wed 21/10/2020

CD: Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down

CD: Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down

Industrial metallers' 10th album may be hammy but it delivers requisite kicks

Marilyn Manson, the man and the band, have maintained impressive global success for over two decades. Their albums – this is the band’s 10th - continue to shift by the bucket-load, and they can still sell out a worldwide stadium tour. Partly, their appeal is tribal. In the age of the beige hoodie and jeans, they don’t kowtow but continue to offer a studded, debauched black-splatter of Hollywoodised punk-goth kitsch. In recent years they’ve also undergone something of a musical renaissance. This continues on Heaven Upside Down.

As with 2015’s The Pale Emperor, film composer Tyler Bates is co-producer. Bates’s sense of drama and the epic, honed on Zack Snyder’s films and the Guardians of the Galaxy series, fits well with Marilyn Manson’s OTT sensibilities. This time round, though, after the bluesy theatre of their previous album, the band return to the attack of earlier works, but with the wannabe-Nine Inch Nails traits polished into something slicker and larger.

It doesn’t always work but there’s plenty to enjoy for both fans and newbies. “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” has a doom-funk pulse that propels its hammy punk fury along, “Saturnalia” contains guitar work that truly sneers, as well as a cracking chorus, and the closing slow-stomper “Threats of Romance” sounds like something The Sweet might have written for a musical, which turns out to be no bad thing.

The band’s eponymous singer-lyricist still has a way with words, ever-ready to kick up a stink, notably with the catchy “KILL4ME” and its chorus “Would you kill, kill, kill for me?”. However satirically this is intended, it’s bound to cause raised eyebrows, appearing so soon after the Las Vegas massacre. Manson has, after all, been blamed by tabloid fools for gun atrocities before. More entertaining are the opening lines of “JE$U$ CRI$IS” where he claims he writes songs to fuck and fight to, then offers the listener out for both.

Entertaining is the word. Marilyn Manson still deliver on the promise of their look and attitude. Heaven Upside Down is not quite in the league of its surprise swamp-rockin’ predecessor, but the best of it belts out of the traps with a pop-industrial panache that’s unarguable.

Overleaf: Watch the video for Marilyn Manson "WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE"

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