Brooding and Bleak
It feels bizarre that when you are talking about an artist of the kind of calibre of Marilyn Manson that there is this enormous sense of dread and concern whenever new music is announced. Since The Golden Age Of Grotesque in 2003, everything that has been released has largely been absolutely forgettable - with the small portions people do remember only ever referred to in a negative light. The tide started to turn in 2015 with the release of The Pale Emperor - Marilyn Manson seemed to have both cleaned up his lifestyle somewhat and gained a renewed level of focus. So if The Pale Emperor served as a stepping stone then Heaven Upside Down is the sound of a particularly large Gothic boot thundering back on land for an artist who has been all at sea for so long.
Now we're not getting ahead of ourselves here, this doesn't quite touch the classics released throughout the 1990s, but this is a very good Marilyn Manson album. The focus regained during the recording process for The Pale Emperor has continued here with a real concious effort made to try and recapture some of the vibes which carried through a lot of the older material. You take the tracks SAY10 (the originally planned title of the new record) and KILL4ME, these see Manson garnering that dark, slutty, vibe that means these wouldn't feel that out of place during the Mechanical Animals era. Blood Honey is another very strong track which has Manson delivering a performance so beautifully brooding and bleak you can't help but give a small clenched fist of joy that he's back to smashing out tracks of this quality (obviously despite it's sombre content).
The heaviness, and all round bleakness, across the album is enhanced by Manson's drive towards bringing back greater detail on the industrial side - the subtle nature of boosting a track by utilising different methods and sounds is frankly something he's a master at and it's done effectively here.
The main thing really then with this album is the fact that the positives very much outweigh the negatives, something you couldn't really say for the collection of records released in the period since The Golden Age Of Grotesque. There are almost certainly a handful of tracks on here you'll completely forget, even after numerous listens, but the record itself has got enough to it to pull it up there to stride at least a pace or two behind the classics.