Marilyn Manson Heaven Upside Down Loma Vista
Marilyn Manson’s tenth full-length arrived at a time when he was undergoing an injury layoff, having been crushed underneath two huge handgun stage props at his recent New York concert. If he wasn’t so lucky, the incident could have caused one of the most cruelly ironic rock ’n’ roll deaths of all time, given that the spectre of gun violence has overhung so much of his career.
It might have been a sign from above (or, rather, below) that the 48-year-old could do with dialling things down a notch. There’s no evidence that he plans to do so on Heaven Upside Down, which feels in many ways like a kick against 2015’s nuanced, brooding The Pale Emperor – a record that Manson already seems to be deeming unacceptably demure in recent interviews.
This time round, the self-styled God of Fuck is back in scattershot mode, which means that we get some stirring returns to visceral punk form. The incendiary single Kill4Me is a case in point, as is the noisy thrash of both the title track and Je$u$ Cri$i$. Elsewhere, the record lags, usually because either the sonic reference points feel too well-worn or the lyrics descend into banality – the repeated counting on opener Revelation #12 is tiresome before the first listen’s even out. Longtime devotees won’t care, but Manson’s last album seemed to prompt a wider audience to sit up and take notice at the potential for stylistic maturity, and this feels like regression.