Album Review: Marilyn Manson - 'Born Villain'

3 May 2012 | 11:44 am | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

The beginning of the end.

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Those who witnessed the pathetic attempt at a performance that Marilyn Manson offered on the last Soundwave tour would know to heavily question whether or not the shock rocker has any fuel left in the tank. The answer can somewhat be found in Manson's latest release, 'Born Villain,' which he has touted as his "comeback" album, something he has gone to decent lengths to confirm, including recording the album in the dingy apartment in which he made 'Antichrist Superstar.'

While the set-up all seems fine, the music itself is uninspired and at times about as energetic as his last round of live shows. The downer may be the fact that Manson is doing the same thing he always has and the spark has faded, the shock elements seem more like he is trying hard to shock as opposed to being naturally shocking.

Opening track Hey Cruel World builds slowly then explodes to a head thumping stomp with Manson firing up for the chorus lines screaming "Hey cruel world, we don't have what it takes" in his tortured squeal. This is followed by the single No Reflection, a song that sounds like a culmination of all other Manson singles and fails to be very exciting.

The first glimmer of hope comes in the form of Pistol Whipped (when it eventually begins), with the lyrics becoming more shockingly believable as Manson softly croons about a violent relationship with evil sounding guitars and creepy melody lines. Slo-mo-tion is another highlight as it incorporates some different sounds, especially in the guitars which mirror some classic rock and roll, with Manson cruising along with a relaxed swagger in his vocal phrasing.

The shock rocker gets back to his poetic roots on The Gardener with some spoken word performances during the verses before an electronic romp that channels his past Nine Inch nails affiliates on Children Of Cain. An element of groove is incorporated in Disengage which once again sees Manson open up and find his aggression in its chorus lines before the sludge rock inspired Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms.

Usually cover versions are one of Marilyn Manson’s strong points, but this time round he has missed the mark by a long shot. Ending the record with his own take on Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, the track could have been something special but instead is half assed. Just barley giving it the Manson work over, but essentially wasting an opportunity, the version is pretty much the same as the original but with Manson’s dark guitar tones.

‘Born Villain’ is okay, and will certainly keep diehard Manson fans happy, but those of us who feel that it is time for Marilyn Manson to evolve or die will probably note this as the beginning of the end.

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. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day
12. Born Villain
13. Breaking the Same Old Ground