De zelfverklaarde "Antichrist Superstar" Marilyn Manson (geboren als Brian Hugh Warner) was een van de meest beruchte en controversiële entertainers van de jaren 90. Gevierd door supporters als een kruisvaarder voor vrijheid van meningsuiting en door de belasteraars als weinig meer dan een arme-mans versie van Alice Cooper, was Manson de laatste in een lange lijn van shock-rockers, die de top van de hitlijsten bereikte op een platform van seks, drugs en Satanisme. Een spookachtige cover van het nummer van the Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" hielp Manson bij zijn doorbraak in 1995 in de algemene bekendheid, en het daaropvolgende Antichrist Superstar album versterkte zijn controversiële populariteit.
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Rock - Verschenen op 11 september 2020 | Loma Vista Recordings
It's been nearly two decades since Marilyn Manson was the transgressive cultural figure he built his brand on. The 51-year-old rocker hasn't been shocking since MTV ruled the airwaves, and his stubborn reluctance to accept his waning position as America's metallic scapegoat led to some clunkers in the early 2010s. However, on his 11th album We Are Chaos, Manson sounds liberated from the notion that his music must offend or challenge his listener to be worthwhile. On the contrary, it sees Manson spending more time looking inward, reflecting on his own identity, and even engaging in self-criticism. Initially billed as his country album once outlaw icon Shooter Jennings was brought on to co-write and co-produce the 10-song affair (Manson had been dabbling with roots music since 2015's blues-leaning The Pale Emperor and also dropped a terrific cover of the Johnny Cash staple "God's Gonna Cut You Down" in 2019), in execution, We Are Chaos is only country in the sense that there are a few twangy lead guitar licks and a fiddle in the credits. Musically, the record is a hodge-podge of Manson's last decade of exploring slower, more musically rich, and less industrialized sounds. Most of the songs are power ballads that are melodic by his standards, and the ones that do kick up the dirt ("Red Black and Blue", "Perfume") are more hard rock than metal. Casual Manson listeners looking for the grit of his earlier work might be better off revisiting the classics, but loyal fans will be intrigued by his, dare I say wise, lyrical pennings. On "Keep My Head Together," he offers the advice, "Don't try to change for someone else, you'll just end up changing yourself," an eyebrow-raising suggestion to hear from someone who's been in the business of shaping teenage identities for nearly 30 years. On "Solve Coagula" he revokes his public identity and exposes his own perceived flaws: "I'm not special, I'm just broken/ And I don't want to be fixed." And lastly, on closer "Broken Needle," the best and most passionately delivered power ballad on the record, Manson sings with pained regret: "I am a needle/ Dig in your grooves / Scratching you up then I'll put you away." It's arguably the closest Manson has gotten to truly excavating the man behind the moniker, and it's moments like those that indicate that even without the anti-Christ pageantry, the Superstar himself still has compelling tales to tell. © Eli Enis/Qobuz
Rock - Verschenen op 6 oktober 2017 | Concord Loma Vista
Who is still afraid of the big bad wolf Manson? Not many people, it seems, but you have to admit that, since his jaw-dropping début almost twenty years ago, and his avalanche of controversies, lots of things have changed. Music like his, as well as that of other extreme groups or artists, has lost its power to terrify the masses. Over the course of 25 years, the man has tried almost everything, following the example of his good friend Trent Reznor, another stage villain from the old days. He has tried to be more consensual here and more avant-garde there, but he seems to have paid a high price for his years of provocations. There are only a few stinkers in his imposing discography, but it is a fact that he tends to get less of a respectful hearing than the majority of musicians of the same genre, with Reznor out in the lead. Nonetheless, The Pale Emperor (2015) returned him to the top of the heap, and this tenth album drives in the nail even further (into the cross?). Although it's a difficult balance to strike, the major pitfall is returning to a "futuristic music from the past", without giving the impression of warming up a dish that's long past its sell-by date. It is clear that the self-proclaimed God of Fuck wants, above all, to recall, in the most shrill and vindictive way he can, the real revolution that he carried out with Portrait Of An American Family and Antichrist Superstar. About half of Heaven Upside Down, with JE$U$ CRI$I$ or We Know Where You Fucking Live, which are of the same calibre as other Manson classics, could just as well have featured on his first productions. As for the rest, he returns, almost humbly, to his first, more rock-influenced musical instincts (Tattooed In Reverse, Blood Honey, Threats Of Romance) or carries out some – too-rare – experiments (Saturnalia, SAY10). But overall, and more even than its predecessor, Heaven Upside Down is an album by a more human Manson who is in control. Over the past ten years, that has not always seemed to be the case. We could even add "more balanced", although he might well take that as an insult. His accomplice Tyler Bates certainly has a big hand in this successful update: the composer-guitarist has brought his solid experience with audiovisual work (we owe to him the soundtracks on a whole host of series, video games or films, including Killer Joe, Punisher, Guardians Of The Galaxy, John Wick, Californication, Salem…). Manson seems to be in good hands, and long may this continue. © JPS/Qobuz
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