Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos
Goth rocker Marilyn Manson returns with his staggering 11th studio album We Are Chaos, a dark but reflective turn in his prolific career that offers up his most abstract work to date. Moving towards an inevitably controversial “soft” territory, We Are Chaos proves one of Manson’s most divisive works in years, blending new influences with classic rock to explore himself, society and artistry at large.
Approaching We Are Chaos as a concept album, Manson confidently pulls the listener through its ten-track length with his well-seasoned hooks and a more impressive ability to transition between heavier and softer tones. For instance, stand-out bop Perfume offers a suitably intense vocal performance from Manson, paired with ritualistic drums, while making room for Bowie-inspired pseudo-acoustic piece Don’t Chase the Dead. Across these transitions, Manson keeps his messaging of introspective and nihilistic philosophy consistent, creating a sense of an artist taking time to truly invest in a new direction for their work, even if it is decidedly bleak.
However, despite offering a varied listening journey across its tonally distinct tracks, We Are Chaos struggles to maintain a constant appeal. With the strong glam rock, new wave and post-punk influences brought forward, Manson offers unexpected instrumentals and a fresh take on his music, but at points fails to deliver the spectacle and intensity which fans have come to love and expect from his work since his Antichrist Superstar days. To this end, title track We Are Chaos takes a strong pop-inspired direction that ultimately feels disconnected from Manson’s dark lyrics to the point of awkwardness. Similarly, Half-Way & One Step Forward‘s repetitive chorus and mellow, melancholic synths fail to match up to the album’s more dynamic moments, which embody Manson’s more familiar but still emotionally rich back catalogue.
We Are Chaos is, in many ways, Marilyn Manson’s biggest creative risk since 2015’s The Pale Emperor. Manson grasps his roots firmly to pull them towards a new direction, with an admirable level of confidence, but where he ends up is yet to be seen as steady ground for this legendary rock star.
We Are Chaos is released on 11th September 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Marilyn Manson’s website here.
Watch the video for Don’t Chase the Dead here: