway, I'll be buying this album later today and I expect it to be pretty good, possibly his best in years.
    ZombieChrist
    I've heard every song off of the new album on his myspace, and I have been satisfied with it. It's not Portriat of an American Family,nor is it Hollywood or Golden Age, every one of his cd's have a different sound to it. That's obvious. The music is industrial, because you can hear the NIN influence that Twiggy and Vrenna brought in making it. Songs like Arma-goddamn-mother****ing-geddon are the heavy semi Similar Anti Christ superstar songs in the sence of sound. The only songs I thought were disapointing were Wow and 15.
    arkham13
    For those who haven't heard the album, don't trust other people's opinion. Go to Myspace they have the whole album there.
    JoeyDengler
    I personally believe that this is a great piece of work from Manson. What you all seem to forget is that if he would have made an album that was just like Antichrist Superstar you would have just complained that he cant make anything else yet when he makes something different you have a go at him for it not being like his other albums. Why the need to compare all the time? People change and new things and issues come up for people to write about-its nice to hear him singing about things so personal to him-i love all of his work but it felt like we only knew his personal beliefs regarding politics etc and not the real, raw soul that he is. Plus hes entitled to make exactly what he wants to make. We're all entitled to your opinions but until anyone of us have had a successful career like he has then we're not really in a position to complain really and to anyone that doesnt make music that says his albums are shit then maybe they should stop bitching, learn how to play and then make their own music and see how hard it is. But well done to MM for a great album. The track Devour is simply beautiful.
    Mastiphal
    As far as making this his most extreme album like he said he would, he [obviously] failed to do that. But as far as improving from the past two albums, he accomplished that. Both Eat Me, Drink Me and Golden Age were polished and over produced. His best albums are, from my opinion, Antichrist and Mechanical, with some decent tracks from Holywood. I feel that Manson has gone back even further than Mechanical or Antichrist, back to Portrait type of music, with a less distorted but messier sound. The music is definitely not for moshing, but it is different, and not everything has to be heavy. The lyrics though, could use some work, since I feel that he repeats some lines a bit too much. Otherwise, it is a decent album, not his best or most extreme, but definitely a step up. SEE YOU AT MAYHEM!
    swordsrkewl
    From what I have heard so far, 5 of the tracks, it sounds like Portrait meets Antichrist Superstar, the guitar tones are nice, sound very classic-esque, not overly distorted. I really like what I hear.
    moonatblack
    The real Marilyn Manson is the one in 1995 with the long hair and the heavy metal attitude. The first few albums were great heavy metal until mechanical animals.Then the worst part was when he released Eat Me Drink Me which was an absolute shitty emo romantic album.He has ****ed himself up.
    Throwdown666
    Well i love it. I don't know how anyone can bag him out at all, Since day one he has evolved while keeping his original sound and attitude. Isn't that what any great artist should be doing? Or should he just limit himself by reproducing the same thing over and over again.... Enough said.
    MaGgOt_13
    silent caution wrote: i know..im embarrased that i used to be a manson fan when i was 13(before i knew any better)
    Before you knew any better? Yet still you are reading a review for his new album... So far I've only heard pretty like a swastika, and it wasn't bad. I'll buy this as soon as I can
    lilWill*SW*
    i heard all the album and deluxe(japanese version) n its ok he did kinda ****ed up sum song like i wanna kill you like the do in the movies horribly songs, but the alternativve versions in deluxe were awesome so in all the album a good 8/10
    K!!LsWiTcH
    i havent heard the album nor am a fan of mansons but someone said he was satanic, which tells me you must be braindead. Why do people on this site have such a large problem with a change in sound btw. Most people here just shrug off w.e an artist puts out if its an evolution.
    Johnny Quest
    they never rock out on the album like they used to, nor are the lyrics remotely interesting - 6/10
    Spich
    I do believe Antichrist superstar Mechanical and Hollywood are the best albums he did, you are speaking about Eat me drink me as shit but did you forget Golden age of grotesque ? worst of all. The real good Manson is gone (probably to get more money), even if i still listen each new albums when they came out. He is and he will be always a good inspiration to me. God of Fuck
    xJohnxAnarchyx
    This is album is not worth your time if you planned on buying it. There are two good songs on the album. The album is way too much like Eat Me, Drink Me, and is therefore worthless to any die-hard Manson fan. I mean granted, these people would like anything he does, but the album is really not worth your time. It's horrible.
    Throwdown666 wrote: Well i love it. I don't know how anyone can bag him out at all, Since day one he has evolved while keeping his original sound and attitude. Isn't that what any great artist should be doing? Or should he just limit himself by reproducing the same thing over and over again.... Enough said.
    He doesn't have the same sound or attitude anymore. He's become a pussy and his sound has dramatically fallen downward. He can evolve but he's become a huge PUSSY. His music is really whiny. It's not like he used to be at all. He's soft. Worthless.
    Pat_s1t
    So this is why he's headlining Mayhem Fest this year. I was wondering why he was on the bill yesterday because he hadn't (to my knowledge at the time) put out anything new in a few years. Now I get it.
    Jau_Peacecraft
    [x]Huffy[x] wrote: imo it completely destroys Eat Me, Drink Me and Golden Age.
    Agreed, those albums sound like the purley commercial panderings they will most likley be remembered for. The High End of Low actually sounds like Manson's first honest attempt at a "neo-classical" sound (similar to Bowie's last two albums) that goes back to what made the band's music work, while taking enough chances & new ideas to make it a worthwile listen, As I knew it would, having Twiggy Rameriez again made all the difference, & if you take out "Scar", "Unkillable Monster" (both pop pandering songs), & maybe even "WoW" (interesting song, but sounds like a b-side & doesn't fit in with the rest of the album), & the underwhelming last-track "15", & replace a few songs with some of the alternate versions from the bonus cd (both versions of Four Rusted Horses are great, but replacing the acoustic versions of Four Rusted Horses & Into The Fire with their more electric versions makes the album far more balanced), the cd sounds like the nephew to Mechanical Animals. Manson sounds like a lot more like Manson again, without as much self-indulgent "reflection" found on Eat Me Drink Me, & a more humble tone than found on Golden Age Of Grotesque. There were moments listening to the album where I was genuinely "into" the music (especially on the un-official title track "I have to look up just to see hell", "devour", "four rusted horses", & the refreshingly more hardcore "blank & white"), of which, I can barley recall such moments on the past 2 albums. THEOL has more focus on the music itself, while taking some needed risks to keep things interesting. Having one of the original band members that made your band great in the first place is never a bad thing, & this album proves that the next they make could easily be the comeback fans have been hoping for.
    JohntyPython434
    i'm a huge fan of golden age and holy wood, i can't wait to hear the new stuff. weezer and AC/DC's new albums didn't let me down
    shockrocker
    look, i don't mean to sound like a 12 year old here, but im a manson fan (or was). i didn't mind Eat me, Drink me, because tim skold pulled it through with his beautiful soloing, but from what i've heard from this, its horrible. There is nothing industrial about it, its just.... I can't even explain how painful it is to hear him turn into this.
    Kalyth
    I'm gonna listen to it, and hop it can be compared to old-glories... I loved Holy Wood and Mechanical Animals...
    schimmel
    Manson hasn't really been great since 2001's HolyWood. This is just proof that he's slipping farther away from the fans who bought into him and supported him in the beginning.
    ChemicalFire
    Dunno what you guys are talking about. The one song I've heard (Arma-Goddamn-Motherf***ing-Geddon) was really good in my eyes, has the catchy-ness which made me love Manson in the first place
    motimon3
    yea i think this is a big improvement from Eat Me Drink Me which was seriously different from good old Marilyn.. Listen to We're From America you'll like it
    decayingdave
    Spich wrote: I do believe Antichrist superstar Mechanical and Hollywood are the best albums he did, you are speaking about Eat me drink me as shit but did you forget Golden age of grotesque ? worst of all. The real good Manson is gone (probably to get more money), even if i still listen each new albums when they came out. He is and he will be always a good inspiration to me. God of Fuck
    True... The only work he ever did that was worth recognizing was antichrist superstar and portrait. Beyond that, he became self indulgent, tired and ultimately flawed - Like most rock&rollers, as soon as they lay off the drugs and get married, they suck balls. He was in a league of his own 'til he went and shot himself in the foot. Still, if he can STILL manage to piss off the conservatives, I'm still going to attend his shows whenever I can.
    guitaluva17
    eat me drink me was better! btw, i submitted a review of this on thursday last week, and they still haven't posted it and my review is more acurate!
    silent caution
    Forsaken-pariaH wrote: exactly, album sucks.. no melody no hate no music!!
    i know..im embarrased that i used to be a manson fan when i was 13(before i knew any better)
    toastedavalanch
    I'm dissapointed with this album. Its not political at all, its more about how angry he is at women. Its a shame that the music is so good, yet his lyrics are very poor compared to such greats as Coma White and The Beautiful People. Still it has its moments.
    Forsaken-pariaH
    the way i think about it, mansons old spark and way with good music was the demon in him, all of his satanic music and shit made his songs hardcore and straight up headcrushing.. he had started losing it on mechanical animals, tryig for a different sound instead of not giving a ****, same with holy wood, but on golden age of grotesque, in his top song of the album he anounces that he is basicaly saying **** the old shit. "everything has been said before nothing left to say anymore" and "this is the new shit" the way i see it manson will never be the good ol' demonic satanic manson that he used to be, therefore his music will forever suck ass!!
    [x]Huffy[x]
    Not a huge fan of the album, but imo it completely destroys Eat Me, Drink Me and Golden Age.
    jonny108
    antichrist superstar was produced by Trent... cant expect him to make somthing as good as that again =P
    Spookshow_Dolly
    Ok first of all has everybody forgotten about portrait of an american family. Or the Spooky Kids era. Those in my opinion were his best. Yeah Antichrist was good and Mechanical was good to. But as far as Eat me Drink me goes it was shit! And Golden Age wasn't that much better. More importantly Tim Skold can never replace Twiggy Or even Gidget Gein (Rip.) I really hope High end of Low dosen't blow. I'v herd a few of the new ones and not bad, but we will see.
    sparky5th
    so i'm pretty sure I'm the only one that hasn't heard he had a new CD till now... I personally liked all of his stuff except eat me drink me. Being the first hard-rock-ish band I think I ever enjoyed, I'm going to faithfully give it a listen, as he definately opened the gate to some of my favorite types of music today. My marijuana of music, I guess you could say.
    fartsyjoe420
    YeOldeAnon wrote: The names of the songs were so cheesy they scared me off
    consanguinei wrote: The album is completely horrible. just outright bad. idk what he was thinking.
    agreed. 4/10 at best. i was really expecting something more for some reason... just a boring album. no other description required.