True Return To Form

Marilyn Manson is an enigma in heavy music. An enigma who it is more than fair to say fell from his pedestal for a long time. It has been eight years since the God Of Fuck released The Golden Age Of Grotesque, eight years consisting of low quality music and embarrassing live performances. His rise again seemed impossible - he was getting too old was a concern often thrown around. What so many younger fans will find hard to appreciate is the fact that at one time Marilyn Manson sat at the absolute top of all things in heavy music. There was no one more controversial, no one more terrifying. Even today Antichrist Superstar and Holywood influence bands left and right, so what of the new record? Well, it has actually happened - he is back and it's actually really good.

The Pale Emperor opens with the crunching, mysterious and dark Killing Strangers and immediately you'll find yourself thinking that this is a track that would not sound out of place on his earlier classics. He sounds at the very top of his game, especially in comparison to his most recent records, and has packed in the heavy industrial elements which he became the master of for so long. Earlier Manson albums always delivered a groove as well which is present here in abundance. One of the tracks released prior, Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge, shows this weird level of Industrial Groove alongside the brilliant Slave Only Dreams To Be A King. The importance with all of these tracks is the fact that Marilyn Manson has stripped it down, gone back to what he knows best and it has paid off. The Devil Beneath My Feet in particular sounds like an attack on anyone doubting his ability as he repeatedly spits "Don't need a motherfucker looking down on me". He no longer sounds like an artist desperately searching for his place in an industry he used to rule - instead he has gone back to writing some great tracks which will elevate both the nostalgic feel for him and breathe new life into the career of Marilyn Manson.

If you're going to put The Pale Emperor on and expect it to be better or as good as his early material then you're approaching this the wrong way. Those were albums of their time, as is this one. Marilyn Manson has come through a tough period which swirled addiction issues, lacklustre music and poor live shows into one big cocktail, and emerged out of it throwing The Pale Emperor hard in our faces. And it feels good.