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Album review: Marilyn Manson's 'The High End of Low'

Manson Thanks to the general decline of Western civilization — taken a look at next fall’s reality-TV lineup? — Marilyn Manson’s rock doesn’t shock like it used to. Whether or not Manson himself is aware of this fact is up for debate: On his latest album, America’s leading goth-metal ghoul keeps up his usual barrage of lyrical firecrackers, some predictably inane (“I wanna kill you like they do in the movies”), some surprisingly potent (“We don’t like to kill our unborn / We need them to grow up and fight our wars”). There’s also a lead single with a title that’s unprintable in a newspaper like this one.

At its best, though, “The High End of Low” suggests that Manson is no longer content simply polishing his public-enemy persona. There’s a newly introspective edge to tracks such as “Devour” and “Leave a Scar,” for example, that complicates Manson’s now-familiar attack on middle-class morality. “And I’ll love you if you let me,” he sings in the former, seemingly questioning his own complicity in the rituals he once ridiculed.

Manson explored similar territory on 2007’s synth-heavy “Eat Me, Drink Me,” which detailed his split from ex-wife Dita Von Teese. But “High End” makes a deeper impression as a result of Manson’s reunion with longtime guitarist-bassist Twiggy Ramirez; together with producers Sean Beavan and Chris Vrenna, they sculpted a sound both harder-hitting and more finely detailed than on any previous Marilyn Manson record.

They even manage a surprise or two, as in “Running to the Edge of the World,” a lush acoustic power ballad complete with pretty falsetto vocals. At this point in Manson’s career, sophistication is perhaps as big a shock as he can deliver.

--Mikael Wood

Marilyn Manson
“The High End of Low”
(Interscope)
Three stars

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

I enjoyed the album very much. It was a bit hard to listen to at first, which isn't unlike is last couple of albums. I have read several reviews of this album and all of them talk about how Manson doesn't "shock" anymore. This has been the case ever since Holywood came out and I am starting to wonder if any of the critics realize that Marilyn Manson isn't trying to shock anybody. He never did. If he was, I'm sure he could. Manson is simply making albums that entertain while also having plenty of depth so they also make the listener think for themselves. If I wanted to be shocked, I'd go watch Faces of Death or a documentary about how the chicken I eat at KFC gets from an egg to a bucket. This is a very innovative album. It really is creative and original. It makes today's mainstream rock feel outdated and stuck in the past. I enjoyed it very much. If you like smart, sophisticated heavy metal that really sticks out from the rest, you will love this album.

I actually expected something more powerful, it sounded like latter weak Red Hot Chilli Peppers music, ballads? C'mon, that's not what his audience expects from him. that's the second consecutive album he botches.

it was better than the album before it, but i think he should probably try and stick to glam (mechanical animals phase) as this seemed to b what he could do best. holywood was also quite good all out rock, and ACSS all out metal, but i feel he may have reached his peak in those genres- mansons biggest problem is the lack of real musical talent, constant line up changes in a band so unstable dont help very much.. but i do think manson is one of the few modern metal bands destined to be around for a long time. Real inspiration is all you need, brian. Best track on here is running to the edge of the world. Who would have thought manson could cover bon jovi so well. Lol

It's hard to put any Manson album up for comparison with each other because they all are unique and fit the phase he and the band were in at the time. It's great to have Twiggy back and having Chris Vrenna involved because you can hear their influence in the structure of every song. This album has more variety between tones of songs then any other, which is nice. Is it the best Manson album? That's a matter of opinion but this album deserves a listen and is worth the purchase.

I didn't love the album but it was pretty good. I thought it was less like golden age and more eat me drink me. Not his best. Not the worst ever though. Keep up the good work :)

still needs a better band that arent afraid of new ideas, to show his full potential- but essentially this album is more of the same, but its arguably better than eat me drink me! musically, his worst is easily his debut album 'portrait' and remix 'like children', his best 'mechanical animals', followed by 'holywood' and then 'antichrist'. He doesnt need to shock anymore to make the press take notice, just come up with something worthy.

Awful. A child could write better lyrical content. The music itself just doesn't become me like it used to, it all seems so watered down. Manson used to be a godlike musician and lyricist. People who like this album are probably teenagers who may or may not realize how good MM's music used to be, or fans who are in denial that this is bad (as was the last TWO albums) and don't want to come to terms with reality. Or lastly quite possibly some fans don't hold MM to the same standards I do. I started listening to MM in the 90s -- suffice it to say i'm extremely disappointed with his recent work.

This album is a dead flop. With little to no energy, this album sounds as if the opiates and drugs in manson took over. Its just a ton of EMO CRAP now. Manson used to be the man back in ... 1996. But like i've said before, this is a great example of what happens when you get old... Your rock bone falls off... Ask metallica. They yodel now. :-)

This is the best album since holywood, although incomparable to his first 4 albums. Golden age was pretty bad, eat me drink me mediocre, and this one wasnt bad at all. I can only hope this trend continues, especially with Twiggy back in the picture. If it does, we can probablly expect an incredible album to come out in 2011.


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