Marilyn Manson - “We Are Chaos” Review
It is very rare for a band to release 11 studio albums.
It is even more rare for a band to release some of their best work in their 11th studio album, a feat that rock band Marilyn Manson has accomplished with “WE ARE CHAOS.”
Front man Marilyn Manson described the project as a concept album. By teaming up with country-music guitarist Shooter Jennings, the band has found a way to create a wholly original sound that borrows just as much from David Bowie as it does from Elton John, with its mix of synthetic sounds and piano.
Manson has always been an experimental group, but every song has that unique style brought on from the variations of Marilyn Manson’s Bowie-like vocals in “DON’T CHASE THE DEAD” and the album’s big single, the self-titled “WE ARE CHAOS,” to his raw screams in songs like “RED BLACK AND BLUE” and “INFINITE DARKNESS.”
Manson’s range as a front man has never been more on display, as it’s some of the strongest singing of his career.
It is hard to believe that a country guitar player like Shooter Jennings would be able to compliment the bleakness of this album so well. Yet, when you hear the work that he puts into a song like “PAINT YOUR LOVE,” you really see the soul that Jennings adds to this album. His simple cords perfectly balance with Manson’s remorseful vocals.
The piano play in “HALF-WAY & ONE STEP FORWARD” is exceptional and really gives the song an Elton-John feel, where the piano and the vocals complement each other, creating a song better than its parts.
But what truly makes this album great is the massive shift in tone that it takes with its final five songs, which sound more like classic Marilyn Manson. The heavy industrial tones of “INFINITE DARKNESS” matches perfectly with the heavier songs like “KEEP MY HEAD TOGETHER,” and “SOLVE COAGULA.”
The darkness of the second half is a great contrast to the comparatively lighter first five songs that came before. Jennings is also more than ready to replace his country style twang with heavy distorted riffs while somehow still retaining the soul his guitar playing brings out.
Like “chaos” itself, this album bounces between various points.
Manson has never been more experimental, and it’s a bit of a shame that the final five songs, while still great, show a reversion to the more “classic” Marilyn Manson sound.
The risks taken by Manson and Jennings as songwriters make one wish that one or two more songs could have been more experimental.
That being said, this is still a fantastic album and probably the band’s best since 1996’s “Antichrist Superstar.” Most of the risks taken with the songwriting and instruments payoff and the back-half of the album will certainly please the hardcore Marilyn Manson fans.
“WE ARE CHAOS” stakes its claim as one of the best albums of 2020.
Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “WE ARE CHAOS”, “DON’T CHASE THE DEAD”, “INFINITE DARKNESS” and “SOLVE COAGULA”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: N/A
David Fortunato is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.