Jun 2012 25

Marilyn Manson - Born VillainMarilyn Manson
Category: Industrial Metal
Album: Born Villain
Stars: 3
Blurb: An album that, for better or for worse, marks a peak of Manson’s artistic standstill.


Imagine that Born Villain follows the playful, burlesque-inspired The Golden Age of Grotesque. Imagine that it comes without the crushing burden of the sappy, disappointing Eat Me, Drink Me and forgettable, mediocre The High End of Low. Imagine now, that with this newest release, Brian Warner doesn’t have to prove that there’s still place left for him on the musical landscape of tomorrow but is instead here to shock, entertain, and energize. Born Villain is an album on which numerous agendas fight for supremacy – a rebirth that defies laws of evolution and brings Manson back from the land of the lost in a perfectly preserved, unchanged form.

Like a Hitchcockian narrative, the album explodes with infectious verve and quickly makes the listener embrace this new/old Manson as the Earth keeps shattering under the rock & roll infused sound of “Hey, Cruel World.” The opening track is based around gravelling, catchy vocals that (for those overtly optimistic) quickly help establish Born Villain as a successful resurrection of an artist that by standards both musical and physical should be long dead. “No Reflection,” the album’s first single, initially attempts to sustain the same aggressive dynamic but falls short, breaking its own spot on pace with an unremarkable, bland chorus that unnecessarily slows down when instead it should be rocketing the tempo sky high. The following “Pistol Whipped” expands upon the love-stricken formula of Eat me, Drink Me while, thankfully, applying a masochistic sense of humour – a brand that Manson learned to wear with pride – exemplified by lyrics like, “Between our love is a bloodied nose, busted lip, and a blackened eye.”

As if aware of the weaknesses of some of the material, Manson arranged an effective opening that deteriorates into impenetrable mediocrity once Born Villain hits its halfway mark. This renders an initial listen an exercise in pointlessness as tracks begin to merge together. Although with every subsequent listen Born Villain appears to reveal certain subtleties, as “The Flowers of Evil” and “Children of Cain” both slowly sink in due to interesting guitar work, it inevitably suffers the greatest fault of Holy Wood… and The Golden Age… and remains, as a whole, unmemorable, brought down by the lack of overarching structure that could successfully bookmark beginning and the end. “Breaking the Same Old Ground,” “Disengaged,” and “Murderers are Getting Prettier Every Day” all consist of filler that on an album of greater originality would be harmless but here amplifies the overall lack of genuinely fresh ideas and damages Born Villain‘s resonance. The record doesn’t seem to flow coherently but is instead a sinusoid of constant ups and downs. Furthermore, almost every building block that served to erect Born Villain was perfected on one of the previous albums. The glam rock quality of “Slo-mo-tion” and restrained acoustic whiffs on “Born Villain” are reminiscent of Mechanical Animals, while the emotive vocal paired with precise drum work brings to mind the aforementioned Holy Wood…. Manson’s confidence in redeploying familiar tactics results in a strong but essentially unsurprising release.

Please note that this reviewer thought it appropriate for the star score to reflect the ambivalent appeal of this new material. Marilyn Manson’s hardened fans should, without much hesitation add half-a-star since Born Villain is an easily identifiable improvement upon the last two albums. Sadly, as a case of “too little, too late,” it doesn’t deliver stimuli that one came to associate with Marilyn Manson over the course of his career. Well written and well produced, Born Villain is a nostalgic postcard from the past that proves that there’s still spark left in Manson and it might be worth sticking around to see how big a fire it might cause when his next effort is due. For the time being though, you won’t be permanently replacing Antichrist Superstar on your shuffle list with any of the songs from this track list.
Track list:

  1. Hey, Cruel World
  2. No Reflection
  3. Pistol Whipped
  4. Overneath the Path of Misery
  5. Slo-Mo-Tion
  6. The Gardener
  7. The Flowers of Evil
  8. Children of Cain
  9. Disengaged
  10. Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms
  11. Murders are Getting Prettier Every Day
  12. Born Villain
  13. Breaking the Same Old Ground
  14. You’re So Vain

Marilyn Manson Website http://marilynmanson.com
Marilyn Manson MySpace http://www.myspace.com/marilynmanson
Marilyn Manson Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MarilynManson
Marilyn Manson Twitter http://twitter.com/marilynmanson
Marilyn Manson ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/marilynmanson
Cooking Vinyl USA Website http://cookingvinyl.com
Cooking Vinyl MySpace http://www.myspace.com/cookingvinylusa
Cooking Vinyl Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cookingvinylrecords
Cooking Vinyl Twitter http://twitter.com/cookingvinyl
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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