Mar­i­lyn Man­son

Heaven Up­side Down

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Albums - Mark Beau­mont

Mazza re­turns to peak-era sounds for his most as­tute al­bum in decades.

As Mar­i­lyn Man­son re­cu­per­ates from be­com­ing the most ironic vic­tim of US gun reg­u­la­tions when an un­se­cured stage prop of gi­ant crossed ‘sym­bolic firearms’ col­lapsed on him in New York, his tenth al­bum ar­rives as his most in­ci­sive blood por­trait yet of our par­adise up­ended – by war, terrorism, cling­ing re­li­gion, cap­i­tal­ist greed, a dem­a­gogue Pres­i­dent and, at its heart, the death of Man­son’s fa­ther.

Where many might have rid­den the ac­claim for 2015’s stark, cin­e­matic and blues-in­flected The Pale Em­peror into at least one copy­cat fol­low-up record, Mazza cor­rectly de­duces that tack­ling the is­sues of 2017 de­mands a some­what an­grier ap­proach than mak­ing an al­bum about what might have hap­pened had Faust been a mid­dle-aged shock rocker and renowned flicker of the jour­nal­is­tic tes­ti­cle. So in­stead he up­dates and ren­o­vates the goth-glam daz­zle of Me­chan­i­cal An­i­mals and An­tichrist Su­per­star to bet­ter ram home his top-line points: that re­li­gion is a point­less poi­son, politi­cians are so­ci­ety’s true Satans and that fight­ing and fuck­ing are the only rea­soned re­sponses to the cur­rent count­down to the Book Of Rev­e­la­tions apoca­lypse that the world has cho­sen demo­crat­i­cally for it­self.

Age cer­tainly hasn’t tamed him, nor ex­pe­ri­ence blunted his in­tent. With so many mass shoot­ings in the US and his ca­reer once blighted by as­so­ci­a­tion with the Columbine mas­sacre, you’d imag­ine Man­son might have the fore­sight not to tee up his tenth al­bum with a crisp in­dus­trial-goth sin­gle (We Know Where

You Fuck­ing Live) full of savage de­pic­tions of drone war­fare and re­li­gious ex­trem­ism that might have seen him con­ve­niently scape­goated again had the Man­de­lay Bay shooter been a black­fringed teen. Yet this famed non-voter cap­tures per­fectly the be­tween-a-rockand-an-in­sane-place di­chotomy of the 2016 US elec­tion on the creep­ing, NINish Say10, hiss­ing ‘Some­thing is shed­ding its scales… the empty shell on the stage… You say “God” and I say “Say ten”’ while be­head­ing Trump in the video.

Man­son’s ni­hilis­tic take on 2017 is in­ter­wo­ven with glimpses of per­sonal dark­ness, wrapped up in mu­tu­ally con­stric­tive and dam­ag­ing re­la­tion­ships on epic dirge Blood Honey and the clos­ing Threats Of Ro­mance, or­der­ing a part­ner to do his mur­der­ous bid­ding on the Muse disco blues Kil­l4Me, and mourn­ing the loss of his fa­ther on the seven-minute cen­tre­piece Satur­na­lia. But even here there’s a re­newed crackle to Man­son’s at­tack – a viper re­gain­ing its bite.

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