Credit Marilyn Manson’s reunion with longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez with stoking the creative hellfires necessary to bring Manson’s particular brand of full-throttle glam, industrial metal and social and political commentary to full boil. But while such highlights as twitching shout-along “Arma-Goddamn-Motherfuckin-Geddon” and hard-charging “We’re From America,” an effective answer to Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans,” rival the dark, impossibly melodic seduction of the singer’s Antichrist Superstar heyday, they do little to advance any of those decade-plus-old ideas.
Far more interesting are the brief introspections on romantic love gone sour, delivered in Manson’s uniquely low-lit, lethargic hiss, along with rare quieter moments buried beneath the ever-thudding chunks of brimstone: the painstaking rise and fall of opener “Devour,” head-scratching acoustic stomper “Four Rusted Horses,” building piano ballad “Into the Fire” and skittering, defiant closer “15.”
There’s little that the once-controversial performer could nowadays pull out of his assless bodysuit to shock the modern public at large. While releasing a seventh studio effort that marks a commanding return to form certainly comes close, unfortunately the surprise begins and ends precisely there. The accompanying visuals may yet evolve with every new effort, but as far as Low’s overall sound, it’s nothing more than death warmed over.