We Are Chaos solidifies that not only has Manson not outgrown his welcome, he has further developed and improved his songwriting.
In the late 1980’s when industrial rock group ‘Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids’ first started making traction in the South Florida music community there were a lot of naysayers. People that believed the whilst the gothic imagery and shock factor of the bands lyricism provided discontented teens an outlet; the music would ultimately grow to fall under the category of a ‘fad.’
Well, it’s been 30 years and Brian Warner, also known as the eponymous ‘Marilyn Manson’ is now 51 and releasing his 11th studio album.
With a woozy sombre spoken word appearance at the beginning of ‘Red Black and Blue’, Manson’s vocals drag the listener through melancholic lines such as “All I can see are Gods on the left and demons to the right” before the tune is found in a pounding drum beat that felt like a self homage to earlier material such as ‘Get Your Gunn’. Finding its greatest moment in the song’s bridge, ‘Red Black and Blue’ concludes with a riff and vocal structure that can only be likened to raw rock edginess of ‘Songs For The Dead’ era ‘Queens of the Stoneage.’
Being the lead single from the album ‘We Are Chaos’ provides for the most uplifting Manson song I have ever encountered, even if its lyrics may insinuate the opposite. In it’s opening moments I found the country styled acoustic guitars and inspiring tone to the vocals may have been a bit of a pastiche for Manson, who I have always revered as being incredibly forward-thinking. That being said, I will admit to eating my words. By the conclusion of the song I was wholeheartedly won over. It’s the kind of anthemic song that you can imagine Manson adopting a God-like approach when he plays it live to his legions of followers that’ll be sure to be screaming the lyrics along.
The simplistic drumming and what sounds like a theremin gives ‘Don’t Chase the Dead’ an early Dandy Warhols feel. But whilst I draw comparisons, ‘Don’t Chase the Dead’ does have a Manson feel to it; just a much more matured and refined approach. It’s the kind of music Manson should be making; the kind that will further immortalise him as an icon of goth as he does approach an older age. It’s something very few pull off but for the likes of Manson it comes with ease.
Dropping the tempo for a slow dance number, ‘Paint You With My Love’ highlights the level of artistry that Marilyn Manson continues to possess. The mesmerising angular piano line towards the end of the song is further strengthened by the incredible screams that tie in. It’s uncompromisingly Manson at his rawest.
With some unique instrumentation such as snare side hits on ‘Infinite Darkness’, an electronic wood-wind sound found in ‘Keep My Head Together’ as well as an incredible guitar solo on ‘Solve Coagula’; it is clear that stagnancy wasn’t an option for this release.
Although a lot his 90’s contemporaries may have outgrown their heyday, We Are Chaos solidifies that not only has Manson not outgrown his welcome, he has further developed and improved his songwriting.
I can’t think of a single musician who I respect more as a person than Marilyn Manson, but did I ever expect his 11th studio album to be one of my favourites of his catalogue? No.
Am I surprised? Yes.
Would I rank it alongside what many see as his trilogy of albums from 96-2000? Yes.