Monday, 16 October 2017

Marilyn Manson "Heaven Upside Down" (2017)

There's little bad to say about Marilyn Manson's tenth record. I could get critical and say it gets off to a moderate start but as the wheels get spinning, they don't slow down! Best known for his culture shock records Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals, Manson has seen a steady decline in recent years that got turned around with The Pale Emperor, a change of pace, an introspective artistic piece that turned his observational musing inwards. I was sorely disappointed at first, "Heaven Upside Down" was not continuing in that direction but with each passing listen it grew on me substantially. He may be approaching his 50s but the fire for his breed of intelligent rebellion still burns bright in this fellow.

The most obvious comparison for this change of pace is the Antichrist Superstar era. The vibes, instrumental aesthetics and attitude is similar in many spots with a helping dose of anger and aggression. His poetry is witty, sharp as a blade with cutting lines like the opening "fuck or fight" on "Jesus Crisis". I could make lists but this is Manson, his reputation needs no examples, hes on his best game here with cracking lyrics that turn in on themselves as the words unfold. His ability to write and deliver hooks elevates the instrumentals as you'd expect them to do but always catches you off guard.

Instrumentally things start off aggressive with crunching guitars leading the songs. Dirty, Industrial thumping riffs on steady repeat. "Tattooed In Reverse" experiments with gritty, buzzing baselines and sharp, often shrill oscillating synths for a rattle house of dystopian blues. "Saturnalia" Is the turning point, the music becomes expansive with echoes of The Pale Emperor distance the aggression for spaces to breath in as the moods start to flow. Its as the album winds down from its aggressive start that I find myself captivated, Manson's chemistry with his band mates seems to electrify as his performance resonates with lyrics carrying the burden of dramatic emotions.

This albums flow is a strength played to. It starts with a bang to lure you in and steadily evolves into a much deeper record. The density of the instrumentals, aided by rich electronics, plays to the versatility Industrial music can provide as the songs collectively share a space with quite a variety of textures and flavor to throw your way. It can shred distortion guitars and find its way to bustling acoustics too without loosing the heretic energy. Everything comes together on this record, the group are on fire and give us the all killer no filler treatment. I will leave this post with a favorite lyric I can't get out my head. "And I tried to look inside you, but ended up, looking through you, now you try to tell me, your not a ghost!".

Favorite Tracks: Say10, Saturnalia, Jesus Crisis, Heaven Upsidedown, Threats Of Romance
Rating: 7/10


  1. As someone who has been a fan of Manson for ages I can say he sure knows how to put on a show. His lyrics, his music, everything about him is just out there but he just keeps on outdoing himself. I was absolutely floored when I heard he got hurt but glad to hear he is ok. Someone who has been in the industry for so long it's hard to believe he's still got it. There are just some musicians who are consistent and some who get better/worse.
    As an aside I love reading everything you write on here. The music you introduce me to that I may not have heard of, the wording you use, the effort you clearly put in, you are passionate and it shows. I may not always comment on here but know that I always try my best to read and listen to everything you post about on here because you certainly know what you are talking about, sir. Thank you for sharing your opinion and knowledge of great music even if for any reason you don't always think it's appreciated.

    1. Thank you, appreciate the kind words i do :-)

  2. i gotta say i was fairly dispointed with this album, for being pushed backed 8 months making it (probably) the most anticipated metal album of 2017 it wasn't anything spectacular, Marilyn Manson being in the industry since near the beginning and creating the "shock" sub-genre you'd expect a formula for a hit song but he clearly has a formula and it all is extremely mediocre
    i applaud him for still experimenting with new sounds but nothing on the album is lyrically sound. it feels reminiscent of danger zone by kenny logins and the scotts you know the phrase danger zone is said nearly once per line; with the exception of tattooed in reverse
    of course everything is in the eyes of the beholder but i feel like he really dropped the ball on this one

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