Marilyn Manson released his latest album Heaven Upside Down on October 6, 2017, with the album dropping at midnight.
Manson’s follow up to 2015’s Rolling Stone metal album of the year The Pale Emperor is Manson at his most ferocious in many years. This ferocity peaks during ‘WE KNOW WHERE YOU F***ING LIVE’ which brings back memories of Antichrist Superstar opener ‘Irresponsible Hate Anthem’. Despite the ferocity, this an extremely varied album with Manson’s latest crusade on society touching on life, love and his usual punching bag of Christianity. In a world of increasing secularisation, it’s quite an achievement to make attacks on Jesus Christ relevant which he does with great aplomb, particularly on ‘JESUS CRI$I$’. Manson’s take on love is typically over the top and violent when he brings it to the fore on single ‘KILL4ME’ with lines such as “you won’t be kissing me unless you kill for me”.
The music is varied in style as well as the subject matter. Tyler Bates, Gil Sharone and the returned Twiggy Ramirez provide the perfect backdrop for Manson’s latest offering. The album is a modern take on the music of Marilyn Manson while maintaining the typical charisma displayed in days past. There is a heavy use of electronics alongside the distorted guitars of Bates which includes sampling, melodies and even trap-inspired beats. This comes after Manson admitted his love of Rihanna’s latest album, 2016’s ANTI. The use of electronics also brings Manson’s hip-hop affiliations to his own music. The dark beat and delivery in the verses of ‘SAY10’ harp back to DMX’s Flesh of my Flesh, Blood of my Blood which featured Manson on the track ‘The Omen’.
Despite the prominent use of electronics from producer and guitarist Tyler Bates, the classic Marilyn Manson formula takes charge of the album. The album displays a musical depth found on Manson classics such as Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals. It includes both sides of his dynamic spectrum with ferocious periods and more subdued elements similar to the style of Antichrist Superstar which included song like ‘The Beautiful People’ and slower songs like ‘Man That You Fear’ best evidenced on ‘JESUS CRI$I$’, with a mostly subdued sound until the song reaches its bridge which is the heaviest part of the album. The straightforward and catchy elements of the album channel Manson’s Mechanical Animals era. This is most evident in title track ‘Heaven Upside Down’ with the lines “hold my hand and spin around, this is heaven upside down” which is Manson at his catchiest since 2003’s ‘Mobscene’.
Overall, Heaven Upside Down is a more than worthy follow up to The Pale Emperor which finds Marilyn Manson sounding as familiar as usual while managing to keep the album exceedingly modern and relevant despite this being his 10th offering in a nearly 30-year career.