The Pale Emperor is the ninth studio album from American rock band Marilyn Manson. It will be released on the 20th January, 2015 via Manson’s own label Hell, etc. with distribution handled by Cooking Vinyl. The Pale Emperor was released on CD, 2xLP and digital download with various deluxe versions offering extra tracks namely bonus and acoustic tracks. The singles from the album (so far) are “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” and “Deep Six”.
I was left somewhat unimpressed by the latest Manson album, 2012’s Born Villain . Since Eat Me, Drink Me (2007) Manson has been sliding towards this path of being more pop-friendly as opposed to his earlier days of shock and horror. In addition, he’s been getting softer in his approach to writing music, and I felt personally that Born Villain was a hit-and-miss album. I loved some tracks, didn’t like some others, and felt that the album was too disjointed with intros to (almost) all of the songs.
Two and a bit years later and Manson releases his first official single from his upcoming album The Pale Emperor - “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge”, which was soon followed up with “Deep Six”. The former offers a nice in-the-pocket groove with some funky bass over the top, whilst the latter promises a slice of heaviness with the guitars being the highlight of the song (for me). The accompanying music video to “Deep Six” is just plain bizarre, but for Manson’s standards it is the norm.
I was really looking forward to the record after Born Villain left me a little deflated. The first two singles really set the album up well for me, and I really liked that they were more ‘groovy’ than anything. The whole record is a mix of everything, though it is not overly heavy as were albums from his past. There are still a few tunes which have intros (like “Deep Six” for example) but they add to the song’s build-up, rather than feeling like ‘come on, song, start!’ as was the case with Born Villain.
So, then, why is The Pale Emperor the rave at the moment? For one, the bass tones on this record sound absolutely gorgeous – so thick and tasty, and being not a trained musician for one, I can really appreciate the bass on this entire record. Furthermore, Manson’s vocals on the last album were struggling a bit for me. On a song like “Pistol Whipped”, it felt like he was trying way too hard and his voice was straining in places, but on The Pale Emperor his vocals sound better than ever. Kudos to the producer for that one!
The whole record is groovy. You get the soft verses and then the loud chorus, so the song-writing especially is really well structured, and there a lot of ‘space’ on the record so the instruments are allowed to breathe more. The last tune on the record, “Odds of Even”, is the longest song on the record (6:23) and it really finishes on a high note. I just love the bass tones on this record!
For those wanting to get the deluxe edition, there are acoustic songs of those heard on the album but with different titles – “Day 3”, “Fated, Faithful, Fatal” and “Fall of The House of Death” – which offer little twists of those songs. It’s an interesting listen if you’re into that kind of thing.
OVERALL: The Pale Emperor is a brilliant album from Marilyn Manson. I was a little unsure after Born Villain, as I said, but this album is really well written and well made. There are so many good songs that you can really get your teeth into, and I’m sure that come the end of 2015 this will be an album to remember.