Over the past few years, notorious musician Marilyn Manson and what he once was appeared to have died. Once a man known for his controversial live performances and albums which would be both adored by his loyal fanbase and critically viewed by the media and concerned parents had become a thing of the past. His music had lost its fire in all aspects, resulting in 2007’s ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’ and 2009’s ‘The High End Of Low’ being his worst work to date which were mere shadows compared to any previous offering throughout his career.
It’d be fair to say that many had written him off as a has been, and even the news of new full-length ‘Born Villain’ had many waiting to see what atrocity he’d created this time around. Thankfully, ‘Born Villain’ is the sign of the god of fuck steering clear of becoming the god of fuck all. Though admittedly far from his best work, this album shows that there’s still some venom and bile in Manson, showing brief returns to various works in the past which made him so loved in the first place.
Opener ‘Hey, Cruel World…’ has a rather ‘Holywood’-esque feel to it, and ‘Overneath The Path Of Misery’ sounds like a track that didn’t quite make the final cut for ‘Antichrist Superstar’ and has been bastardised over the years to what it is today. The spoken word verses that drive ‘The Gardener’ bring that classic haunting chill only Manson can bring with his creaking door voice croaking its trademark style into the picture. First single proper ‘No Reflection’ can happily sit along the likes of ‘Fight Song’ and ‘The Dope Show’ as a staple setlist inclusion.
Easily the strongest moment on this record comes from ‘Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day’, a track that brings us Manson at the most pissed off we’ve seen him since ‘1996’. Chucking us right into the thick of it with an opening riff that sounds like ‘The Beautiful People’ whipped and abused since its creation, he delivers every scream and every lyric with full conviction, toxicity and aggression.
There are some blunders scattered here though. ‘Pistol Whipped’ is an irritating 4-minute long offering, ‘Slo-Mo-Tion’ sounds like the scraped up remains from the ‘Mechanical Animals’ session that they’ve tried to mould into something passable and ‘The Flowers Of Evil’ is best left avoided whenever possible. These tales of love are what made the tarnished relationship driven abominations of ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’ and ‘The High End Of Low’ so unenjoyable, and in future should be left untouched.
Still, each of ‘Born Villain’‘s highlights still aren’t a mark on the likes of ‘Antichrist Superstar’ or ‘Holywood’, but it’s good to see that Manson and Twiggy Ramirez are finally getting back into their stride after many dismissed their involvement in the music scene. This is the best Manson album in almost a decade. He may not have the same impact as his glory days, but Manson has finally adapted into his trade as it is today and once again doesn’t care what anyone else. This is where his essence lies.
Written by Zach Redrup