Mar. 15th, 2015

blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
Retaking The Throne
4 Out Of 5 Stars

Sporting a deeper groove and riffs that would make a voodoo bluesman proud, Marilyn Manson takes back his seat at the table for "The Pale Emperor." With 2012's "Born Villain," Manson seemed to be getting his full swagger back, and here he takes full advantage of his place as elder statesman and lead crank in the old school of LA evil that Manson had as his own court back in the "Dope Show" days.

The sound is sleeker and more percussive than usual, adding menace where before might have been labored screaming. Manson, to his credit, still uses all sorts of voices for dramatic effect to get what he wants, but instead of hectic he goes for menacing. "Killing Strangers," "The Pale Emperor's" pulsing opening cut, sounds like it slithered its way out of some hell-hounded biker bar, made even more so by Manson's insistence that "we got guns, you better run" growled in a nasty fashion. He's no longer tethered to a media that demands that he produce a hit "single," leaving him to operate as an outsider of sorts in his advancing years.

I mean that in a good way. The man who was once blamed for mass school shootings now plies his trade in TV and movies along with his music. (His multi-episode stint on "Sons Of Anarchy" was actually kind of funny.) So he can be, as he puts it himself, "The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles," all while sounding like he can still raise the devil when he wants to. He may sing that he's ready to meet his maker, but with "The Pale Emperor," Marilyn Manson still makes like he could scare that man off for a few more rounds. It's also been said that much of the album's songs were single takes. All the better to grit and glitter you with.


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Mar. 15th, 2015 12:08 pm
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blackleatherbookshelf: (Flames)
4 Out Of 5 Stars

On their last CD, Fall Out Boy announced their mission was to "Save Rock And Roll." On the follow-up, "American Beauty/American Psycho," it sounds like they're still headed out on that path. There's some righteous rock here. And there seems to be a theme here, it's all about the juxtapositions.

For example, the title track. You're blending a Brent Easton Ellis horror novel with a Grateful Dead album of classic Americana. Add Patrick Stump bouncing the word "Psycho" into a bouncy sing along, and you have the makings for a concert staple. The same with "Uma Thurman." Placing the "Pulp Fiction" star inside a song that mashes in the theme to "The Munsters" is something close to a work of genius. Then there's the heroics. Suzanne Vega's "dit dit doo doo" hook from "Tom's Diner" teases the intro before Stump challenges the listener. "You Will Remember Me...for Centuries" Stump wails to music meant to be played over a sports highlights reel. Same goes with "Immortals." Fall Out Boy are back to make rock that knows no limitations (there's nothing here that resembles a sappy ballad), and you'll have a very good time if you just let yourself follow along.



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