Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos [Album Review]

Review: Benjamin Coe

Marilyn Manson is aging like a fine wine; the older he gets, the more elegant and full-bodied his artistic endeavors become.  Whether it be his increasingly dark and morbid paintings, his illustrious, ever-expanding list of acting credits or the alt-rock/goth-metal music which he has spent the better part of the last 30 years crafting and perfecting, Manson has certainly solidified himself as a music industry mainstay and pop-culture icon for the ages.

Adding to this is his eleventh studio album, We Are Chaos, which he and newfound collaborator Shooter Jennings have just blessed the world with. And I don’t use the word “blessed” lightly. Now, if you’ve been growing with Manson throughout the last 10 years or so then you are going to embrace this blessing but if you’re clutching on dearly to the tired old image of the Antichrist Superstar of days-gone-by you will be best to avoid what’s on offer here.

I refer you to my fine wine analogy from earlier; the maturity and wisdom of age and a thousand lives lived bleeds through onto this record and takes you on a beautifully cathartic journey through the softer side of one of the most abrasive artists of the 21stcentury. If you had ever wondered what a Marilyn Manson album would have sounded like if it were made at the height of the 80’s synth-pop era then wonder no more!

Tracks like Don’t Chase The Dead and the piano-laden Half-Way & One Step Forward sound like they were plucked straight from the soundtrack of an 80’s horror film, whilst the love song-esque stylings of Paint You With My Love reek of a heavy David Bowie influence that would do the late singer proud.

There is some classic Manson on offer here, albeit in rather small doses. The opening track Red, Black & Blue and the dark and twisted Infinite Darkness are sure to satiate the fans of the self-proclaimed God Of Fuck’s heavier side but they are surely not what this album is all about. This album is the arty side of Manson, this is as close to mainstream as he’s ever been and probably ever will be and while this may upset a lot of long-standing fans let’s be honest, when has this man ever played it safe?

Fans of Marilyn Manson’s more recent efforts like 2015’s The Pale Emperor or 2017’s masterpiece Heaven Upside Down will feel right at home with this new direction, but as previously mentioned, if you’re hanging out for an Antichrist Superstar 2.0 you will be sadly disappointed by this release. But hey, if you approach with an open mind and eyes wide shut you may just be pleasantly surprised.
Marilyn Manson – ‘We Are Chaos‘ is out now through LOMA VISTA RECORDINGS