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Thread: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

  1. #1
    Jakob Synn's Avatar
    Join Date: 08.19.09
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    Default The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    Crystalarts Album Reviews

    Marilyn Manson - The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished contribute to this low of Mansons career with only a handful of songs being the high. - 5/10

    The fall from grace

    It has been 2 years since Marilyn Mansons last album, Eat Me Drink Me (7/10), which received mixed reactions from the press and fans. The album was very guitar driven with Tim Skold being the major musical influence on the album. The fact that the guitars were overbearing and more central than the music and lyrics put a lot of fans off, dismissing it as a collaboration effort or a Manson solo effort. The fact that it was driven by self pity and heartbreak did not impress many either. For his latest effort, The High End of Low Tim Skold has been replaced with long time friend and Original Manson member Twiggy Ramirez. The news of this reunion, apparently as a result of Manson seeing Page and Plant in concert, was met with great enthusiasm by the older generation of Manson fans. The hope of a return to form and a good old hate driven assault was suddenly not so unrealistic.


    Antichrist Superstar (8/10), Mechanical Animals (8/10) and Holywood (8/10) are the three key albums that the majority of fans hold up as being the ultimate Manson albums and what defines Manson. The change of direction on the Golden age of Grotesque (7/10) left many fans disillusioned or unimpressed. The fact he had abandoned the concept album and abandoned the raw sound which Twiggy was largely responsible for left many with the impression that Manson was out of ideas. In fact, Manson probably realised he needed to label himself differently after bowling for columbine exposed him as an intelligent artist who had something reasonable to say. Indeed he was no longer the scary monster that parents feared. Manson transformed himself into a more media friendly, clown like, poke fun of himself character who was more interested in making music than worrying about criticising society. - Everything has been said before, nothing left to say anymore.



    It seemed to be going quite well for Manson. Songs in the Matrix Soundtrack, supporting roles in films, A book in progress as well as a plan to bring a script to film. He even dared to tell the world he had quite music and would not be releasing another album (which he didnt for 4 years). Unfortunately, a content Manson didnt work. His marriage failure to Dita Von Teese followed with a relationship with a much younger Rachel Evan Woods. His misguided confidence led him out of musical retirement with an album which many fans rejected. This led to further Drug and Absinthe abuse and the eventual break up of his relationship to Rachel Evan Woods. 6 months later his new album was ready with Manson promising to wreak havoc with his Music and with the suggestion that Marilyn Manson had finally found himself again and was back!. This is where The High End Of Low begins..



    Inward looking inspiration



    At first listen this is very different from all other Manson albums before it. The album doesnt have a specific sound or theme which are both key elements of a Manson album. The sounds are familiar however, taking inspiration from his 6 last studio albums. Each albums sound seems to have a place in this latest album, perhaps giving fans a sense of what Twiggy would have brought to the table had he been involved in the last 2 albums. The sound is rawer, largely due to Twiggys guitar whilst Mansons voice is back to its screeching best. The album itself is very long with a whopping 15 songs and a 9 minute centrepiece.



    The album opens, in a similar style to Eat Me, Drink Me with the song Devour which builds up from emotional anguish brought on from a horrible relationship gone wrong through to a screeching end with Manson shouting my pains not afraid to repeat itself A clear indication that this could very well be Eat Me, Drink Me part 2. Although the song is a decent opener for a 15 song album, it is an unfortunate indication as to what this album is going to be dealing with. The dreaded self pity and heartache.



    The second Song, Pretty as a Swastika, sees a return to form for Manson. This is classic heavy Manson shouting at his very best and it would not look out of place on Antichrist superstar. It is loud and it is catchy and it has some decent lyrics. The song sounds pretty short which adds to the unfinished/underproduced rawness that Manson is trying to achieve on this album. Leave a scar, the next song, seems a bit out of place in terms of pace following a song such as pretty as a swastika . It is not just the pace of the song which is out of place however. With a song almost as bad as his last 2 attempts at pop (Heart Shaped Glasses and Putting holes in Happiness both on Eat Me, Drink Me), leave a scar is a poor attempt at a Bon Jovi sounding, radio friendly song. There is nothing particularly wrong with it other than the fact that it is the type of song you would expect from a teenager writing for the first time both lyrically (lost love) as well as musically. Most mediocre bands can perform this kind of average boring song, and most do it much much better.



    Luckily the next song is not quite as dreadful. Four Rusted Horses is a welcome surprise on this album. The beat and sound is very Johnny Cash during his comeback years. It has a slight country feel to it with a glam rocky chorus. This as well as the following song are clearly a nod to his Mechanical Animals album. Despite the positives of the song, the lyrics could extend to more than a couple of lines repeated throughout. The repetitive lyrics and melody ruin what could have been a fabulous song and can only be listened to so many times. The four horsemen theme continues in the next song although again, it feels out of place. arma-goddamn-mother-f@$kin-geddon, which albeit is very entertaining to watch on MTV due to the amount that has been cut, fails to really take off. There is an attempt at making this a glam rock song however it would never make the cut on Mechanical Animals and it is only mildly entertaining for a few listens before the over the top swearing becomes monotonous.



    blank and white is an interesting fusion of Holywood style screaming/singing with a more rolling stones like sound. The song could potentially be the high point of the album had it not been for the poor lyrics. Mansons strengths have always been in his lyric writing but this album really fails in this category and this song is amongst the poorest ruining a song that potentially could have made it on any of his last 2 albums as a standout song.



    running to the edge of the world is the next song and is lyrically quite similar to Lsat day on Earth whilst sounding like Man that you fear. The song, a ballad, is actually reminiscent of take my breath away from top gun and is actually a very strong song although it is a bit static and again, doesnt really TAKE OFF All in all however it gets pass marks.



    The masterpiece



    This brings us to the centrepiece of the album. I want to kill you like they do in the movies , as with the title, is long. It is a 9 minute song that was originally cut from an 18 minute jamming session which most likely found inspiration in the Doors The End. Manson tries to replicate what he has done in the past with mind of a lunatic and his short film Doppelhertz from the Golden Age of Grotesque Era. The difference with this song however is that he finally succeeds where the other 2 songs have fallen. Indeed, this is his best song since the Holywood album. The song could arguably find its place on any of his albums. This is the only song on the album where the emotion feel genuine. The lyrics are basic, to the point, heartfelt and confused. Mansons voice sounds brilliant with occasions of lunacy creeping in that remind you of Jim Morrisons Father, yes son, I want to kill you!!!. This is truly a magnificent song and deserves the unedited 18 minute version release.



    Manson continues his obvious experimental style with WOW. This is, musically at least, clearly a Bowie inspired song. Unusually though, Manson does not soley borrow from Bowies Glam past as he has done so often and instead focuses on borrowing from Low too. This is perhaps the strangest Manson track, and although the lyrics,which again cover lost relationships and betrayal, are relatively simple, it fits with the style of the music. Again, a better topic could have made this a standout song but unfortunately due to the repetitiveness of the lyrics throughout the album it starts getting boring.



    wight spider is the next song which is average and could have been left off the album. It has its high points, but there is nothing stand out about this song which has a sound off the holywood album but which lacks the change in pace found in many of those songs. In saying that it is a far better effort than the next song, unkillable Monster which is Leave a scar part 2 and very uninspiring. Lyrically it is terrible , with misplaced self pity and forced swearing that just doesnt seem believable.. Believable is the problem with the next song too. The idea is good. Manson doing punk (perhaps following Queens Sheer Heart Attack example) and attacking war and America in a song called were from America. Unfortunately for a punk song it sounds too structured and again forced. The song deals with old issues that countless artists have dealt with before him. The song itself is ok, with the topic being a welcome break from the usual heartbreak and revenge but it just doesnt do enough to merit an inclusion on the album. The only reason it made it must be due to its concert friendly chorus.



    The next song, I have to look up just to see hell is a typical Manson song which sounds like it came off the Eat Me, Drink Me reject list. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the song is quite decent, but it brings nothing new to the table. The song does however feature much better lyrics than on most of the album (which adds to the Eat Me, Drink Me theory) which makes it a more enjoyable listen than the previous 4 songs.



    into the fire is the final song on the album, or was supposed to be. This is a song which makes a fabulous closing song. Into the fire features a beautiful classical piano (similar to the type found on The Hunger, starring David Bowie) .and ends with a nice guitar solo. This is a fine song with a very nice melody but again is let down slightly by the lyrics. The guitar solo at the end also lacks the freedom of a proper guitar player such as John5 and plays it too safe. The song is one of the highlights of the album however.



    The final song 15, number 15 on the track list was a late inclusion and is the only song on the album which doesnt remind you of Mansons previous work. The song is in fact remarkably upbeat for a Manson song and sounds completely different to his usual heavy or glam based formula. The song feels almost like a new beginning and again is one of the highlights of the album. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come..



    The end?



    When looking at this album, Mansons biggest problem is not so much that the lyrics are repetitive. It is more to do with the fact that they seem insincere at best. Manson is clearly an egotistical individual who takes too much drugs and treats women poorly. His childish behaviours along with warped perceptions of human behaviour in relationships, which he sings about in the album, can hardly be related to and you can certainly not feel sorry for the fool who sings about it. The album is supposed to be his release. Manson claims he has found himself and has renewed confidence and knows who he is at long last. The fact he is currently over weight looking like a lost soul at times, giving horrible interviews and trying too hard to be a rebel and crazy really doesnt back up these claims or indeed the lyrics of this album. In fact he seems more lost than ever. His drug misuse goes against what he has always believed in and his desperate 158 calls in one night to Rachel seem to indicate a broken man and not the God of F@$k that he was once known as and who he clearly is trying to prove he still is/wants to be.



    Aside from the fact that the album hasnt progressed beyond Eat Me Drink Me in terms of topic, and that it seems insincere, the album as a whole feels rather incomplete or forced. For whatever reasons, the album feels like it was rushed out. Perhaps Manson was over eager to work with Twiggy and get his sound back. Perhaps there is the ongoing issues with the record company or perhaps he truly cannot get over the relationship breakups. Either way, more time should have been spent on the album.



    The album should have been a step away from Eat Me, Drink Me which dealt with the feelings of loneliness and love and hatred towards those who dared deceive him. Unfortunately it is merely a different version of the album. There are glimpses of clarity and promise. 15, into the fire, wow, blank and white and Four rusted horses all bring something new to the table in one way or another but seem to be lacking that final touch.. Apart from I want to kill you. Which is a masterpiece, the Manson Factor which has been evident in most of what he has written in the past seems to be gone in this album.



    Manson will have to pick himself up from this and start concentrating on a new theme and start creating music with a focus taking the best of this album and the best of Twiggy if he is to salvage what is left of his music career. He has the ability and has shown glimpses of it on this album but he genuinely needs to find the high end of low.



    5/10

  2. #2
    I am another yourself. Dronepool's Avatar
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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    They do make some good points (coming from someone who likes the whole album but could see what they mean)



  3. #3
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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    Really? They're trying to make the album out as a failure but I think the real failure was their journalism. For a start, do some research (Rachel Evan Woods? Twiggy the original bassist?). Secondly, lay off on the "he's fat and abuses drugs and women" thing. Your job is to review an album, not the artist's personal life. Lastly, the album is good, and that's all there is to it. The review as a whole comes off as being written by someone who has little understanding for music as an art, as opposed to music as money, or is one of those who praise Green Day for their groundbreaking American Idiot. There should be some sort of qualification to write music reviews.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    Speaking as someone who has never been paid to write a music review, I certainly hope this person wasn't, I could pull something better from my ass. And no, that isn't a criticism necessarily of grammar choices (even though there are some terrible moments here), but rather belittlement of a review that attempts to prove itself well-versed and researched by assuming a fabricated position of understanding Manson's appeal to his older fanbase, and his cultural position at large.

    It's interesting actually, that people focus so heavily on the cultural and political criteria of Antichrist Superstar, and fail to see the inherent similarities between that album and The High End of Low. It's been more apparent to me lately that for every indictment of disposable, self-indulgent society on Antichrist Superstar, there is a similar statement on The High End of Low, people just miss it due to instantly expecting it to be voiced in the same manner. I mean, consider the self-deprecatory, penalised pity of Man That You Fear, or Kinderfeld, or Dried Up, Tied And Dead To The World next to some of the material on this new record, or place We're From America, Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin'-Geddon or Blank And White next to 1996, or The Reflecting God. They might not be as powerful at turning our heads, but then they wouldn't be, because we already have our heads turned. I'm not suggesting that those songs are the same as one another either, but rather that in perspective, there are enough similarities, but they are just presented by a different version of Marilyn Manson, and so the effect is not identical. That however, does not make it invalid.

    Anyway, my overall opinion is that even if I agreed with the majority of points being made here (which I don't), I would still consider this to be a poorly researched diatribe, so it's a good job the opinions I make of albums are the ones I write, not the ones I read.

    Incidentally, the one tiny part of this review that I felt showed a moment of inspiration was the comparison between I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies, and Jim Morrison's Oedipal scream in The End; not only due to the the phrase "I want to kill you", but also because of them both being part of a literal "End" (of Low).

    Also, the utter irony of the review digits being 5 and 10 is hopefully not beyond anyone...
    "the Serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which
    the LORD god had made
    "

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    Quote Originally Posted by S.D.
    Speaking as someone who has never been paid to write a music review, I certainly hope this person wasn't, I could pull something better from my ass. And no, that isn't a criticism necessarily of grammar choices (even though there are some terrible moments here), but rather belittlement of a review that attempts to prove itself well-versed and researched by assuming a fabricated position of understanding Manson's appeal to his older fanbase, and his cultural position at large.
    This is it exactly.

    It's interesting actually, that people focus so heavily on the cultural and political criteria of Antichrist Superstar, and fail to see the inherent similarities between that album and The High End of Low. It's been more apparent to me lately that for every indictment of disposable, self-indulgent society on Antichrist Superstar, there is a similar statement on The High End of Low, people just miss it due to instantly expecting it to be voiced in the same manner. I mean, consider the self-deprecatory, penalised pity of Man That You Fear, or Kinderfeld, or Dried Up, Tied And Dead To The World next to some of the material on this new record, or place We're From America, Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin'-Geddon or Blank And White next to 1996, or The Reflecting God. They might not be as powerful at turning our heads, but then they wouldn't be, because we already have our heads turned. I'm not suggesting that those songs are the same as one another either, but rather that in perspective, there are enough similarities, but they are just presented by a different version of Marilyn Manson, and so the effect is not identical. That however, does not make it invalid.
    Yes, agreed. It's something I thought myself when reading the review. It seems to be presenting the opinion that Manson singing about his personal feelings and emotional upheaval is a bad habit he's fallen in to over the past couple of albums. But that's what he's always done. At the end of the day ACSS is more about him and what he was going through than any criticism of America. You could probably even say the same for much of Holy Wood.

    Also, the utter irony of the review digits being 5 and 10 is hopefully not beyond anyone...
    Actually, yeah it went by me, but now it's like *facepalm*
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  6. #6
    Blissfully Wicked spaceSuicide's Avatar
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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    Quote Originally Posted by S.D.
    Also, the utter irony of the review digits being 5 and 10 is hopefully not beyond anyone...
    OMG 15?!
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  7. #7

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    Default Re: The High End of Low Rushed, forced and unfinished 5/10

    this review is slightly funny. this person needs to be fired from writing reviews. he sucks, certainly.

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