Archive for Marilyn Manson

Iza’s Highlights of 2020

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , on 31st December 2020 by izaforestspirit

What a strange year… One of the worst in recent history. 2020 will go down in history as the year of the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. A year of lockdowns, cancellations, quarantines, sickness and death. Yet despite all this hardship, 2020 was also a year during which some great music was created. So as we look to a better and healthier 2021, let’s look back at some of the good stuff that came out this year. Here are my highlights of 2020:

1. Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos
Genre: Alternative Rock

MARILYN MANSON | We are chaos - Nuclear Blast
  • Just when I think that Marilyn Manson’s well of creativity has run dry after the last two studio efforts, he returned with what is quite possibly his strongest album in decades. As written in my review ‘We Are Chaos’ “sounds like the spiritual little brother of Mechanical Animals”. Favorite tracks: ‘Half-Way & One Step Forward’, ‘Don’t Chase The Dead’ and the title track.

    2. Vader – Solitude in Madness
    Genre: Death Metal
Vader - Solitude in Madness
  • If you are planning to check out some death metal this year I would strongly recommend giving ‘Solitude In Madness’ a listen. Classic Vader doing what they do best. If you like death metal with thrash metal tinge (aka death-thrash metal) then this is the album for you. Favorite tracks: ‘Shock And Awe’, ‘Emptiness’ and ‘Into Oblivion’.

    3. Carach Angren – Frackensteina Strataemontanus
    Genre:Symphonic Black Metal

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus
  • A new discovery for me. A friend of mine recommended this band to me and after watching some of their videos I was hooked. I’m surprised that it took me this long to find out about them. They are similar to bands such as Dimmu Borgir (old stuff), Cradle of Filth and Chthonic. This symphonic horror masterpiece is my favorite symphonic black metal album of 2020. Favorite tracks: ‘Monster’, ‘Operation Compass’ and ‘Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam’.

    4. Apocalyptica – Cell 0
    Genre: Symphonic Heavy Metal
Apocalyptica - Cell-0
  • Apocalyptica have gone back to basics with this album. ‘Cello 0’ is predominantly instrumental except for the final track. Heavy metal cellos and drum work never sounded so good. Favorite tracks: ‘Ashes of The Modern World’ and ‘Fire & Ice’.

    5. Mono Inc. – The Book of Fire
    Genre: Gothic Rock / Gothic Metal

Mono Inc. - The Book Of Fire (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • I cannot get enough of Mono Inc and their ultra catchy Gothic Metal. ‘The Book of Fire’ came out at the start of the year and I still haven’t got bored of it. I would recommend it to fans of Gothic metal and dark rock. Favorite tracks: ‘Louder Than Hell’, ‘Warriors’ and ‘Shining Light’ (feat. Tilo Wolff from Lacrimosa).

    6. Heimataerde – Eigengrab
    Genre: Aggrotech / Medieval Folk-electronica / Industrial Metal

Out of Line Shop Heimataerde - Eigengrab - 2CD Out of Line Shop
  • Not too many industrial or electronica releases caught my attention this year. There were some good EPs and Suicide Commando’s reworked version of ‘Mindstrip’ known as ‘Mindstrip Redux’. One album that did earn a spot in my top 10 however, is the latest work from the German medieval folk electronica band Heimataerde. The physical version comes with an audio book of a Gothic horror story called ‘Krak Megalon’ on which the songs are based on. If you’re a non-German speaker you will be pleased to know that there is an English version read by Candia McKormack (Inkubus Sukkubus’ available for download and on Youtube. Favorite tracks ‘Kind Der Nacht’, ‘Bei meiner Ehr’’ and ‘Tanz’.

    7. Fjøsnisse – Unleashed Hymns
    Genre: Black Metal

    It’s been a surprisingly good year for black metal. Carach Angren wasn’t my only new discovery. Another band I go into this year was the Norwegian black metal artist Fjøsnisse. Imagine a keyboardless old Dimmu Borgir mixed with Kampfar and you will have a pretty good idea of what ‘Unleashed Hymns’ sounds like. Favorite tracks: ‘The Nine Lords’ and ‘The Wanderer’.

    8. Amduscia – Existe
    Genre: Aggrotech / Electro-Industrial

Amduscia - Existe (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • More electronica. This time it is the Mexican Aggrotech trio Amduscia. Even during the lockdown I had lots of fun dancing to this trance-infused electro-industrial opus. Favorite tracks: ‘Existe’, ‘Muerte Sin Control’.

    9. Lord of The Lost – Swan Songs III
    Genre: Dark Rock, Gothic metal / Symphonic Metal
Swan Songs III | Lord Of The Lost
  • Another successful classic ensemble album from the German dark rockers Lord of The Lost. The only reason why this is so low down on my list is that to me this one was not as memorable as ‘Swan Songs II’. Having said that it’s still a very good album. Favorite tracks ‘Dying on The Moon (feat. Joy Frost)’ and ‘One Ton Heart’.

    10. Auger – Insurgence
    Genre: Darkwave / Industrial Rock

INSURGENCE | Auger | darkTunes
  • The only darkwave entry on my list. The British duo Auger sound like a mixture of Gothminister, Blutengel and Depeche Mode. This album came out during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. That did not stop these guys from promoting it from the comfort of their homes. Favorite tracks: ‘Insurgence’, ‘November Angel’ and ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong (ft. Imogen Evans)’. If you are interested, check out my interview with Auger https://valkyrianmusic.com/2020/06/29/interview-with-auger/

Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony – S&M2 also came out this year. I really enjoyed it but I decided not include it in my top 10 list as I do not feature live albums. If you are a longtime fan of Metallica and you liked the first S&M album, then I would strongly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m6smR-M2qg&list=OLAK5uy_kk8e2nZ8vPfY6sYvVAQByjHit_3QdoJQw
Other honorable mentions: Behemoth – A Forest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYZdaYobCSU
VV (Ville Valo) – Gothica Fennica vol.1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kTHdAgxLCg&list=RD5JprzAIKzoc&index=3
and Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuzyA5gDa4E

Concerts were a rarity this year. I am very glad that I got to attend the ones that were not cancelled. So instead of gigs I have decided to include my favorite live streams of 2020:

  1. Behemoth – In Absentia Dei
  2. Metallica – All Within My Hands Helping Hands Charity live stream
  3. Lacrimosa – World Wide livestream
  4. Two Witches – Lockdown Live
  5. Auger – Christmas Live stream

Most anticipated albums of 2021:
New albums from Cradle of Filth, Bodom After Midnight, Suicide Commando and Blutengel plus hopefully many more.

Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to a better, healthier 2021!

Iza Raittila

Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos

Posted in Review with tags , on 25th September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Marilyn Manson
We Are Chaos
Released 11th September 2020
Alternative Rock
Released via Loma Vista

MARILYN MANSON | We are chaos - Nuclear Blast

So here we are in the autumn of 2020- a terrible year for many people and one that we all probably wish would be over soon. The pandemic is still causing havoc with our lives. While we do our best to cope with the new challenges sometimes the best remedy for stress and anxiety is a suitable distraction. I for one, have used this time to revisit some of the things that used to bring my joy when I was younger be it books, films and of course music. However bad 2020 has been, it has also witnessed the birth of some really good new music. This brings me to the latest album from Marilyn Manson, a band who’s career I have been following since my early teens. I was pretty much ready to give up on them after ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’. The two albums that followed were unmemorable and I had serious doubts whether Brian Warner was cable of writing decent songs . Then ‘The Pale Emperor’ came along and I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I liked it. Three years ago he repeated the success with ‘Heaven Upside Down’. Now this year he is back with ‘We Are Chaos’ featuring the country musician Shooter Jennings along with a variety of session musicians.

The CD version comes with a copy of a painting by Marilyn Manson, which suits of the overall sombre tone of the album. It’s a bit of a slow start with the opener Red Black And Blue. Personally I found the speech at the beginning a little off-putting and I was almost tempted to skip the song completely. It is good that I didn’t though, as song itself is decent but hardly one of the highlights of the album. Luckily the title track is much better. I cannot get enough of the chorus and the emotional yet haunting vocals. I already liked it when I first saw the video and even after a few listens it still hasn’t lost it’s appeal. Now that’s more like it. Half-Way & One Step Forward also got my attention thanks to the melancholic piano intro and the creepy vocals. I also really liked Don’t Chase The Dead, another great alternative rock track that captures the right balance of a haunting atmosphere and dancefloor-friendly melodies. There are many moments that reminded me of Marilyn Manson’s ‘Mechanical Animals’ era. In many ways the songs on here contain the same vibe as that album, which just happens to be one of my favorites.

In summary, ‘We Are Chaos’ is a surprisingly accessible album that gets better with every listen. Each song is packed with emotion and there is certain melancholic vibe present throughout. It sounds like the spiritual little brother of ‘Mechanical Animals’, the next phase of Marilyn Manson’s evolution as an artist and his best work in years.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 2nd May 2015 by izaforestspirit

Marilyn Manson
The Pale Emperor
Released 20th January 2015
Alternative Rock/ Hard Rock

Released via Cooking Vinyl Records

The legendary American alternative rock artist Marilyn Manson doesn’t need much of an introduction. Whether you love or hate him, you cannot deny that the shock-rocker has left his mark on the alternative scene; be it through his memorable songs such as ‘The Beautiful People’, his stage antics, his art work or his recent acting roles in films and TV shows such as ‘Sons of Anarchy’.

In my case I still remember the day when I sneaked into my older sister’s bedroom and I borrowed (or rather stole) her copies of ‘Portrait of An American Family’ and ‘Antichrist Superstar’. I must have been about fourteen at the time. Over a decade later and ‘Antichrist Superstar’ is still one of my favorites and I occasionally revisit the other albums, everything up to and including ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’. I have to admit that the two subsequent albums ‘The High End of The Low’ and ‘Born Villain’ didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. So when I heard about the latest effort ‘The Pale Emperor’ I decided to give the band another try.

After a slow start, the opening track Killing Strangers draws you in gradually with its blues-rock style guitar riffs that accompany the singer’s melancholic cries of despair. Deep Six however, is an entirely different animal. Not only is it faster and more energetic sounding than its predecessor but it also features a catchy chorus and some good guitar riffs. The Third Day of A Seven Day Binge is one of those tracks that you could picture someone playing in the later stages of a party. You’re not quite ready to go home yet and although you may have had one or two drinks too many, you hear this and you get up to dance or rather sway along to its guitar melodies and the hypnotic vocals.

Yet as with any hardcore drug, there will be a high and a low stage. If Deep Six was the high, then the aptly named Warship My Wreck is the low. Here the sparks of energy have vanished and all it’s left is a wretched and depressing song in which the cries of anguish are perfectly matched with the eerie guitar tunes. Not that Marilyn Manson was ever known for his happy tunes but this song is about as bleak as it gets. Another song which caught my attention is Cupid Carries A Gun, which sounds like a continuation of where the ‘Holy Wood’ album left off.

In summary, although it’s no match for Marilyn Manson’s earlier work, ‘The Pale Emperor’ has succeeded in where the two previous albums have failed. It has some memorable songs that stick in your head. Fans of Manson’s industrial period may not appreciate the new blues rock influence, but if you enjoyed ‘Holy Wood’ and ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’, you won’t be disappointed.

4/5

Iza Raittila

The Gifted – Inside Out

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 21st October 2013 by izaforestspirit

The Gifted
Inside Out
Released 6th July 2013
Industrial Rock
Hit It With A Hammer Records

 photo insideout_zps1305f263.jpg

‘Inside Out’ is the new album from the Sheffield based, industrial rock band The Gifted.

First up is the rather gloomy sounding Why (Make Me Feel This Way)? featuring the guitar patterns and haunting vocal style of Marilyn Manson. The melancholy doesn’t stop there either as the subsequent tracks offer more of the same depressingly nihilistic industrial rock akin to the likes of mid-career Nine Inch Nails or early works by A Perfect Circle/Tool. The short instrumental ‘Smile’ is a good example of the Nine Inch Nails influence creeping into the guitar sound. There’s even hints of old Ministry here on some of the guitar patterns e.g. the intro to Break.

The industrial influence can be found in the keyboard style and guitar patterns on tracks such as Everything Is Relative. One thing that I can’t get my head round are the vocals and the way the singer keeps alternating between three different styles: the eerie, slightly distorted Marilyn Manson -esque ones, the angry shouts of Nine Inch Nails and the clear Korn-esque nu-metal moaning. Personally I think that the former style suits them better but that’s just me… Then there is the weird slow ballad Home which is so distinctly different from the rest of the album it actually sounds like it was performed by another band….

Overall this album has some potential as far as industrial rock goes. The problem is that the vocals are all over the place in terms of style and influences. A little less experimentation and a little more focus could be the keys to success for these guys.

3/5

Iza Raittila