"Lazarus has got no dirt on me," growls Manson on the Faustian 'The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles'. Yes, his Royal Darkness is back, and it's about to get Biblical. But this time, scrape beneath the make-up and you'll see an artist proudly wearing the scars of his years.
"When you start a tornado, and you are the tornado," said Manson in our recent interview. "Do not bitch about being the tornado". Having spent 20 years spinning and turning over scorched Earth, Manson has summoned up all that he's ever learned to prove that he's still a force to be reckoned with - and yes, it's a force of nature.
Opener 'Killing Strangers', with it's rumbling blues-metal march (almost Depeche Mode meets 'The Beautiful People'), is as much the slab of burning brimstone than you've come to expect from the man himself, albeit chiselled with a much more experienced eye than before. The slow pained refrain in his vocal and the general controlled restraint of the track is the mark of an artist capable of doing much more than merely shock.
This evolution continues with the steady and dark stomper, complete with trademark fire and vitriol, 'Deep Six'. Along with previous taster in the form of the matured but still horrified reflection on hedonism, 'The Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge' shows another huge leap forward for The God Of Fuck.
Paraphrasing Camus for 'Slave Only Dreams To Be King', Manson channels industrial sounds to show a bizarre menacing grace, while 'The Devil Beneath My Feet' is an arena-ready anthem that almost threatens to be radio-friendly. The wall comes crashing down with the most unhinged moment on the LP, with 'Birds Of Hell' sounding like a soul torn inside out - before the fittingly mini-epic 'Odds Of Even' bring things to a simmering close. It's quite a journey, but wherever he roams, Manson remains demoniacally defiant.
Manson recently explained that career-wise, he was entering the 'Scary Monsters' era of his work. We daresay the parallels between the The Pale Emperor and The Thin White Duke are apparent. While Manson and Bowie have clearly shared a mutual delight for showmanship for some time, only now, as Manson grows old disgracefully, does he display the class to merit the comparison.
The inconsistency of recent records lead many to think Manson's finer moments were behind him, but, like Lazarus, he's back from the dead. "To make rock n' roll, you need a lot of scars," Manson has said - and he has more than most. The result is an artist with more dimsensions than you thought possible. The horror remains, as does the spectacle, but in giving his vision the space to breathe, it instead breathes fire. All hail The Pale Emperor. Long may he reign.
Marilyn Manson releases The Pale Emperor on 19 January
We recently caught up with The God Of Fuck to discuss how 'rock needs a kick up the ass', the Lana Del Rey rape video furore and the true horror of the Bible. Watch our full in depth interview ith Marilyn Manson here.
Meanwhile, Manson is confirmed to appear at Download Festival 2015 alongside Muse, Kiss, Slipknot and more. Buy tickets here.