Album Review: We Are Chaos by Marilyn Manson (Loma Vista Recordings)

Marilyn Manson released their 11th studio album, entitled We Are Chaos, on the 11th of September via Loma Vista Recordings and Concord Music.

I didn’t realise how long it had been since his last release – Heaven Upside Down. It feels like that only came out a year or so ago but it was actually late 2017. Time flies when your locked in social bubbles I guess. Still, for me Marilyn Manson has become a bit of a quality scotch, He is just getting better and better as time goes by. After exploding onto the scene way back in the mid 90’s, he and his band mates literally turned music on it’s head. The self styled Antichrist Superstar crossed into the mainstream at an early age but not through the music, through fear and insecurity as this sexualised, forward speaking and challenging man became the bane of “good god fearing parents” globally.

Marilyn Manson We Are Chaos

Fast forward a few years and Manson still has the shock factor but has definitely matured. As his music has matured, I have found myself getting more and more enjoyment from it. Leading us on to this new album, We Are Chaos. As I said, it is the band’s 11th album and this time round Manson himself, with Shooter Jennings, handled all production duties. Manson also created the artwork himself, painting a water colour self portrait. This is very much his vision.

We Are Chaos comes with 10 tracks on it, though there is a deluxe version available that comes with 2 additional acoustic versions of songs. We Are Chaos gets underway with Red Black and Blue. A decent opener with a little synth and spoken word in the intro that builds up to a catchy drum and bass rhythm. The chorus hits bringing a little guitar chug as the title gets repeated at different vocal levels. The song keeps transitioning which I really love as we head into an acoustic part as Manson declares he is “sick of all of you, and our attitudes”.

The title track, We Are Chaos comes next and is a real diamond. I genuinely think this may be one of his best songs ever. I love it. A Manson styled ballad that hits with a gorgeous acoustic melody, special lyrical content and a little volume increase in the chorus. It is a special, special track that is a true display of modern Manson maturity. Don’t Chase the Dead has the tough task of following that. I love the slowed down groove to the riff. That catches your attention straight from the off. It has a bit of an 80’s vibe to this one with additional keys/synth making up the spine of the song. It’s catchy though, and well sung.

Paint You With My Love comes at us with another morose ballad. I love the intro to this one, it gushes emotion. Manson has such an intense singing voice and this track really showcases them nicely. It’s  a passionate song with so much to love. As a Manson fan who always preferred his darker ballad songs, like Coma White, this album is ticking a lot of boxes.

Half-Way & One Step Forward keeps the same style as it’s preceding track with a darker, melancholic song utilising soft melody and gravelly, slow vocals. This song smashes it with lyrics you have to admire. It’s pure modern poetry. Lines like “Don’t wanna know, don’t need to know, you got champagne problems” or “I need a raincoat for tomorrow, it’s about how much people cry, when you die”. Masterful. Infinite Darkness comes next and moves into creepy territory with Manson using a whispered demonic vocal style that works wonders. The song itself uses slow, dark effects for the verses with a distorted crunch of guitars exploding into life in the visceral chorus. Perfume hits us with a double dose of pure infectious magic. Listen to this song’s intro and try not to tap your foot, or bob your head along. It’s impossible.

The slowish tempo is great and the backing vocals of “get behind me” are perfect. Though, outside of the moments it isn’t quite up their with the standard of the rest of the album so far. Keep My Head Together brings a catchy drum beat into the mix with some dark, gravelly whispered vocals. It sets the scene nicely for the jump in volume with Manson singing out over a glorious lead line. It creates a bit of an anarchic clash as they appear out of time but I think that was the point. Talking about lyrically content – check this line out. “Don’t try changing for someone else, you’ll just end up changing yourself”. Manson is smashing it with lyrics here.

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We hit the end game starting with the penultimate track, Solve Coagula. Another slowed down, dark song with Manson pouring out emotion in very word. He sounds intensely passionate while the drums blaze out a powerful beat and the distorted guitars mix with cleaner lines. It’s another powerful, powerful example of modern Manson’s amazing song writing talent. That brings us through to the closing track and what a task that is. How do you close out such an amazing album? Well, with Broken Needle is how. Keeping the album trend, we stay in the emotional ballad territory with a song that should become a firm favourite of all Mason fans. It is passionate, pleading, deep and morose. The acoustic melody is glorious and the increase in intensity in the chorus works perfectly. It is a special song and the perfect wya to close out this special album.

So you can pretty much tell I think this album is fantastic with only a coupe songs that you could even nearly consider filler. Mostly, it is just single after single as Manson pours his heart and mind out. Restrained music, intricate sing structures all add to the feeling of being allowed inside his personal space. I do think there may be a fair few people who don’t love the album as the album really lacks any of his renowned up tempo anarchy. This is a much deeper cut. So maybe it won’t tick the boxes for everyone. For me though, this is Manson at his very best. Mature, intelligent, emotional and involving metal that brings heaviness of the emotional kind.

Pick yourself up a copy of We Are Chaos now from Marilyn Manson/Loma Vista Recordings here.

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We Are Chaos by Marilyn Manson (Loma Vista Recordings)
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