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The High End of Low

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★★★½☆
(111 Reviews)

Marilyn Manson Biography - Marilyn Manson Discography - All Heavy Metal Bands

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Marilyn Manson’s anticipated reunion with longtime friend and foil Twiggy Ramirez inches closer with the release of ”We’re From America,” the first listen from the forthcoming The High End of Low. The album’s official first single ”Arma… geddon” will arrive at radio Spring 2009. Manson’s new lineup including Ramirez (for the first time in close to a decade), plus keyboardist Chris Vrenna, and dummer Ginger Fish, will close the main stage at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, this July through August. Manson will also kick off his world tour with a headline festival run this June in Europe Produced by Manson ,Vrenna,and Twiggy, The High End of Low was recorded in his Hollywood Hills studio and also features the track, ”I Want to Kill You Like They Do In The Movies.” Manson says of the new album, ”I think my life definitely ended and began. The record sounds very final, but it’s almost optimistic – though that feels like a strange word to use. It’s a phoenix from the fire and a redemption resurrection.” Since emerging from South Florida (in the early 1990s), Marilyn Manson has continued to upend the mainstream with each new release. The tumultuous relationship Manson has cultivated with the public worldwide has resulted in multi-million records sales, sold-out tours, protests, legal battles, hate, adoration, award-winning distilled spirits (Mansinthe) and most importantly, a long list of some of the most enduring and genre-defying music in the rock era (”Lunchbox,” ”Sweet Dreams,” ”The Beautiful People,” ”Tourniquet,” ”The Dope Show,” ”This Is The New Shit,” ”Mobscene,” ”Heart-Shaped Glasses,”etc.) The new era of Marilyn Manson and The High End of Low begins now.

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  • I used to be a huge Manson fan, even when it was dangerous to be one because you put yourself up to great ridicule by people who despised his cutting edge androgyny and imagination. “Antichrist” was an amazing although completely nihilistic album, it was definitely the definition of youth and relevant at the time with the approaching millennium and the whole apocalypse motif. Then “Mechanical” was the glam which either you loved or hated, I loved that album and the whole alien creature, space trip theme. “Holy Wood” had some heartbreakingly awesome songs with the whole trip down memory lane of America, everything from Jesus to JFK. There was heart there and then the “Golden Age” which played with Dada surrealism and insanity. Those four albums were all good in their own right because they had a clearly defined theme and let’s face it, Manson is a good storyteller and his life is the fiction. Whether he realizes this or not, he created his own character and became it. So all his concept albums worked because he just became that character and invited us into his world. His last two albums have been incredibly disappointing because of the “I” perspective, the extreme narcissism and view from a man who isn’t as interesting when he gets “real” because then you see how pathetic his life is. I’m not trying to be mean but he’s a lot like Michael Jackson, Jackson did “Thriller” and Captain Eo and “Ghosts”; making these music videos that were tiny movies. Yet over the years Micheal’s music grew weaker when we saw just how much self-hatred he had for himself and the plastic surgery and the child molestation charges. Manson has a lot of self-hatred and instead of getting medicated for it, he chooses to consume cocaine and absinthe which only magnifies his despair and he ruins every relationship he has ever had then tells us about it. He wants us to feel sorry for him but why? How can you feel anything but pity for a person who just does the same thing over and over…his songs are like this now. “People will come to my funeral to see if I’m dead” sounds like Michael Jackson, huh?
    While these two artists are different they are very familiar because Manson doesn’t want to grow up either, he wants to live in his own private Neverland in the Hollywood Hills with his grotesque museum of trinkets which would be cute if you weren’t a 40yo man whining about your love life. He has become his own cliche, Manson either needs to return to the concept album (give us metaphor not your reality because it invites us to judge you and psychoanalyze you and it makes you look like a self absorbed jerk) or he needs to take off the makeup and get real with himself. How about some lyrics like “I put on this face and created this lie so you would love to hate me”, there would be some honesty but like every other aging artist out there, he’s going to pump out the same teenage angsty crap with lots of cursing (because its so naughty, omg my mom took away my album so now i love him even more!) that proves nothing. I know you are an intelligent person, Mr. Manson but you are in love with your own despair and it’s disgusting. If you were telling a story I might be able to forgive the self-pity but when it’s all from the “I” perspective it feels so incestuous like you are trying to get back who you used to be and plagiarizing your former self so much that it feels like a watered down version of you. New fans will love it who want to make their parents mad and scare their peers, longtime fans over the past decade will see through the charade and wonder why we have grown up and the artist hasn’t.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is a bad CD period, no matter who released it, it is just bad. Boring, repetitive, and wholly about how mopey and sad Brian is. That’s it. Like listening to someone whine about his life, but semi-talk sing it at the same time. Even when the lyrics try to be clever, they’re lame. The music is lame, the “shock value” is lame. Nothing new, notable or even good in this mess of emotional self absorbed rubbish.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • well. i guess ill come right out and say it. i didnt like mechanical animals when it came out, it sounded nothing like his 3 previous albums, and i wasnt impressed. but after holy wood, i thought hed brought his older stuff back. now, i have come to like mechanical animals. it took me until after holy wood to appreciate it. then grotesque came out, and i still liked that, but found it lacking somewhat. then eat me came out, and i was not particularly impressed at all. my favorite track on that album is you and me and the devil makes 3. sounded dark, thoughtful, and cold. i could do the twist to it. now with the new one, i dont like it. i listened to the demos on amazon, and at planet music, and heard the entire song arma-gd. he seems to be raping himself in that one. granted, he used the tried-and-true method for an anthem, and the lyrics were ok. i got the idea. but its lacking the soul of his 3 earliest albums. antichrist is one of my favorite albums, one of the best industrial metal albums of all time, and it will always be one of the best. his alpha and omega. but this newest album smacks of parody and weakness. at an ever-quickening pace, manson has joined the rest of the radio-rock bulls##t, and soon he will be among the other p###ies. now, my favorite band is bile. but even bile has gone the route of bulls##t radio rock. if i wanted to hear the god###n backstreet boys, id promptly put drills in my ears. everyone in rock is sucking, and sucking fast, and just as bad as the wannabe rap that is “club rap” thats coming out nowadays. where is the soul, people? where is the darkness? where is the RAGE? im sick of this boy-band bulls##t that rock sounds like now. kick this soft s##t to the curb. manson will find more fans, but i am a fan of his old stuff. this stuff sucks. thats right, im not sugar-coating this nonsense, trying to “feel-out” mansons needs. its horses##t, and needs to be called out as such. even his “spooky kids” days were better than this, and he was just getting warmed up, for f###s sake. the bands name is MARILYN MANSON, not linkin park. the music should reflect the name. if i wanted to hear any other type of music, id listen to that. if i wanted to hear blues, id listen to blues. and i like blues. but manson is not blues. i dont care if he pulls it off spectacularly, manson doesnt belong in blues. if manson wants to come out with something that doesnt sound like “MARILYN MANSON”, then he should change the name of the band, or do solo work, and under his real name. why does every band start out hard, then go soft? metallica, static x, korn, the list goes on and on. now everybody wants to sound like linkin park. and i f###ing HATE that band. they make rock suck. like creed. its all too soft for me. keep it real, people! keep it old school!

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • In the 90’s, I oscillated from liking and disliking Manson. I loved the band’s sound along with his thematically inventive lyrics and striking vocals, but gathered from his look and interviews that he was just shocking for the sake of shocking. The vivid yet desolate aural landscape and hyperrelavent theological, political, sociological, and ultimately personal sentiments of “Holywood” convinced me otherwise. It demonstrated that his shock was a means to an artistic/intellectual end. After hearing that album, I had a much deeper appreciation of his past albums.

    Then the trajectory turned downward. “Golden Age of Grotesque” didn’t seem to say as much as his previous albums, lyrically or musically (especially the last third of the album). But overall, it was a clever indictment of our culture. “Eat Me, Drink Me” had raw righteousness and more tone colors, but some songs were noticeably bland at times. Upon hearing that Twiggy was returning, I anxiously awaited a return to form on the new album.

    In short, “The High End of Low” isn’t a return to form. It seemingly expotentiated the bland qualities of his last effort while offering roughly nothing new. Repeated power chords, repeated mantras, repeated “shocking” lines nowhere near as emotionally engaging or thought-provoking as any of his old albums.

    I listened to every song, but barely made it through the half-way point of most of them. The few things I liked were the feel of Devour and We’re From America, the acoustic riff of Four Rusted Horses (but again, it repeated too much), and the structure of Running to the Edge of the World. All a little new, and little different, a little metal. But “little” is the key term, as these few things were dwarfed by the quarter-baked blandness of the vast majority of the album.

    I honestly don’t know what happened. Between rejoining Twiggy and having more than enough reasons to shred our society, one would think Manson would prepare his magnum opus. My guess is the drugs and romantic obsession are to blame. The “daily fantasizing about smashing her head in with a sledgehammer” comment in a recent interview wasn’t provokingly disturbing, just disturbing. I’ll chant “We hate love, we love hate” any day of the week, but that comment just leads me to worry that the unparalleled intellectual and artistic powerhouse Marilyn Manson is no longer reflecting our sick society, but succumbing to it. This album could very well be the end. But not a burn out, just a fade away.

    I would suggest to Manson that he quit feigning rebirth and do it. Return the songs and lyrics to form or go in a radically new direction. Do another Antichrist…or do a gospel album. Don’t become the media caricature. Destroy it.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I approached “The High End of Low” the way I would a corroded anti-tank landmine–hyper-cautious, and nauseous with anxiety: I expected to either be totally finished with Manson, or be reveling in his return to form.

    What I got is what I should have ultimately anticipated: just enough to bring me back to the well next time. “The High End of Low” is a step back in the right direction (which I largely attribute to Mr. White’s return), but on my third listen through this album, I was thunderstruck when I finally put my thumb on what had been bugging me. The thing that Brian has lost over time could probably be mapped convincingly against a chart chronicling his loss of band-mates. His ego has spilled out of control and damaged his art. This is the second (arguably third) album from Manson the man, as opposed to Manson the band.

    Let me be clear–I intend no character attack. Whatever his future efforts produce, I will remain a steadfast fan of Marilyn’s work on the strength of his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th albums. However, his art has become unbalanced toward the personal, which is a disappointing regression in my eyes.

    There is variety, wit, and a sense of play in the sonic/musical qualities of this album. There is also a shocking lack of variation in lyrical subject matter. Listen to this record carefully, and skip to the next song any time you hear one of the following words: I, Me, My, Mine, You, Your, We, Us, Our. The first-person narrative repitition is mind-numbing.

    “Antichrist Superstar” is an industrial-metal stew of atheism, young-adult angst, and porn-shop occultism strained through melodrama, three-act structure, and The Church of Satan. “Mechanical Animals” is a right-brain/left-brain identity crisis expressed in hyperreal glam, androgyny, and sterile poignancy in a blurry, blue-and-white, pharmaceutical landscape. “Holy Wood” draws paralells between the “Manson” character from the previous two albums with Jesus and JFK ,while weaving together themes of martyrdom, conspiracy, and nihilism. “Golden Age” is a bleak experiment in Dadaist word-play and electronica-cum-Nurembourg dance beats glammed up in zoot-suits and faux-silver tooth-caps.

    “Eat Me, Drink Me”, and “The High End of Low” feature progressive musicianship, ego, synthesizers, and a total lack of thematic variety (barring a tiny few songs which feel half-hearted and out-of-place). They also take drugs from muse, to metaphor, to excuse.

    There’s your mini-review of the last six Manson albums. Pick one.

    I’m all for artistic growth, but forgive a burly curmudgeon who came of age on “Angel with the Scabbed Wings”, “Man that you Fear”, “Speed of Pain”, “Coma White”, “The Nobodies”, and “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death”, for not giving a damn about Brian’s love life. He’s become too literal. Not to take a man to task, but I’ve got to take a man to task. It, “wipes the floor,” with everything you’ve done before? Not remotely. You’re not more than the sum of former parts. You’ve, “got [your] fire back[?]“, it’s guttering right now man, but I’ve got faith–the kind based on on observation as opposed to hearsay–you’ve a bonfire or two left. Just get over yourself.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now