It’s an interesting time to be alive at the moment, and for many who have grown up in and around alternative culture during the 90s – disenfranchised and demotivated – the arrival of a new Marilyn Manson album will be a powerful pick-me-up, and a way to cope. For those of us more researched on recent allegations against the man, it all depends on whether art can be separated from the artist, which is of course a much wider debate.
Still, here we are with an advance copy of the new record, and as opener ‘Red Black and Blue’ hits, we are reminded of the glam stomp of ‘Mechanical Animals’-era double-M, while the title track follow-up is much more ‘Eat Me Drink Me’ in its approach – however, unlike the latter, which was, I believe Manson’s most introspective record to-date, ‘…Chaos’ as a whole seems to represent Manson really finding himself, and becoming more comfortable with his modern musical identity than ever before, and perhaps becoming more content in himself. This assessment will hopefully mean that Manson can become a true champion, personally and professionally, for the dark underground again. ‘Don’t Chase The Dead’ is indeed a creative highlight for the album in all of its industrial Bowie pomp.
Other highlights on offer are the 80s-tinged alt-pop of ‘Half-Way One Step Forward’ which is one of the most accessible tracks Manson has ever put out, and one that, comes off like a proper, true ballad, which is a really interesting contrast to other parts of this record. Meanwhile, ‘Infinite Darkness’ is the closest thing we get to “old-school” Manson, indeed it has the rage and sinister urge of ‘Holywood’ with its winding riffs, and jackhammer drums.
On the whole, for me at least this record is Manson’s best work of the last ten years, it is more real, and honest than we have come to expect, but musically it still maintains the theatre that has made MM so special over the last few decades. So, today we have managed to separate art from the artist, and as we end our first listen on the truly emotive and powerful ‘Broken Needle’ (which is without question, my favourite offering on this), this ART at least is a shining example of hope, and a tiny glimmer of light during very, very dark times.
Words: Dom Smith