Review Summary: Going in a different direction from the darkness that was "Antichrist Superstar" , Manson released "Mechanical Animals" to an unsuspecting audience back in 1998. It was very different, but it was great.
Way back in 1996, you might have heard of the infamous Antichrist Superstar record. It was Marilyn Manson's second album and it disturbed a lot of people and did a great job at gaining the band a lot of infamous popularity. Expectations were high for a follow-up, and that's when Manson suprised everyone with this gem of an album.
Mechanical Animals was an abum that suprised and shocked a lot of people around the world. Way back in 1998, things were different then they are today of course. Interscope records did a massive promotion to the follow-up to Marilyn Manson's "Antichrist Superstar" album. When "Mechanical Animals" was finally released, people were disgusted and amazed at its infamous album cover - which of course features Manson in an alien suit with breasts, leaving one wondering just what gender it is. This album was a huge hit, and to this day remains his best-selling work. Through this imagery here and the imagery he had already presented to the world back in 1996 with his dark 2nd studio album, many people stayed away and still continued to redicule him, but nonetheless the album's music is definetly worth a listen even if you have a problem with the man himself.
The music here is great. Compared to the previous album, the music here has a major difference. Instead of relying on industrial beats and heavy sampling combined with grinding guitars and scary vocals, this album shows Manson and his band playing straight up Glam Rock with a heavy (and sometimes industiral) edge. Manson has a very unique vocal style and it shows on all the records he has released, this being no exception. He sings in a very emotional way on some songs here, like in "Great Big White World" and "Coma White" (arguably the greatest song hes ever written). His intense screaming that made songs like "1996" and "The Reflecting God" extremely heavy is no so much present on this record but it wouldnt fit well anyway. The Guitars are great, featuring glam riffs that work well with the music and the solo on "Fundamentally Loathesome" is fantastic and works with the song very, very well. Twiggy Ramirez (who handled the guitars and bass for this album) makes his bass lines known to the listener on this record, driving songs like "The Dope Show" and "I Want To Dissapear" with great bass lines and providing a great rhythm section in the band along with drummer Ginger Fish. Keyboardist Madonna Wayne Gacy provides great keyboard loops and electronics that give most of the songs their great feel. Guitarist John 5 would join the band shortly after this album's release and would work with them for a number of years, although his potential is sadly wasted since we all know he can shred really well and play guitar with the best of them. Check out any of the songs on this album and you will get a perfect taste of the musicianship present here.
The album flows differently than "Antichrist Superstar" did, but for the new style the band took it flows great. The greater half of the album's lyrics focus around the subject of drugs. Tracks like Great Big White World, The Dope Show, and I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me) are perfect examples of this. the album's lead single, the Dope Show is an anthem about drugs and features a "different" guitar riff, a very driving bass line (courtesy of Mr. Ramirez) and a drum beat that gets you moving. Tracks like User Friendly are the boring points of this album and don't do much for you unless you are a huge fan of the band's music. Standout tracks include the title track (which features some great guitar and mesmerizing vocals) , Fundamentally Loathesome (a sometimes depressing track with an amazing guitar solo and outro) , and Coma White. Being the album's closer, it is the most powerful and defining moment of the record. The guitars, bass, drums, and keyboard loop all come together beautifully with Manson's emotional singing with amazing lyrics and a chilling chorus, ending the album on a very powerful note.
There is no doubt that Mechanical Animals will forever remain an important moment in Manson's career. It was a very different style that he hasn't explored since, and a lot of the songs here are great, solid rock songs. The lyrical content might be a bit unappealing to some, but Manson's music has never been for everyone. This record went in a different direction from the darkness that was Anitchrist Superstar....it was different, but it was great.