ICYMI: Marilyn Manson joined Nuclear Blast, attempting a controversial comeback

Marilyn Manson is still scaring people these days, but in different ways.
2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals / Frazer Harrison/GettyImages

Marilyn Manson has signed a record deal with the metal label Nuclear Blast and is poised to release new music for the first time since numerous sexual abuse allegations stalled his career. The controversial shock rocker shared a one-minute teaser of a new song on his social media channels.
Nuclear Blast also posted the teaser, with a representative confirming to Rolling Stone that Manson has officially joined their roster.

How could that be, with all this talk of "cancel culture" run amok? Putting aside how that phenomenon is overexaggerated, let's recall that, in June 2003, Manson was taken seriously enough that Jon Wiederhorn of MTV described him as "the only true artist today." That critic was not alone, and Marilyn Manson no doubt still has a loyal fanbase. Although the song's title remains unknown, the clip features the "Antichrist Superstar" whispering, “Keep sleeping/ I’ll make you dream of me.”

So, what about the allegations? In February 2021, Manson’s ex-fiancée Evan Rachel Wood publicly accused him of abuse, stating: "He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years." To complicate things, as noted by NBC News, one of the accusers is apparently now a former accuser; "Ashley Morgan Smithline alleges that she publicly accused Manson of sexual assault and sexual battery only because she was pressured by Wood."
Woods's legal team stood by Evan's allegations, defending her integrity by saying "Evan never pressured or manipulated Ashley."

Does this mean Marilyn Manson is off the hook? No

One retraction does not mean every allegation goes away. Following Wood’s allegations, over a dozen other women came forward with similar accusations. Sidestepping the controversies, Nuclear Blast informed Billboard that the label is "heralding a new phase in the career of this iconic metal artist," obviously referring to Manson.

Manson has settled several lawsuits, including one from Game of Thrones actress Esmé Bianco, though a few cases are still active. He is scheduled to go to trial in 2025 for claims made by his former assistant Ashley Walters. "We are happy that the delays are behind us and that we will have an opportunity to depose [Manson] and present all the facts to a jury next year," a lawyer for Walters said at the time.

Manson apparently may rebound...at least for now

After the initial accusations, Marilyn Manson was dropped by his previous label, Loma Vista Recordings, saying it would "cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately."

His most recent studio album, We Are Chaos, was released in 2020. That's not such a long gap, really. In fact, System of a Down have gone way longer without releaseing any albums.

Now, in addition to the new record deal, Marilyn Manson has announced his first tour since 2019. The North American summer tour will see him supporting Five Finger Death Punch and performing select headlining dates (one wonders if Manson will stumble on stage to perform covers of Bad Company’s "Bad Company" with the FFDP — wouldn't that be something?). Still, it does seem like he and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails probably won't collaborate on anything, as Trent publicly denounced his former collaborator and began distancing himself from MM well before these accusations got major coverage.

You can listen to the snippet of Manson’s new song below if you are so inclined.