Review: Marilyn Manson – Born Villain. Rock Sound issue 161.
Rock Sound issue 161. Page 95.
MARILYN MANSON 
‘BORN VILLAIN’ (COOKING VINYL/HELL, ETC)
It’s probably fair to say that, on paper, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about Marilyn Manson’s eight album ‘Born Villain’. Between his move away from the world of major labels and a guest appearance from Johnny Depp (yep, really), there’s enough to suggest that ‘Born Villain’ will at the very lest be something different.
With the opening due ‘Hey, Cruel World’ and ‘No Reflection’ acting as throwbacks to his ‘Antichrist Superstar’ heyday, it feels like the move from Interscope after 09’s ‘High End Of Low’ may have been a good one. However, it doesn’t take long to realise there’s a formula to most songs: drawn-out vocals, repeated verses, simplistic instrumentals and supposedly sinister undertones. Many feel dragged-out, too slow and too simple to grab the listener for any length of time, while continuously long introductions break up any fluidity the album may have had. There are occasional highlights: Manson opts for spoken word in ‘The Gardener’ while ‘Breaking The Same Old Ground’ toys with more eerie and dramatic sounds, and at times ‘Born Villain’ does have some real punch, but those moments are few and far between. A core essence of Manson is definitely there throughout, with his sadistic calls and menacing tones occasionally making themselves known, but all too often it comes across as both lethargic and lacking. A disappointing, disjointed return.
FOR FANS OF: Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, yawning.
MARILYN MANSON: THROUGH THE YEARS
A whistlestop tour of the God Of Fuck’s most significant moments
‘PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY’
Manson’s full-length debut garnered mixed reviews from critics; some deeming it a poor attempt at horror, others a mere blueprint of the direction he was set to attack perfectly with its successor.
If its predecessor put him on the map, ‘Antichrist Superstar’ transformed Manson into a household name. Toying with imagery of power, misanthropy and destruction, this sinister rock opera possesses some of his definitive works.
‘HOLY WOOD (IN THE SHADOW OF THE VALLEY OF DEATH)’
His first record following the tragic Columbine massacre, ‘Holy Wood’ explored America’s obsession with violence on what has gone on to become one of Manson’s most successful works to date.
‘THE GOLDEN AGE OF GROTESQUE’
With Manson taking on more musical control than ever, ‘TGAOG’ boasted an electronic foundation laced with screams, distortion and a metallic grind. It was a veritable success, rendering it a notable addition to his discography.
‘THE HIGH END OF LOW’
Sooner or later something had to give and it seemed – across the board – ‘The High End Of Low’ was that moment, casting a largely forlorn and only vaguely familiar shadow that ended his major label career in a disappointing fashion.