Marilyn Manson Credit: courtesy the artist

A lot of Manson fans will tell you that Marilyn Manson’s ninth studio album, 2015’s The Pale Emperor, was a massive artistic sidestep for the shock rocker. Instead of his usual industrialized hard rock, the album dabbles in goth, blues rock, and spaghetti-western flourishes—eliciting both love and hate from longtime fans. On October’s Heaven Upside Down, Manson’s returned to form, conjuring up the crushing sounds and dark energies that made him an (antichrist) superstar in the 90s. With one foot firmly planted in the Ministry lite of 1996’s Antichrist Superstar and the other in the glorious electro-glam of 1998’s Mechanical Animals, Manson—working on the second album in a row with engineer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Tyler Bates and former Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Gil Sharone—has created a record that pounds, creeps, and pulls you in with giant hooks, much like the material of his glory days. But despite the strength of the album, it hasn’t been easy to get a support tour in motion. Just days before its release, Manson was crushed by a gigantic steel stage prop during a show in New York, and a couple of weeks later he fired longtime bass player Twiggy Ramirez due to allegations of sexual assault. With the New Year things finally seem to be in line for Manson to bring his signature industrial-pop metal to the masses.   v