The Pale Emperor Review

artist: Marilyn Manson date: 01/13/2015 category: compact discs
Marilyn Manson: The Pale Emperor
Released: Jan 19, 2015
Genre: Industrial Rock, Alternative Rock
Label: Hell, etc
Number Of Tracks: 10
This album doesn't even remotely sound like the blues, BUT you can tell that Marilyn Manson is writing in that direction. This is potentially one of his better releases in quite a few years.
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 7
 Overall Impression: 7.5
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 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (2) pictures (1) 22 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
The Pale Emperor Featured review by: UG Team, on january 12, 2015
6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sound: Marilyn Manson came out after being discovered by Trent Reznor of NIN, who went on to produce their debut album, "Portrait of an American Family," and also released it on his own record label. At the time, Marilyn Manson was considered so extreme that he became a scapegoat to a lot of the negative attention that "Generation X" was getting at the time, and especially adolescents in the goth movement. He was blamed for everything from self mutilation to suicide - and this wasn't just by the conservative elements in the media, but the actual mainstream media, as well. Of course, all of this couldn't do anything but help his album sales. Since then Marilyn Manson has become much more accepted, and has gone on to release several more albums. "The Pale Emperor" is Marilyn Manson's ninth studio album and is being released on Manson's own Hell, Etc. label. There are 10 tracks on the standard album and 13 on the deluxe version. The deluxe version clocks in at a little over 65 minutes. The first singles released from the album were "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" and "Deep Six," though the track "Cupid Carries a Gun" has also been used in the opening credits for the television show "Salem" since April, and the track "Killing Strangers" was part of the soundtrack of the movie, "John Wick," which released in October. Shooter Jennings guests on the album and provides additional guitar. Gil Sharone of Stolen Babies will be replacing Jason Sutter on drums.

The album opens with the track "Killing Strangers," which has a slow blues-like beat, but with Manson's own twist, including some groovy synth/fuzz bass and weird vocal vibrato. The chorus repeats the line "we're killing strangers so we don't kill the ones that we love," which oddly enough seems to be a powerful line for a chorus. "Deep Six" is the next track and the second single from the album, and has a much more straightforward rock vibe going on with it. "Deep Six" is actually written by Tyler Bates, who is mostly known for his work with film soundtracks. "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" is the lead single from the album, and is another track written by Tyler Bates. "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge" utilizes vocal humming for a fairly large portion of the tracks vocals, but it definitely works and has an interesting vibe. "The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles" is another track on the album were you can feel the blues influence a little bit. "Warship My Wreck" works up to a pretty intense track and is probably the most reminiscent track of Manson's early work. "Slave Only Dreams to Be King" is another track that has that blues feel to it, but has a lot more kick to it. "The Devil Beneath My Feet" is a fuzz-soaked proto blues type of thing, where it could be mistaken for Black Keys in the first 30 seconds, but Manson makes it his own pretty quick when the vocals come in. "Birds of Hell Awaiting" opens with some weird wah-like or talkbox guitar effects and a wailing scream, which is coupled with a shuffle drumbeat and reverb-laden vocals. The whole track is kind of like a psychedelic nightmare. "Cupid Carries a Gun" is the first track where Gil Sharone reminds me of Stolen Babies on the album, but just barely - and maybe even more because of the other instrumentation on the album than his drumming. The song is another that sounds more like Manson's earlier work, as well. "Odds of Even" opens up with a sampled audio track and then some very bluesy instrumentation, where you expect Billie Holiday to start singing to you from the grave. This is probably the only track that has more than just a subtle blues vibe, but is almost directly a blues track - it just gets a little more distorted than the blues. The next three tracks are only on the deluxe version of the album and they are acoustic - they are pretty good to me, and worth buying the deluxe edition, but a lot of people aren't listening to Manson for acoustic, so make up your own mind. // 7

Lyrics: Marilyn Manson isn't the best or most versatile vocalist, but he's an expert at creating an atmosphere with his vocals. He uses vibrato, whispering, screaming, and borderline atonality in his vocals, and he uses it all to good effect. As a sample of lyrics from the single, "Deep Six" we have: "You want to know what Zeus said to Narcissus/ You'd better watch yourself/ You'd better watch yourself/ yeah/ It's like a stranger had a key, came inside of my mind/ And moved all my things around/ He didn't know snakes can't eat a brain/ Can't try to break the psyche down/ yeah/ It's in my half-frozen wax/ And your artillery lead/ Do you like our plan? / Do you like our plan? / Deep six, six, six feet deep." A lot of the lyrics get a little repetitive on the album, but it seems to work as a listening experience until you really start analyzing it. // 7

Overall Impression: I was a fan back in the day, and I kind of lost interest with Manson over time, but "The Pale Emperor" is a step in the right direction. I can't even name a favorite track - I enjoyed the album as a whole. For those who want to just sample a few tracks before purchasing the album, I would suggest "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge," "Cupid Carries a Gun" and "Birds of Hell Awaiting." // 7

- Brandon East (c) 2015

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overall: 8
The Pale Emperor Reviewed by: Kirkiscool, on january 13, 2015
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: Marilyn Manson's album number 9 and in the same time his second album without the Nine Inch Nails' frontman-mastermind Trent Reznor's production. By the way it's Manson's second album released on his own label Hell, etc. after his 2012 work "Born Villain." But from this, for me rather undefined, sound he moved really far away. It mostly sounds like blues rock from the '80s which he never sounded like before. The second point is the length of the songs: the majority of them is 5+ minutes long and some are even 6 minutes long! And this is not because this record is repetitive. It's exactly the opposite: most of the songs contain a guitar solo which isn't usual for a typical Manson album (except songs written by Daisy Berkowitz for "Portrait of an American Family" from 1994 or 13 years later Tim Skold's shredding skills on "Eat Me, Drink Me"). From the other side there are a lot of breaks built in. For an example there are songs like "The Reflecting God" from "Antichrist Superstar" or "Wrapped in Plastic" from his 1994 debut which contain some breaks which is very odd from the classic "intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus" structure.

The instruments are minimalistic as always mostly 2 or in very few cases 3 different guitar tracks, bass and drums and sometimes a keyboard to overdub the sound. The vocals are very big surprise because when you listen to his last albums you will notice that he sounds really weak and tired. This album doesn't like a "rebirth" of his voice but his has discovered it from a new side. Mostly using clear vocals to make it fit to the instrumental part and the atmosphere he makes something different in comparison to his older records where he used to sing with scream vocals or sometimes even to rap like "Lunchbox" or "Cake and Sodomy." // 9

Lyrics: As always the lyrics were the most important part of Manson's works which gives him his individuality and his expression also on stage. As the most people who listen to his music know the themes of his lyrics this album will be a little bit strange for you. No anti-religious paroles, no drugs (ok there are some but not that much as before), no identity crisis and also the masturbating grandpa Jack, the dead monkey and Manson's lunchbox collection were left back in Fort Lauderdale. You also won't see Manson's loving side like "Heart-Shaped Glasses," "Coma White" or "Into the Fire." On this record the lyrics sound very dominant and powerful without trying to shock anyone but to build the emperor-like atmosphere which he wangles perfectly. But the lyrics don't have a wide spectrum on this album and there are a lot of repetitions so I think that there is something missing but still better than average. // 7

Overall Impression: This record sounds as a mixture of 1998 released "Mechanical Animals" and "Eat Me, Drink Me" from 2007. All the three records have this blues feeling and a lot of guitar work comaped to other albums. But the thing that reminds me the most on "Eat Me, Drink Me" is the dirty but not aggressive stoner rock style which makes the whole thing more special. But when you compare this with other artists you can think first of all about Metallica's "Load" or "ReLoad" but in the good sence-the melodies and the more steady riffs without the Metallica-usual pressure like "Master of Puppets" or "Creeping Death." There you can find more things like "The Memory Remains," "King Nothing" or "2x4." The stoner rock touch can be compared with Arctic Monkeys' "Suck It and See" dessert-style album with this massive reverb effect and a great live feeling but with a big minus. In a typical Manson song like "Tourniquet," "Minute of Decay" (best example for it :D), "Sweet Tooth" or his probably most famous Eurythmics cover classic "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" has a very big dynamical difference between song part, like a silent verse then rising tension and then an aggressive, screaming chorus. This album is very even but it isn't just a hazard it just belongs to the stoner rock style you just have to adjust to it - he wanted to try out something new.

Good songs:
"Deep Six," "Mephistopheles of Los Angeles," "Odds and Even," "Third Day of a Seven Day Binge," "Cupid Carries a Gun," "Killing Strangers."

Average songs:
"Birds of Hell Awaiting," "The Devil Beneath My Feet."

Bad/forgettable songs:
"Slave Only Dreams to be King," "Warship My Wreck" (very bad song, I just don't get it how it could be placed on this album).

This album is more than average, not as good as "Antichrist" or "Portrait" but nobody would wait for this level. Anyway, it was way better than his last two albums which were relatively uninspired and weak. // 8

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