I’m a little embarrassed to admit it now, but when I was around 13 or so I was HEAVILY into Marilyn Manson. I’m not sure what it was, maybe it was the aggression and dark subject matter to his music and persona, but I was obsessed with the guy. It was an obsession that lead me to Friedrich Nietzsche, nihilism, conservatism, and eventually to nationalism and the alt-right, so I guess in that regard I can’t be wholly embarrassed of that infatuation. Even now I can still find enjoyment in Manson’s music, so it only seemed right to review his latest album Heaven Upside Down.
I usually go into Manson’s releases having at least heard a single beforehand, but with this album I’m going in completely blind. To start off with a track like “Revolution #12,” with a killer riff like that, I’m feeling optimistic. The opening lyrics to “Tattooed In Reverse” are a bit cringe but this track is a jam; so damn funky. After Manson’s phenomenal last album The Pale Emperor, it seems like the Antichrist Superstar has started to embrace his industrial, Trent Reznor-influenced roots again, and I’m very happy for that. Not that I’m against experimentation in art, it just feels to me that Manson always thrived best with an industrial metal backdrop.
Lyrically Manson doesn’t seem to have drifted far from his infatuation with Abrahamic religious imagery. Opening track “Revolution #12” being the most obvious reference to the Book of Revelation. “Traitors and betrayers, this fucking game has no fucking players.” Is he talking about Satan’s rebel angels in the Book of Revelation or about the fact that no one seems to be able to point out society’s hypocrisies? That’s something I’ve always loved about Manson; you could really interpret his music to be about several things. They’re not just personal pieces.
So after 10 albums, with a few missteps here and there, it really feels like Marilyn Manson has found his groove again in the past couple of years. I didn’t care much for his 2012 release Born Villain but 2015’s The Pale Emperor was so good and felt so fresh that I could forgive any past discrepancies. Heaven Upside Down continues this apparent trend of really enjoyable recent Marilyn Manson albums.
I’m very happy to give Heaven Upside Down a 4.5/5.
Check out “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” here.