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Marilyn Manson, ‘The Pale Emperor’

Marilyn Manson hasn’t cleaned up his act on his ninth studio LP, written with Tyler Bates, a composer for films, television, and video games. Nor has he budged from the provocatively self-indulgent posturing that once alienated the Christian right, but now feels like doomsday shtick. Lyrically, you know what to expect; musically, there are bright spots. The album’s two singles — “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge,” which builds to a fiery intensity, and “Deep Six,” a howling slice of post-punk metal, are great. And there are other winners here: “The Mephistopheles of Los Angeles” (sheer autobiography by Manson) and the unexpected “Killing Strangers,” a slow, dirgey track that appears to pinpoint a terrorist’s mind-set: “We got guns, you better run, we’re killing strangers.” Elsewhere, the album often flounders. The power ballad “Warship My Wreck” is cartoonish, “Slave Only Dreams to Be King” (about Manson pulling out his veins to “braid a rope”) is ridiculous, and “Birds of Hell Awaiting” is unlistenably lugubrious. (Out Tuesday)


Essential “Deep Six”

Marilyn Manson plays the House of Blues on Jan. 28.

Steve Morse can be reached at spmorse@gmail.com.