MARILYN MANSON. Heaven Upside Down.
A review by Gerswin Reynolds
Marilyn Manson was a dominant force in pop culture in the 1990s. 2003’s Golden Age of Grotesque was meant to be Marilyn Manson’s finale studio album. Looking back, any artist would have been proud to hang their hats on such a stunning career. Antichrist Superstar cemented Manson as America’s villain, Mechanical Animals launched the band to the stratosphere, and Holy Wood successfully combatted the stigma of Columbine.
Here in 2017, Manson is about to release his 10th studio album, Heaven Upside Down. It’s quite an accomplishment in itself to make it to that magical number; few bands do, especially after a controversy like Columbine. This album was an important one. Coming off a critically acclaimed album like The Pale Emperor, dealing with the death of his father, and hoping to outdo his previous works, Manson had a high bar to surpass. So what is the verdict?
It’s great. Actually it’s better than great—it’s a classic. Marilyn Manson, the band, has released some stellar albums and have written some incredibly impactful pop songs. While it is hard to tell if any of these songs will carry the cultural credibility of songs like The Fight Song, Dope Show, or Beautiful People, Each one of these songs are ingeniously crafted to remember the past, but bring something new.
The album opener, Revelation 12 is a raw track that is reminiscent of Irresponsible Hate Anthem. The track debuted live earlier this year, and it was obvious to see and hear that Manson had a fire that was missing in previous records. It’s perhaps the rawest song on the album, Manson opting to sing this with a single take, a feat that will impress fans old and new.
Tattooed in Reverse sees the return of the bluesy nature and crazy guitar work of The Pale Emperor. Tyler Bates’ guitar skills shine on the bridge after the chorus, and Manson’s cocky attitude comes through as a perfect compliment. This is easily the catchiest song musically, and it keeps up the energy established by the opener.
We Know Where You Fucking Live is a great choice for the first single. The song seamlessly blends the Pale Emperor style music with Antichrist Superstar industrial flair. The middle section of the song carries the spirit of Trent Reznor and will surely make him proud.
The album’s 4th song, Say10 is every bit as great as one could expect. Manson channels Trap music on the opening beat that explodes into a crescendo of hard rock glory. This is probably the most anthemic track on the album. It’s easy to envision crowds chanting, “You say God/I say Say10!” at the top of their lungs.
Manson explores gothic dance music with Kill4Me and Saturnalia. The grooves for each song are infectious, with the latter being the longest track on the album. It also references Bauhaus’ Bella Lugosi’s Dead, which fits perfectly with the vibe of the album.
The seventh track, Je$u$ Cri$i$ juxtaposes new Manson tropes with the fury of Antichrist. The track explodes on the bridge into gang-vocal screamed section that hits hard.
Blood Honey is perhaps the best track on the album. A slow and brooding track, it has more in common with Mechanical Animals than many of the other tracks here. It’s the emotional high point of the record that offers a change in pace but doesn’t disappoint.
Heaven Upside Down, is a curious track. For being the title song, it doesn’t hold the weight and power one would expect. In truth, Say10 is much more fitting to be the title track, but somehow Manson found emotional weight in the song. If there is a weak track on this album, this is it. Still it has a great groove and catchy hook.
The final song is Threats of Romance, which is a bit of a left turn. Manson described this as the perfect end song to a movie and that is true. The piano melody here is a treat for the ear. Fans of High End of Low might like this track as it dips back into old themes of Romance, but it has a bit more of a glam edge. Manson ends the album with a powerful proclamation, “I Love You Damaged!”
After 10 songs, one thing is clear: Manson has written the strongest album he’s written in years. On the surface, one might think that Tyler Bates singlehandedly revived Manson’s career. While he is largely responsible for the breath of fresh air in the music, it is surprising to know that Twiggy is absent here. His presence on the album is missed greatly. Still, this album feels like a strong statement, Manson’s putting an end to an era of great music and looking forward to another.
Whatever he chooses to do next, fans will be waiting in anticipation.
Heaven Upside Down is set to arrive online and in stores wherever music is sold on October 6th.
Best Tracks: Blood Honey, Say10, Tattooed in Reverse.
Heaven Upside Down track list:
1. Revelation 12
2. Tattooed In Reverse
3. We Know Where You Fucking Live
7. Je$u$ Cri$i$
8. Blood Honey
9. Heaven Upside Down
10. Threats of Romance
Listen to Heaven Upside Down album:
[amazon_link asins=’B075G2BYC4, B0758MS7J3, B075G13YHC’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’e0517-21′ marketplace=’IT’ link_id=’4bbf9f07-acfa-11e7-88b1-d3f9bbf60e65′]
I am proud to host a review on Heaven Upside Down album by Marilyn Manson by Senior Editor and musician Gerswin Reynolds. To find out more about Gerswin, sneak peek into his music background and bio at:
For all reviews and articles available on SICK AND SOUND for Marilyn Manson, please check out:
For all reviews and articles available on SICK AND SOUND for albums, please check out: