REVIEW: Marilyn Manson Takes the Throne as the King of Visual Kei in "Heaven Upside Down"

For the last few years, we've all had our eyes on Marilyn Manson, the young upstart gothic rock artist who many have hailed as the successor to Malice Mizer. We've watched this man grow a promising career with an act that was directly inspired by visual kei, and it has been an exciting experience. But it wasn't until his most recent album that Manson truly lived up to his potential. I'm happy to say that Heaven Upside Down is a true triumph for all of visual kei, and its release solidifies Marilyn Manson as the leading icon of the scene.

Heaven Upside Down Album Cover
1. Revelation #12
2. Tattooed in Reverse
4. SAY10
6. Saturnalia
7. JE$U$ CRI$I$
8. Blood Honey
9. Heaven Upside Down
10. Threats of Romance

As we all know, Marilyn Manson's name is a combination of the names of Marilyn Cole (January 1972 Playmate of the Month) and Shirley Manson (vocalist of the acclaimed 1990s alt-rock band Garbage). As such, Manson's music and lyrics focus on his attempts to balance his passion for erotic exhibitionism with his desire to create one-hit-wonder alt-rock songs. He continues to address these themes on Heaven Upside Down along with other related themes, such as murder.

Right off the bat, it's clear that Heaven Upside Down was heavily inspired by the gothic metal sounds and imagery used by the GazettE in their 2016 album DOGMA. Thankfully, Manson is able to create his own take on the concept by mixing it with rock and pop sounds reminiscent of 2000s-era Gackt. Overall, the album has a sinister sound that reflects many influences from other Japanese bands in subtle ways, from the dark themes of Dir En Grey to the anthemic choruses of Luna Sea

My personal favorite is the soft rock ballad "WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE". Its gentle tone and romantic lyrics are bound to make any woman swoon. "SAY10" also stands out for its name, which refers to Manson's ten favorite self-affirmation statements that he likes to repeat to himself in the mirror every morning before he starts his day (for those of you who don't know, he is a huge fan of the self-help book The Secret). 

It's also worth noting that the PVs for the songs on this album prominently feature the actor Johnny Depp in several moody poses. This adds huge value to the eroguro kei aesthetic that accompanies Manson's music, and is so meaningful that I don't even need to explain it. I honestly don't understand why more visual kei artists don't use A-list Hollywood celebrities; it would really help them gain more notoriety.

After spending dozens of minutes skimming some of the tracks on this album, I can definitively say that Marilyn Manson is now the new leader of the modern visual kei movement. It's so great to see this new visual kei artist ascend so quickly, and I'm sure the visual kei titans that influenced him are proud to see their legacy being carried on. Hopefully Marilyn Manson sets an example for other visual kei bands to stick to the same sound and concept, no matter how tired and overdone it may seem.

Click here to buy Heaven Upside Down
Share on Google Plus
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


Post a Comment