Review Summary: A slight return to form for the Antichrist Superstar.
If every other Marilyn Manson album could be compared to a portrait, this would be his sketchbook. Like a sketchbook, it is filled with rough ideas, good and bad, shown with no real cohesion. However, although Marilyn Manson has decided to leave behind the fancy audio tricks for a raw sound, behind every etching is a recognizable signature trademark that will surely delight.
That is not to say that the album is a complete return to form. Although the album brings back the signature riffs from Twiggy and some shock-inducing lyrics, the album is incoherent and somewhat rehashed. Any number of the songs on the album could have been taken from his previous works. "Pretty As A Swastika" could have been from Antichrist Superstar. "WOW" could have been from Mechanical Animals. Even one of the stronger tracks on the album, "Blank and White", could have been taken from Holy Wood. It seems that either he's losing inspiration or he's playing safe. Either way, the songs feel like a collection of demos rather than an album.
In the up side, the album is still a thoroughly entertaining Marilyn Manson album. Tracks such as "Arma-God-Damn Mother ***ing Geddon" or "We're From America" bring back memories of the late nineties that fans of his surely miss. His lyrical talents are still with him in this album, although being a bit repetitious. Those disappointed with his previous work "Eat Me Drink Me" may be even more so as songs such as "Devour" and "Leave a Scar" bring back the heart-broken themes that the album carried. However, with a more sadistic tone place on them and Twiggy's guitar work, the songs feel edgier.
So as the album suffers from over-familiarity and a lack of cohesion, the album itself is not a bad listen. If Andy Warhol were to put his sketchbook in an exhibit, you'd still want to see it. However, it is better to see the polished product; just saying.