Its time for our first record of 2015! And I've been listening to it since 2014, when it leaked onto the Internet. Its still not released, but available for streaming, and I've held of from talking about it, but soon I will own this fine record that may just be Manson's finest hour. "The Pale Emperor" on first listen was a great listen that was rather unexpected considering the impression I gathered that Manson had "fallen off" since his classic trinity of records. Having thoroughly enjoyed them recently, this record didn't feel to far from where "Holywood" left off, but had an obvious progression and maturity to it. Gone are the bold and contentious statements that shock some and excite others. On this record Manson turns inwards for inspiration, and the pains and hardships of being him, it is reflective of the overall mood of the album with only "Deep Six" hitting that harder Rock/Metal vibe Manson does with a urgent sense of style on previous records.
It's a calmer record thats theatrical, intelligent, with a subtle grandiose to it. The band instrumentally focus less on hooks, and craft matured songs with no cheap thrills, yielding a rockier vibe that sees the Industrial element of their sound quiet influence of past. Manson is in his artistic vision as always, but his chemistry with the group is spot on, the track "Birds Of Hell Awaiting" for example, Manson's performance is free and audacious, it carries the dreary, mechanical instrumental along and together they climax the song with a boisterous flamboyancy. Its a high point in a charactered group of songs that are crafted through a subtle arrangement of instrumentation that is varied and lead by some fantastic guitar work that appreciates where and when to bring the energy, and where to decorate the instrumentals with calmer energies. The record's calmer nature was reinforced by the dismissal of a drum machine and the inclusion of Sharone, formally of Dillinger Escape Plan. In the moment they could provide the classic Manson fist pounding rhythm to get your noggin bobbin, as well as structuring the theatrical nature of these tracks.
Manson as always is a huge part of these record, his presence here was commanding as ever, and even when showing his weaknesses he stays in the music and turns his anguish into an exhilarating performance. Its a sign of maturity that his artistic vision can change and retain the best of his performance. As touched on a couple of times, this album is openly personal and introspective, more so than the observational and instigating nature to poke at establishments and ideals in controversial fashion. Even with a shift in focus Manson delivers those classic lines that stick in the mind, twirling thoughts of intrigue. "At least I know, wherever I go, I got the devil beneath my feet" and "Were killing strangers so we don't kill the ones that we love". I've listened to this record countless times, its stuck in my mind and I have enjoyed it through and through. I feel like its a record that has a lot to offer, and will continue to do so. Its theatrical presentation, mature delivery, and depth of theme are true strengths that challenge this as their best artistic output to date.
Favorite Tracks : Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge, The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles, Slave Only Dreams To Be King, Birds Of Hell Awaiting