The master of mischief himself, MARILYN MANSON is back again (whether you like it or not) with another album that most Metalheads are going to overlook. I think this is somewhat of a sad statement as Mr. MANSON tends to pull quite a bit of bad rap by means that 90% of his listeners are too immature to actually understand what his music is while he actually has the ability to write a pretty solid album with lots of great thought provoking ideologies. Luckily, most of the good aspects of MARILYN MANSON are back for “The High End Of Low”.
To say that I wasn’t a fan of his previous album “Eat Me, Drink Me” was an understatement. When I want a MANSON album, I want one with edgy political messages, societal criticisms, and an overall theatrical performance that borders on musical theatre. The last album was full of whiney anti-love ballads that didn’t come close to fulfilling my needs from a MANSON record. As I said above though, “The High End Of Low” brings back that MM that I had come to love/hate and it’s this aspect that saves him from fading into the background once again.
He still retains a lot of his personal issues on this album though, as with the opening ‘love’ song “Devour” shows. It has a slow build and almost feels more like a poem with a beat, but unlike his last album, the more personal tracks (almost all of which borderline ballads again like “Running To The Edge Of The World”) still retain that edge that makes MANSON a romp to listen too. Who describes love as devouring a bottle of big, big pills? MANSON does that’s who.
The truth behind this return has to have some credit throw to Twiggy’s direction. This is the first time that MANSON and Twiggy have written together since “Holy Wood” about 9 years ago and one can attribute some of this success in writing to that. Their chemistry is pretty sick and some of the variety of songs and music they come up with is impressive. They can pen a sing-a-long live staple like “Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon” or even an old school Country influenced track like “Four Rusted Horses” and make it all into a cohesive record without breaking a sweat.
The album does tend to drag at times and is my main complaint throughout the release. The heavy bass beats, the industrialized synths, MANSON’s crooning and shriek, and those insanely catchy moments tend to come in packs and when they aren’t there – they are sorely missed. Some of the slower tracks just pull a bit long on the attention span instead of drawing the listener out. It’s a bit of a downer but has been an issue I have had with MANSON music since the beginning.
MARILYN MANSON fans can rejoice that the mayhem man is back in the groove of things on “The High End Of Low”. It’s a massive step forward (to an older sound?) for him and his band and it was a long time coming. If you didn’t like MANSON before then you will continue to hate him, but for those who listen…it’s a nice return.
Songs to check out: “Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon”, “Four Rusted Horses”, “Wight Spider”.
(Online June 21, 2009)