When you’re invited into Marilyn Manson’s world, you have to brace yourself for the chaos, destruction, and blood that comes with it. UK photographer Perou didn’t realize what he was signing up for when he first met Manson in 1998. What started as a routine assignment led to 21 years of capturing the violence, debauchery, and turmoil that is Manson’s world. The two look back on their work together in the new photography book Marilyn Manson by Perou: 21 Years in Hell.
For Marilyn Manson, image is as important as the music. Manson always knows how to shock, disturb, and disrupt with his ever-changing appearance. Similar to David Bowie, he’s a rock n’ roll chameleon, transforming himself into different beings and creatures. This is beautifully captured in the book. We see Manson’s various looks – from the outlandish to the subtle – from throughout his career. Perou’s work shows the vibrancy and glamour of Mechanical Animals, the Gothic allure of Eat Me, Drink Me, and the brutality of Holy Wood. Fans are treated to a collection of unreleased photos from past magazine shoots, along with some of Manson’s most iconic images. Perou’s keen eye matched with Manson’s expression make fantastic results ranging from daring and beautiful to the grotesque – themes Manson knows quite well.
Depending on the circumstances, the words “acoustic set” can either fill you with excitement or dread. As much as I love artists going unplugged there’s always a fear it’s going to be underwhelming. The songs won’t pack the same punch or even worse, they’ll be dull. At its worst, acoustic renditions are underwhelming or boring. At its best, it lets an artist express a different side of themselves and transforms their well-loved songs into something new. Luckily, this is what Yonaka does on their new EP, Yonaka Stripped Back.
Though it only features three songs – “Guilty,” “Bad Company,” and “Rockstar” – the EP shows us a different side of Yonaka. Typically, their songs are high-energy, boot-stomping rock anthems made to get you moving. Here, they take those songs and turn them into aching ballads about anxiety and depression. Without the pummeling drums, buzzing guitars, and high energy we’re left with the naked emotion that lies underneath. These issues are prevalent in the songs already but with only singer Theresa Jarvis and an acoustic guitar, these feelings are highlighted and can’t be ignored with a catchy guitar riff or slick bass groove.
Dark hearts around the world were shocked when Ville Valo quietly released his new solo EP, Gothica Fennica Vol. 1, me included. Like other fans, I was saddened to see HIM call it quits in 2017. They’re one of those bands that have stuck with me for a long time, so I wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. With the band finished, I hoped Valo would continue to release new music. And though he launched the new band Ville Valo and The Agents last year, this EP sees him returning to that familiar love metal sound.
Gothica Fennica Vol. 1 is essentially a HIM EP and that’s perfectly fine. Consisting of three songs, each has the blend of hard rock with Gothic tones and melancholy lyrics the band was known for. “Salute the Sanguine” and “Runaway from the Sun” have the same haunting, ethereal yet beautiful sound found on HIM’s final album Tears on Tape while closing track “Saturnine Saturnalia” has a harder edge and doom-laden vibe reminiscent of Dark Light and Venus Doom. While the entire EP is good, the closing track is the highlight. The soft music lulls you into a sense of calm that’s disrupted when the guitars and somber keys come in revealing lurking darkness. Similar to other HIM songs, these tracks feature pretty, mellow music filled with morose, moody undertones. Everything about the release screams HIM making you wonder if these are outtakes from an unreleased album.
2019 was not a good year. Not only was it filled with nothing but bad news, corrupt politics, and increasing violence, it was a tough year for me. Due to some personal issues, I stopped listening to music for most of the year. Instead of the comfort and solace I usually find in music during hard times, it was a reminder of what was happening in my life. For the first time that I can remember, music was too painful to listen to. There are a lot of albums I nearly missed and that I didn’t get to talk about due to dealing with my anxiety and depression. But I’ve spent the latter half of the year catching up and it’s funny how most of the albums I listened had the same “everything is going to shit” vibe to them. So before we give a big fuck you to 2019, I wanted to share my thoughts on albums I heard this year and offer my picks for best and worst of 2019. Read More
It’s rare that I fall head over heels for a band after hearing one song, but it happened with Creeper. I became obsessed with their debut album, Eternity in Your Arms, and quickly learned everything I could about them. I even started digging through their past releases, which only includes a few EPs. And now that the band is supposedly “over,” I thought it’d be fun to take a look at their very first release, Creeper.
The EP doesn’t pack as much punch as their full-length album, but it’s still pretty good. Everything that makes Creeper stand out, like the melodrama, the intricate stories, Hannah Greenwood’s flourishing piano, the theatrics, are all missing here. Whereas their album flawlessly blended elements of punk, Goth rock, and rockabilly, here they go for a straightforward pop-punk sound.