AL­BUMS

Heaven Up­side Down

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Contents - ELEANOR GOOD­MAN

Mar­i­lyn Man­son, Grave Plea­sures, Au­gust Burns red, 36 Crazy­fists, The Bronx, Cra­dle of Filth, En­siferum and Satyri­con get weighed on the Ham­mer scales.

The God Of Fuck brings back some old mem­o­ries

The Pale em­peror

was roundly hailed as a suc­cess for Mar­i­lyn Man­son. Be­tween al­bums, he’d been fol­low­ing best bud Johnny Depp into act­ing, in­clud­ing a dis­turb­ing turn in US witch-hunt­ing drama Salem. He wrote its bluesy theme song with com­poser Tyler Bates, and the two made an al­bum that cast Man­son in the role of a sleazy South­ern preacher. For those who thought he’d been lost in the wilder­ness since Holy Wood, this was him find­ing a path out.

For those who had al­ways loved him, it was an­other evo­lu­tion­ary stage of his jour­ney.

On 10th al­bum Heaven Up­side Down, you can’t help but feel that Man­son’s glanc­ing back to the past. Throw­backs to nu­mer­ous step­ping stones in Man­son’s ca­reer are given a punk feel – like the band have holed up in the Tate house again, or been re­hears­ing live for weeks to re­cap­ture the raw­ness of the An­tichrist Su­per­star days. Rev­e­la­tion #12 is straight out of the traps with all the me­chan­i­cal, riffy twitches of yes­ter­year and a pri­mal howl. We know where you fuck­ing Live has all the white-hot in­ten­sity of ir­re­spon­si­ble

Hate An­them or The Re­flect­ing god. SAY 10

– orig­i­nally the ti­tle of the record – is a big, snarling an­them that’s built for stages. KiLL4Me, a film noir snap­shot of a messy ro­mance, is the clos­est rel­a­tive to The Pale em­peror, along with the ti­tle track’s bluesy swag­ger. The most sat­is­fy­ing mar­riage of styles is Tat­tooed in Reverse – opening with a punchy, ‘So fuck your Bible and your belt’, it’s a no-fucks-given glam stomp with the most wickedly tonguein-cheek pun on the record (’i’m un­sta­ble, i’m not a show horse’), and an elec­tro-goth dance­floor in­ter­lude.

If The Pale em­peror was banger af­ter low­down banger, and pre­de­ces­sor Born vil­lain went back to ba­sics, this one sits some­where in be­tween – still bear­ing Tyler’s mark but with a nod to other eras. If there’s a crit­i­cism, it’s that the al­bum loses some mo­men­tum af­ter the cli­mac­tic SAY 10, when it be­comes more ex­plic­itly about ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships. Hark­ing back to his break-up al­bums, Blood Honey is an unashamedly an­guished gothic bal­lad, while closer Threats of Ro­mance main­tains a laid­back, Bowie-es­que, pi­ano-led pace as it glo­ries in emo­tional dam­age.

Despite the vi­o­lent trailer for SAY 10 hint­ing at some Trump-bash­ing, Heaven Up­side Down is more like a roll call of Man­son’s favourite con­cerns: cor­rup­tion, love, mythol­ogy and Chris­tian­ity, re­layed by an un­bri­dled tor­rent of word­play. Dis­ap­point­ingly, there’s not enough here to cause an­other moral panic, though Je$U$ cRi$i$ skates close to the edge of con­tro­versy with its eye­rolling provo­ca­tion – ‘i write songs to fight and to fuck to / if you wanna fight then i’ll fight you / if you wanna fuck i will fuck you / Make up your mind, or i’ll make it up for you.’

Ul­ti­mately, Heaven Up­side Down is a solid al­bum that shows the Dou­ble M can still do what he got fa­mous do­ing: write bit­ing, anti-es­tab­lish­ment goth rock full of dark, play­ful im­agery. Peo­ple who came back for The Pale em­peror might lose in­ter­est in Heaven Up­side Down, but fans who have fol­lowed him through­out will clutch this close to their black hearts.

FOR FANS OF: NINE INCH NAILS, KILLING JOKE, KMFDM

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