Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

album by:
Marilyn Manson
£14.99 (Deluxe Edition)

Reviewed by:
On 12 January 2015
Last modified:11 January 2015


Improving on recent releases with a harkening back to past sounds, this album is worthy of several rotations before you make up your mind on it.

An adroit songwriter, Marilyn Manson takes song subjects that are poignant to him and moulds them into the gargoyles and angels that fill the musical cathedral that is his tenth album ‘The Pale Emperor’.Marylin Manson The Pale Emperor

It opens with the sense of going into battle with the solid electronic beats that continue throughout the song ‘Killing Strangers’, reflecting the sentiment of the lyrics “We’re killing strangers, so we don’t kill the one’s that we love (we got guns)”. As with a lot of music unless you ask the composer what it means the lyrics remain open to interpretation. Marilyn Manson’s meanings have often been called into question and this song could equally be about gun ownership in the US or the problems we as a world face with radical terrorism. As he said in his interview with Michael Monroe “I do and say what I want” and it seems there is no stopping him with ‘The Pale Emperor’.

The industrial sounding opening to single ‘Deep Six’ follows, kicking in with a simple yet contrasting guitar line, before exploding into heavy riffs and drumming.

With early hints of fellow Download Festival band Muse‘s ‘Supermassive Black Hole’, the now soft deep gravel tones of Marilyn Manson’s voice resonate on ‘Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge’ as he appears to sing of a troubled relationship. It is Marilyn Manson’s vocals that stand out for me on this album, stronger than I believe they have been on recent releases. The tail end of ‘The Devil Beneath My Feet’ also shows this and whilst not reaching the vocal clarity that he possessed ten plus years ago, his voice has gained a new feel and I like it.

‘The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles’ is a good track. I like the simplistic opening he uses before building the track bit by bit with some ‘The Beautiful People’ styled drums, before exploding tambourine and all through your ears. The use of percussion on this album is also worthy of note.

‘Slave Only Dreams To Be King’ opens with a quotation from British author James Allen, before the classic Marilyn Manson musical march ensues, musically encapsulating a perturbing message, his intelligence shines through here. Followed by some solid, quality bass work on ‘Birds Of Hell Awaiting’.

Closing track ‘Odds Of Even’ is different in musical sound from other tracks on this release, but remains faithful to past Marilyn Manson works.

The key thing I will say is that you need to give this album more than one listen, the more you listen the more layers you start to uncover. Some people will love ‘The Pale Emperor’, others will think it’s alright, some will be indifferent and others will hate it, but that is the same for most albums by any artist or band. Marilyn Manson has his own alcove in the world of music in the same way artists like Eminem and Michael Jackson do, they are unique, intelligent and often misunderstood people, but the world of music is richer for having them in it.

With each new album, Marilyn Manson lets us see a little more of what goes on in his mind and to quote the aforementioned James Allen “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of his thoughts.”


‘The Pale Emperor’ is released on 19th January (20th January in the US) on Cooking Vinyl and comes in both a Standard and Deluxe package. The Deluxe package includes three bonus tracks, 8-panel card soft pack finished with specialist UV grit varnish on the front and back covers, all black polycarbonate disc and interior photos by Nicholas Cope. It also available on vinyl.

Track Listing: Killing Strangers, Deep Six, Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge, The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles, Warship My Wreck, Slave Only Dreams To Be Kin, The Devil Beneath My Feet, Birds Of Hell Awaiting, Cupid Carries A Gun, Odds Of Even


Improving on recent releases with a harkening back to past sounds, this album is worthy of several rotations before you make up your mind on it.

About Heather Fitsell

I have been photographing bands predominantly in the London area since 2008. I have photographed in venues as small as pubs and as big as Manchester MEN arena. I have photographed local bands and the likes of Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy, Black Stone Cherry, Alterbridge, Evanescence and many more. I have also photographed at Hevy Fest for the last two years and previously ran my own webzine, before I decided to focus more on my photography.