Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down (Album Review)

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
Released: October 6th, 2017

Lineup

Marilyn Manson – Vocals
Tyler Bates – Guitars, Keyboards, Sampling, Production
Gil Sharone – Drums

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Back in the late 1960’s when the hippies and singer/songwriters had well and truly taken over music, a little band from Phoenix, Arizona named Alice Cooper took America by storm, scaring the bejesus out of everyone with songs and a show that were dark, captivating but most of all entertaining. Their elaborate stage show started what was known as ‘Shock Rock’.

It seemed that every time music got a little safe, something could always come along and shake the world up out of complacency, slumber, whatever. What keeps Alice Cooper alive is the fact that he and the band had awesome songs that are part of the culture. And these songs would’ve had an impact on a young and impressionable young boy from Florida named Brian Warner.

History has now shown that Brian Warner became Marilyn Manson and by the late 90’s arrived fully formed as the next thing in the most dangerous rock star in the world. When Antichrist Superstar came out in 1997, it was the kick in the teeth that music, and most specifically heavy metal needed.

 

He was aggressive, he was dangerous, he associated himself with shocking imagery (I mean the name combining an iconic model with an iconic serial killer), but mostly the music was brutal and honest. MM tapped into something about America and the western world: an obsession with guns, violence, religion and pornography. In Manson’s world all this co-existed and helped to inform his art. He had the power to shock and became the most feared rock star in the world, a mantle he exploited to the hilt until the Columbine Massacre where the finger of blame was pointed squarely at him and his influence on the youth.

 

But like the dog that was once vicious, age wearies them, they lose their bite and their anger. For a while Manson looked like he was going through the motions as recent concert appearances had shown, especially his performance at Soundwave a couple of years back. But recently it seems that the ‘God of Fuck’ has got his mojo back. This I attribute to working with his new collaborator, film composer Tyler Bates (Guardians Of The Galaxy 1 and 2, John Wick). Manson has always worked well with collaborators such as Trent Reznor, Twiggy Ramirez, Tim Skold, John 5, however he always seems to break up with them acrimoniously. 2015’s The Pale Emperor was a return to form, stripping the music back and keeping Manson and his obsessions front and centre.

Heaven Upside Down brings all things Marilyn Manson back; the violence, the religion, the sex, the darkness. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, he produces this video for ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE’

 

Straight Outta Mikael Haneke’s film Funny Games (If you’ve never seen it, do it. You will never forget it. But see the German version, not the American remake). This video is Manson in full effect, holding up the mirror to America’s very dark heart. And in light of recent events in that country, it’s quite effective. And the videos he has posted on his Instagram account only add to the packaging of this album.

Marilyn Manson has always had a love of early ‘80’s synth-pop, glam- rock, Bowie, Prince, metal and punk, the guy knows how to write a catchy song, regardless of subject matter and Heaven Upside Down is full of these songs. The opener, ‘Revelation #12′ set the album up for what is to come beautifully; he really knows how to construct an album. ‘JE$U$ CRI$I$‘ has the wonderful sing-a-long chorus of “I write songs to fight and to fuck to/ if you want to fight/ I will fight you/ if you want to fuck/I will fuck you”. ‘SAY 10′, ‘Saturnalia‘ and ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE‘ are all the type of songs that he does so well, perverse and yet incredibly catchy. It is the closer, ‘Threats Of Romance‘ which sounds like a bastardised version of T-Rex that I particularly loved, especially its final refrains of “I like you damaged”, it’s as if no matter what, Marilyn Manson loves the world he lives in.

America is his muse, in all its bloody and awful glory. It has provided him with the opportunity to pursue his art to the fullest, and ultimately that’s what Marilyn Manson is, an artist. He will probably never make an album as great as Antichrist Superstar, however his catalogue can be seen as one artistic statement from a man who is as honest and open as he is enigmatic.

I like this album a lot.

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Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down tracklisting

Revelation #12
Tattooed In Reverse
WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE
SAY10
KILL4ME
Saturnalia
JE$U$ CRI$I$
Blood Honey
Heaven Upside Down
Threats of Romance

Rating: 7/10
Heaven Upside Down is Out Now via Caroline Australia. Buy a copy here
Review by Dan Brixey (@DanielJBrixey)

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