Marilyn Manson - Born Villain [Review]


25 Abr 2012, 13:11

It’s been a hell of a long time coming. Marilyn Manson, once popular for up heaving the music industry, fell into a state of sorrow and stagnation following his 2003 effort The Golden Age of Grotesque. Many followers would probably have you believe that 2001’s Holy Wood was the last “masterpiece” he put out with much of what has followed just filling the gaps and burning the bridges of his broken relationships and self pitying.

Born Villain is in essence a rebirth for the band and Marilyn Manson as a persona, only metaphorically speaking though as the record shamelessly steals bits and pieces from pretty much everything they have ever produced, this is in no way negative though and actually provides the album with a sturdy backbone and provides and instantly familiar feeling. As such, Villain is highly recommended as a starting point for the Manson uninitiated.

The opening track is a stomper, Hey, Cruel World… is a strong start and builds upon a distorted pulsating riff with guitars and breathy vocals. The track descends into thumping bass driven barbs with trademark Manson wines and growls. I find this track incredibly addictive; it has a definite punk influence and is my personal favourite opening track since Great Big White World. (8/10)

No Reflection is next, this track was launched as the albums lead single, and also provides Villain with its most commercial and radio friendly moments. This song is Manson death disco and perfect to dance too. The rhythm is bouncy and overlaid with whispers and sighs eventually leading into a somewhat repetitive chorus. This song is saved by the strength of its bass and attention to detail, certainly not the albums shining point. (6/10)

What a long introduction, this song has divided people it seems. Pistol Whipped is a grinding; pulsating, sexy tune that grinds its way through Manson trying to catch his breath. Nuances in this song such as the dual vocals and the dirty guitar strings really help prepare you for the quality of production on this album. Something fans haven’t seen since 2003, arguably. I personally feel the track falls a little flat with its lyrics, I guess no one cares when a song is this much fun. (7/10)

It’s been known as Born Villain, No Reason… now we have the final version of what is now known as Overneath the Path of Misery. It opens with a quote from Macbeth, harping back to the vocal delivery of Portrait Of An American Family. This song takes no prisoners, and should be played loud. Lyrically it’s one of the albums strongest, sonically it is jaw dropping. Proof that Marilyn Manson still has a lot to give and definitely on par with material from earlier albums. The song kind of plods along until breaking down into high-pitched screams and spoken word for the bridge and chorus. Very unexpected and brilliantly crafted, the bass on this is simply fantastic. (8/10)

Okay, I have a soft spot for Mansons more “produced” and “synthetic” songs, a la Mechanical Animals. This song HIT THE SPOT for me. The lyrics are sarcastic and quirky and the vocal delivery is pant wettingly hot. Slo-Mo-Tion is such a clever little track with amazing attention to details in the form of lots of little noises and blips scattered all over. The delivery of the lyrics is my favourite part; it’s almost in slow motion (see what he did there?). Of all the tracks on Born Villain this is the dirtiest, definitely one to grind too. (9/10)

You wouldn’t be blamed if you thought that a Nine Inch Nails song had been accidentally placed on your copy of the album, very reminiscent of Only, only with more confidence and more thump. The Gardener reminds me of The High End Of Lows more experimental moment, WOW. The spoken verses work surprisingly well and are carried effortlessly along with powerful bass and guitars. The breakdown toward the end helps break up the monotony and showcases some of Manson’s clearer vocal performances in a long time. My only gripe with this is that it feels like it could have been more. (7/10)

The Flowers of Evil is next, featuring a lengthy introduction comprised of noise, this time more reminiscent of albums like Smells Like Children. This is another track that has divided opinion; I’ll say right now that it’s one of my absolute favourites. Musically it’s varied and interesting and follows brilliantly from The Gardener. The track is unexpected and goes places you think it wont, it layers itself slowly, progressively building up to a fantastic climax. Lyrically I like the zombie references, I assumes it’s about being dead (or undead) in some form. His vocals are crisp here, and the wailing and growling toward the end had my knees buckling. Kudos to Vrenna, even more great synthetic nuances. The standout track for me. (10/10)

Oh, how I love the introduction to this track. Another track reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails, this time in the form of Closer (this quickly changes however). Children of Cain is interesting and took some time to grow on me, it would have fit in place on Holy Wood and has the same goth / doom sound to it. Very bass driven and very deep it’s another track that pounds along to Manson wailing and growling. Lyrically it’s interesting containing clear references to religion and politics and possibly even witchcraft (?) I can imagine that this could be interesting live. (9/10)

Disengaged is the only on here I’m still not sure on. It has a very distinct sound, the instruments sound booming and dull, almost blunt. It’s another thumping number, with more growls and whispers. It’s a little similar to No Reflection, but has more fun with its guitars and the shocking introduction of a piano toward the end. Lyrically I think it’s weak, and I find the chorus boring. I can see the appeal; maybe it will continue to grow on me. It’s certainly nice to have a track as heavy as this considering the lack of them on the past two records. (6/10)

Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms follows, finding Manson experimenting with rhythm and vocal delivery. Interestingly it pays off, I didn’t love this song initially as it doesn’t seem to go anywhere in particular but the bass and guitar work is brilliant and builds up to an unbearable crescendo. The breakdown at the end won me over, I love the vocal work and the heavy thrashing of the instruments. This song is loud and bombastic and will go down very well live I imagine. (7/10)

This next song has got to be Mansons loudest work since Holy Wood. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day is like a punch in the face and it refuses to let up from beginning to end. The guitar work here is amazing, so relentless. Lyrically it’s very fitting to Antichrist Superstar and has a similar feel to it as some of the heavier tracks from that album. The added siren at the end was a surprise that I was unsure of, it sounds fantastic on headphones however. The latter third of this track grabs you by the throat and throttles you until it’s conclusion. I really hope he can pull this off live as I think it has the most potential. (8/10)

Born Villain, luckily, let’s up and gives you ears a much-needed rest. The opening reminded me a little of Four Rusted Horses which worried me initially. Luckily this develops far beyond that and crafts a really interesting sound quite unlike any of his previous work. I’m not sure if this song is a ballad per se, it is however slow and melodic with sharp and clear vocal delivery. The lyrical repetition works effectively on this track helping it to bury it’s way into your head; Born Villain encompasses the album brilliantly, and clearly defines Manson as a weapon or a gun. My only complaint at this point, which can be said for a few of the songs here, is that this would have benefited greatly from live drums. (8/10)

And onto the albums official closer, and only real full ballad. Breaking the Same Old Ground has a Coma Black / Man That You Fear feel to it, I love this track and think it’s a great way to close such a relentless and heavy album. Lyrically it could be stronger but again, the attention to detail here and the heart wrenching vocal delivery really elevate it above any of the ballads found on the past two records. It doesn’t fuss too much about being too interesting or experimental and plays it relatively safe, but to say that it’s possibly the only track on here that does, that’s impressive. A special mention to the key change at the end, a masterful trick! (9/10)

Here is another album closer (only this is a bonus track) and another Marilyn Manson cover song. You’re so Vain sticks very closely to the original, and has a brain melting introduction… How great this would be on a dance floor. The addition of Johnny Depp isn’t noticed, which is either good or bad depending on how you look at it. Manson rarely disappoints with his cover songs and this is no exception, its one of his more basic renditions and sticks to simple sounds and vocals. The rolling guitars and bass provide a great hook and sound tasty through headphones. I have to say this is one of my favourite covers of his due to its raw sound. Fantastic. (9/10)

Overall 8/10


  • MoonOfNeptune

    Good review. I agree with the ratings too, No Reflection is a weak song compared to the others. Strong and addictive album, haters are fuckin' cyincs!

    29 Abr 2012, 15:37
  • a-arraiz

    The only rating I would change is Children of Cain, I find it perfect. The rest of it is well said.

    29 Abr 2012, 18:53
  • baybyby

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    1 May 2012, 14:40
  • MonoOverload


    2 May 2012, 0:23
  • AlanVext

    Good, well written review. However I would look upon No Reflection and Disengaged with keener eyes, but we are all subject to subjectivity :)

    4 May 2012, 5:55
  • Violator-ka

    liked the first impression from the album, I think it's on the same level of quality as previous ones. I know, somebody can say that "Antichrist Superstar" is the greatest ever, but every single album suits it's time perfectly, "BV" as well. Will see Manson performing in Moscow May 26th, will see how it works live.

    13 May 2012, 9:52
  • Candyscar

    ahh brilliant review. I always like the track by track reviews. Personally i quite like no reflection, maybee my fav track which is rare as the singles are rrely my favoites. Chilren of Cain to me sounds like a direct rehash of Man that you Fear, but i still regard it as a stand out track. I think the album lacks any amazing tracks, but as a whole i agree that it is the strongest album since Holywood. Seeing him live in London in about 2 weeks so can't wait to hear some of these new ones live

    20 Jun 2012, 17:24
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