If Marilyn Manson didn’t play all his tricks on the first two albums then certainly by the time of 1998’s Mechanical Animals the shock and awe was done. And there had been a sidestep to show that David Bowie was clearly a huge influence. Since then it’s been 12 years of boring attempts at shock-rock across four albums that are not memorable at all.
It’s been the same old thing – that slow-croak vocal that drips down to the end of the line and guitars that rev up in the parking lot then simply do the boy-racer circuit round the block. Put them on the real racetrack and they’re nothing.
But Manson has been rebuilding, 2009’s The High End Of Low was the best of a forgettable bunch and that was because Twiggy Ramirez (guitars, bass, keyboards) and Chris Vrenna (keyboards, production) were back in the fold. Experienced players from the Nine Inch Nail staple and key to the Marilyn Manson sound these two are here for Born Villain too.
Vrenna is playing the drums now. This plus the fact that Manson was booted off his label and had to create his own suggest an urgency that hasn’t been there even if musically it is still the same trick.