Marilyn Manson says that his band's upcoming album - the first he's made with guitarist Twiggy Ramirez since 2002 - "really wipes the floor with everything we've done before."
The frontman promises a stark about-face from 2007's contemplative, synth-heavy EAT ME, DRINK ME (which documented his split from ex-wife Dita Von Teese), by using "guitar solos and brutal, reckless screaming. I don't consider myself evil, but when people hear this they're gonna hear a sense of evil - like Johnny Cash at his best and darkest."
In addition to Ramirez, past Manson collaborators multi-instrumentalist Chris Vrenna and recording engineer Sean Beavan join the cast, which also features a "coven of witchy girls" and some "acoustic swampiness that maybe harkens back to when I was living in New Orleans."
Among the tentative titles are I Want To Kill You Like They Do In The Movies and Armagoddamnmotherfuckinggeddon, which Manson admits has "no chance on god's earth of getting on the radio."
Nonetheless, "I've got my fire back," he says "This record has driven me to new extremes. I even did something responsible and registered to vote."
EAT ME, DRINK ME revealed a more vulnerable side of the Marilyn Manson persona.
"And in no way was that a calculated move. I suppose in the past I've taken from my experience or what I thought happened in my life and separated myself from it through storytelling or metaphor. With EAT ME, DRINK ME, I started writing in a different way; the best example is If I Was Your Vampire, which was written at 6 A.M. on Christmas morning. I wrote it down, called the engineer and said I wanna sing it. I didn't have any time to look back and second-guess any decisions that I'd made."
This new album reflects a different mindset.
"I felt hurt by my ex-wife, and now I have closure with her; I feel like we're friends again. I realise I put a lot of the people that are close to me through things that I myself wouldn't understand how to deal with either. Now I know how they were feeling, and how they were confused. In what way were they supposed to react to someone saying 'I don't even have the determination to kill myself'?
That was a period I don't ever wanna let myself go back to. I can't even relate to the person I was for seven months. But I'm glad I did that record. I wasn't ready then to make the record Twiggy and I have made."
How has your relationships with Twiggy changed since you last worked together?
"We haven't been together as friends in some time, and I think we both filled the void with different relationships and different ideas. But we clearly missed each other, and we were actually going through parallel emotions without knowing it. In his time away from me Twiggy has grown as a musician and as a guitar player. He's really taken the lead as a guitar player; he plays all the stringed instruments on the album and, occasionally, some keyboards and different things. I play guitar on one song, and I recorded myself snorting lines of something - whatever it might have been - as a percussion instrument."
How does the new music compare to, say, 1996's Antichrist Superstar?
"This record feels so different from the way we felt while we were making Antichrist Superstar. It has a sense of revenge and a sense of payback, of retribution for a lot of things. It feels very biblical in a way that Antichrist didn't really. It's been very chaotic, but we've been enjoying it. I had to make a lot of my friends see that this is still the crazy Manson - but also the crazy Manson that makes you laugh."
What are you singing about?
"Some of the things I say here [are lyrics that] I've been the most proud of in my entire life. Some of the things, it's sad to say them - they're relationship-destroying statements. Some of it is stuff I should have said to my ex-wife. Some are things I've never said to the world. I'm really excited about it. People are gonna have nervous breakdowns when they hear it. I always wanna say this with every new record, but this one is ballsy."
"That's what I like to say to parents of potential girls I date: 'Sir I'm gonna be getting ballsy with your daughter tonight.'"