For the most part, nostalgia is always welcome, or at least appreciated. Although, there has to come a point where an artist’s relevancy either remains in 2017 or we acknowledge that their role has been fulfilled. “Shock rock” artist Marilyn Manson could arguably be considered one of these nostalgic acts, as his career was mainly centered in the mid-to-late ’90s and 2000s with songs like “The Beautiful People,” “mOBSCENE” and “Disposable Teens.”
For Manson — who creates controversy with every album release, live performance and public appearance — satanic and sexual imagery have always been a part of his image. Now, Manson is approaching his 50s and it is questionable about what exactly is considered “shocking” as society becomes more desensitized to what was once considered taboo.
He is no longer an anomaly, either. Artists like Korn and Slipknot have cited Manson as an inspiration for shock value. His 10th album, “Heaven Upside Down,” was released earlier this month. This venture pictures Manson as an artist who has become aware of his role in the mainstream, but still manages to deliver a rocking and intense album that older fans can appreciate.
The album begins chaotically, as the first 15 seconds of the opening track “Revelation #12” is laden with distorted guitars, an ominous siren and what sounds like a newscast, no doubt intending to implement social and religious commentary.
The first single “WE KNOW WHERE YOU F***ING LIVE” is about as menacing as the song title suggests. The bridge has Manson asking “What’s a nice place like this doing ‘round people like us?” Before the chorus, he screams “We know where you f***ing live, we’ll burn it down, they won’t even recognize your corpse.”
The following song, “SAY10,” similarly involves the verses beginning quietly and erupting into full-fledged screaming of “You say God and I say SAY10.” Who knew the “Antichrist Superstar” appreciated puns? The album takes a break from the pulsing industrial metal with “KILL4ME,” as the blues-esque guitar riffs carry throughout the track while Manson asks a loved one to commit murder to prove their love and devotion to him.
As the past 20 years have shown, controversy is expected to surround this album. Manson’s continuous presence in the media describes his intent as an artist. He acknowledges the controversy involved in his performance, and even embraces the criticism and accusations.
Nevertheless, the release of “Heaven Upside Down” brings about what made Marilyn Manson a household name in the rock music scene. Each of the 10 songs has its own character and sound, proving how versatile of an artist he truly is.
NOTE: Manson had to cancel the album’s promotional tour due to an injury suffered onstage during a New York concert on Sept. 30; the dates have been rescheduled for next year.