Album Review: Marilyn Manson - Born Villain

12 June 2012 | 4:34 pm | Dominique Wall

Manson’s relevance has been detrimentally affected over the past five years, so it’s going to take some doing to regain his standing. Born Villain is a leap in the right direction.

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The term “return to form” has been used so much that it has become somewhat of a cliché, but it really is the most appropriate way to describe Born Villain, the latest offering from Marilyn Manson. It does, however, beg the question: is it too little, too late? Following two dodgy albums which, by his own admission (more or less), served more as an excuse for Marilyn Manson (the man) to have a whinge, he has moved to his own label (Hell, Etc), changed his songwriting focus and delivered a decent reminder of when he and his band were at their disconcerting best.

Born Villain sees Manson take up a guitar for the first time. Pay attention to Pistol Whipped if you're particularly interested in checking out his guitar prowess.

The biggest surprise on the album, it must be said, is the cover of You're So Vain (added as a silent track), featuring none other than actor Johnny Depp on guitar and drums (he also helped produce the track). As is the case with all cover versions Marilyn Manson has done throughout the years, it's great. According to Manson, he and Depp thought the tune would be “an amusing complement to the record”.

Had this album been released after 2003's Golden Age Of Grotesque, it would have packed a far heavier punch than it has. Manson's relevance has been detrimentally affected over the past five years – let's face it, it wouldn't be too big a stretch to say he became boring – so it's going to take some doing to regain his standing. Born Villain is a leap in the right direction.

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