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We still haven’t heard the full album, The High End of Low, but the band has sent out a six song sampler, featuring three songs we’ve already heard and three brand spankin’ new ones. And while the songs aren’t terrible, exactly, they certainly don’t sound anything like the band that made Antichrist Superstar or, um, anything else from the original Twiggy Ramirez-era.

“Four Rusted Horses” is mostly acoustic¬† and “May Be Harmful if Swallowed,” I shit you not, has a very The Strokesian hipster douche chill vibe, with its bare, undistorted electric guitars. The only song that really struck us as being worth anyone’s time is a piano ballad (!) called “Into the Fire” that features a bluesy, simple yet soulful guitar solo that may or may not be played by Wes Borland (And if it is Borland, all I have to say is, why the fuck hasn’t he been playing shit like this his entire career?!?).

Here’s the thing: Manson seems, once again, to be attempting to ape his former producer/mentor, one Mr. Trent Reznor. As Reznor has matured and become a full-on cross-over-into-the-mainstream artist these past few years, his music has lost some of its heaviness; “Discipline” isn’t exactly “Wish.”

That’s not a criticism; I have no problem with artists evolving as long as they continue to make interesting music, and, in my opinion at least, Nine Inch Nails have continued to make interesting music.

But these Manson songs just sound watered down and unmemorable. I’ve listened to them a bunch of times and can’t for the life of me hum them back now. And Manson’s decision to do more singing and less screaming is a dreadful one, because the guy has the shittiest singing voice this side of any given member of Atreyu.

So I know I’m s’posed to reserve final judgement until I’ve heard the whole album, but if these six songsdon’t get our blood pumping and they’re the first ones Manson has released, well, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for optimism.

The High End of Low comes out… shit, I have no idea. And I suddenly don’t really care.


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