“I don’t know which me that I love,” Marilyn Manson groans on stomping industrial rocker “No Reflection,” from May 1 album Born Villain. Directed by The Killing Room cinematographer Lukas Ettlin, the song’s new video shows Manson in two guises, one the leather-clad frontman performing with his band, the other a less-made-up Manson in austere suit, sharing wine with several younger women at a dinner table. Suddenly, the table levitates, the women start vomiting up something like bile, Austere Marilyn looks deeply sad, and it seems unlikely any of his female companions have survived.
As with Shia LaBeouf’s visuals for Born Villain‘s title track, the video is sumptuously stylized and deeply creepy — a harbinger of what to expect on Manson’s first tour since 2009? Still, the parental provocations and ability to seize the pop moment that characterized some of the band’s most memorable work are less apparent here. The stomping, sludgy song’s promised “violence” has nothing on, say, Death Grips, and the video’s harsh treatment of women could be tossed off for laughs, like no big deal, by a younger generation’s anti-school rebels. Manson works best when he’s he’s holding his mirror up to something that does, indeed, cast a reflection.