After a 23-year career of shock-rock and smeared makeup, there's very little that's scary about Marilyn Manson these days.
That hasn't stopped him from plugging away and Born Villain, his band's eighth album, is a return-to-form after several forgettable records.
That's thanks to the return of guitarist Twiggy Ramirez and at times - like the menacing minimalism of Pistol Whipped and the disturbing vocal hooks of No Reflection - Born Villain kicks and bites like the Manson of old.
The delicious bass groove of Slo-Mo-Tion and sprawling riffs of Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms even suggest Manson has found the evil charm that made him such an unforgettable presence in the late 90s.
But he overstays his welcome by at least 10 minutes, and tracks like Overneath the Path of Misery try just a little too hard to resurrect the magic of 1996's Antichrist Superstar.
At least the deathly serious singer seems ready to mock himself: on the spoken word poetry of The Gardener, Manson declares: "I'm not man enough to be human, but I'm learning to fake it".
A few more comical insights like that and Manson could have another classic on his hands.
Check out the song Slo-Mo-Tion:
- TimeOutBy Chris Schulz @chris__schulz Email Chris