The Pale Emperor: Manson returns to his throne


Sean Koepfinger, Assistant A&E Editor

Since 1994, shock rocker and Antichrist Superstar Marilyn Manson has tormented the industrial rock scene and attacked the hypocrisy of American media.  He took the shock rock title to heart and deliberately offended as many people as possible in order to skyrocket his own publicity.  But in today’s society, Americans expect to be offended.  We are desensitized to obscenity.  Because of this change, Manson has fallen off the music map.

Times have changed, and now Manson is attempting to change with it.  In his newest album, The Pale Emperor, Manson explores his past and his present.  He sheds his former heavier sound for a more melancholic, blues-influenced grind and focuses on analyzing who he is himself.

Because of the more personal nature of the album, Manson abandoned his usual band and partnered up with producer/composer Tyler Bates who is most known for his work on Halloween (2007), Sucker Punch, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Tyler Bates’ influence is definitely noticeable.  The album takes on a more atmospheric sound with synthetic soundscapes setting the scene for grungy stomps, and Manson’s signature chilling vocals.

As a whole, the album contains recurring references to a Faustian deal that Manson metaphorically made when he gave up his life as Brian Warner and became Marilyn Manson.  This premise links each song together and allows Manson to reflect on who he is now.

But the self reflection doesn’t end with the lyrical content.  Old themes from some of his most well known songs are revisited in The Pale Emperor with “Dope Hat” being reused in “Slave Only Dreams to be King” and “The Beautiful People” being revisited in “Birds of Hell Awaiting.”

In its entirety, The Pale Emperor takes Manson’s signature style and blends it with a grungy blues sound leaving us with a strange blend of Progressive Rock and Industrial Metal like Manson-meets-Pink Floyd.

While his days of shocking American families may be over, Manson as an artist is as relevant as ever.  The Pale Emperor is now available.  Check it out and let me know what you think.