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Can Marilyn Manson's New Album SAVE ROCK N' ROLL?!! 2

Written by Jude Terror on Tuesday, November 30 1999 and posted in Blog
Jude Terror returns to ask that age-old question once again, and this time it comes full circle as he reviews the new album by Marilyn Manson, The High End of Low!

Marilyn Manson - The High End of LowWell, time really flies doesn't it? It seems like only yesterday I started earning the ire of internet music snobs when I posted my very first SAVE ROCK N' ROLL article, about Marilyn Manson's previous effort, Eat Me, Drink Me. Well, here we are, in 2009, and it's time to look at another album by one of Rock N' Roll's last true rock stars.

A lot has changed since Manson's last album. He's stopped working with Tim Skold, who really brought the cock rock to the band, with ots of ridiculous guitar solos and musical bombast. Returning is Twiggy Ramirez, Manson's main collaborator on beloved albums like Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals.

I've already listened through the album once, and I feel like the change in collaborators is instantly noticeable. Gone is the 80's metal swagger of Skold, and back are the melancoly ballads and sludgy riffs of Ramirez. And while it's impossible for Manson to ever outdo ACS or MA in those qualities, this is still a very competent effort for the middle-aged rockers.

Tim SkoldTwiggy Ramrez


Time to join me as we listen to this track by track.

1. Devour

This song would be right at home on Mechanical Animals. A good way to set the tone for the album. It starts out with some light guitars and keeps a slow, depressing pace throughout.

2. Pretty as a ($)

The second track on the album kicks in with some heavier drums and guitars. Nazi and Christ imagery abound in classic Manson fashion. The song has an enjoyable, headbanging chorus that will make you want to pound your steering wheel.

3. Leave a Scar

Leave a Scar is an upbeat little anthem. It would have fit in well on the last album, with a sing-along chorus, complete with soft harmonies in the backing vocals:

I'm well aware I'm a danger to myself
Are you aware I'm a danger to others?
There's a crack in my soul
You thought it was a smile

Whatever doesn't kill you...
Is gonna leave a scar
Whatever doesn't kill you...
Is gonna leave a scar
Leave a scar
Leave a scar
Leave a scar
Whatever doesn't kill you will leave a scar

Better than anything else you hear on the radio today, and catchy, so it would be a good choice for a single.

4. Four Rusted Horses

 I love the western guitar riff and sparse bass that start this song out. The chorus slips into the kind of beautiful, gloomy chorus that would have been at home on Holywood. So far, so good. I'm really liking this album.

5.  Arma-goddamn-fucking-geddon

There's one of these anthems on every Manson album. You'll know it when you hear it. This one is less annoying than the one on the last album.

6. Blank and White

There's nothing bad about this one, but nothing stands out either... until the guitar solo kicks in. Guitar solos in Manson songs really do it for me, but it's clear that Twiggy is not half the guitarist Skold is when it comes to soloing. He tries to make up for it with the use of distortion and effects, but this just makes me miss skold.

7.  Running to the Edge of the World

Time for a ballad. This is different for Manson, as he actually he engages in a little bit of lyrical storytelling. This song highlights one of Manson's overlooked skills, which is the ability to craft really pretty lyrics and melodies with his own nihilistic twist. He's like a gothic Bruce Springsteen on this song, and it suits him, as it always does on these tracks which are ignored by people who like to think of him as little more than a shock rock novelty act. Some lyrics:

Let you say goodbye
With lips like dynamite.
And everyone
Turned their backs
Because they knew
When we held on tight
To each other,
We were something fatal,
That fell into the wrong hands

8. I Want to Kill You Like They Do In the Movies

My favorite: a love song! The song starts out with the sound of a movie projector, a guitar riff, and some raunchy imagery about sex and murder. Vintage Manson. I'm really feeling like this album is doing a good job of mixing what Manson learned about song construction and varying the sonic pallette from the Tim Skold era, and making it work with a more old school sound overall. Good stuff. At over nine minutes, this song is the longest on the album, but it doesn't drag or get boring.

9. WOW

Some more sleazy techno in this one. I love Manson's voice in this one, and the bass, guitars, and vocal effects are creepy and excellent. Home run.

10. Wight Spider

This is another slow one, further establishing the tone of this album as a return to the Mechanical Animals/Holywood days in spirit.

11. Unkillable Monster

I love the sound of Manson's vocals on top of clean guitars. This is a nice mid-tempo song. The clean guitars build to a heavier chorus:

You never said
'I'll end up like this'
No. No, no, no, no, no!

Are we in love or are we in pain?
Are we in love or are we in pain?
Are we in love or are we in pain?
Are we in love or are we in pain?

I like the guitar solo on this, and the fade out that leaves nothing but vocals at the end.

12. We're From America

Here is the second typical Manson Fuck You Anthem of the album:

I want to be a martyr don't want to be a victim,
Be a killer with a gun so they call me a hero,
Want to be a martyr don't want to be a victim,
Be a killer with a gun so they call me a hero

God is an excuse (x7)
So sing it with me

We're from america, we're from america, we're from america, you can sing it with me

You know it goes: anti-America, anti-religion. You would think these liberal sentiments would annoy me, but I find it charming from Manson.

13. I Have to Look Up Just to See Hell

The song title here makes me laugh. The song itself begins with a scream and then leads into a bouncy rythym. There's a lot of playing around with echos and effects on the guitars here, but it's not too obtrusive. This is a nice, upbeat song to lead in to the final two tracks.

14. Into the Fire

This is a piano driven song, and features some interesting lyrics like:

Everyone around you has murdered someone,
Something sacred
And there isn't one nail without dirt under it
Isn't any white cotton panties
That aren't soaked and stained red

It also has the best guitar solo on the album.

15. 15

This inventively titled song is the closer, and puts the exclamation point on what has been a borderline experimental album for Manson. The use of stripped down guitars, and the experimentation with processing instead of straight heavy distortion that has given this album a unique feel is showcased with this song. It's the perfect ending to the best album of the year.


The Verdict:

I love this album.  Marilyn Manson is one of those rare artists who manages to maintain a recognizable song while still giving a fresh, unique feel to each of his albums. This one is no different, and while at times it seems liek a return to the familiar, it is also progressive in many ways for Manson. Every song is listenable. There's no filler. I love the stripped-down, clean guitars and the way they show off the song construction. After all these years, Marilyn Manson still has it.


Can this album SAVE ROCK N' ROLL?!

This is the question, and unfortunately, as always, the answer is no. Don't get me wrong, the album is great, but it will slip through cracks and fail to get the attention it deserves. This is an album for the mature Marilyn Manson fan (if such a thing were possible), and we will cherish it while pop culture ignores it. Still, it's nice to know that there are still artists out there who can consistently deliver quality work, and I almost prefer being able to enjoy it secretly, as the rest of the world remains clueless.

If you have any respect for yourself, get this album immediately.

Marilyn Manson - The High End of Low


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About the Author - Jude Terror

Jude Terror is the Webmaster Supreme of The Outhouse and a sarcastic ace reporter dedicated to delivering irreverent comics and entertainment news to The Outhouse's dozens of loyal readers. Driven by a quest for vengeance, Jude Terror taught himself to program and joined The Outhouse. He instantly began working toward his goal of forcing the internet comics community to take itself less seriously and failing miserably. A certified trash eater ruining the pristine field of comics journalism with his sarcasm and goofiness, Jude Terror is secretly friendly and congenial, so if you've got a complaint, why not just bring it up to him instead of subtweeting like a jackass, jackass? You can find him on Twitter or try your luck with an email, but keep in mind that he is notoriously unreliable and may not get back to you right away. Unless you want to send him free stuff, in which case he'll get back to you immediately.

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