Review Summary: Harshly crafted, top-notch industrialized metal, with excellent production from Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. Manson doesn't let his image get in the way of his music on Antichrist Superstar.
As I wonder back to when I may have liked this type of music more, I see that it still has some nostalgic value left to chew off. It has that mildly unpleasant aftertaste that sores a bit, seeing that bands like Marilyn Manson are now dazed and confused. The music these angsty bands make is now shadowed by hanging onto a past that doesn’t really play off of their music well. Manson’s image has clouded his ability for making albums like Antichrist Superstar and Holy Wood, but that can be excused with seeing the amount of guts it must have taken to make them.
Antichrist Superstar (and don’t be fooled by the name) is Manson in his leading status- quo. His music was some of the harshest industrialized metal of that time, with singles like “The Beautiful People” doing more than just scraping the charts. Manson’s music pushed buttons, and though his methods at times seemed rather questionable, he came around with some of the best counter-arguments to back his logical reasoning up. That kind of intelligence can only help the music he made, which wasn’t exactly philosophical, but admittedly deep-thinking ... Yet, only within certain moments.
As we all know, Manson didn’t seem to really wish for Trent Reznor’s status as a fatherly figure. He produced Antichrist Superstar, and the production is excellent. It’s an obvious and vital part to the album, but Manson didn’t need Trent’s guidance in order to make truly great music. It was welcome, but it wasn’t necessary at the same time. Manson was a big boy, and he could prove it with some of the arena-rockers he cranked out. “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” showcases Manson’s flair for doing this. At the beginning Manson can be heard saying “When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you”. The sickening line conveys fear and disgust, and it can be heard at the conclusion of the album as well. Manson then begins the absolutely insane chanting of “We hate love / we love hate”, and then a guitar beckons squeakily, as an original, ear-splitting guitar chord pounding ensues.
Manson croaks lines of America having lost its ways. The roar of the simplistic, but gleefully shouted “*** it” shreds his vocals. He sourly spits out, “Everybody’s someone else’s ******/ I know you are, but so am I / I wasn’t born with enough middle fingers / I don’t need to choose a side”, he screeches as, the song wheels to a stop and transitions into “The Beautiful People”, which platforms Trent’s tremendous production techniques, with cutting guitar chopping and tribal drum hammering pulling you into a mosh of your own.
The production is superbly crafted into all songs on the album, and though the guitars sound more like buzzing vacuum cleaners, than the expected mass murders/serial killers wielding chainsaws, Manson’s music and messages cannot possibly be ignored on this album. Manson presents messages of fighting censorship, racism, and organized religion in an angsty, but deeply compelling way. Antichrist Superstar is a cleverly organized rock-opera, chock-full of industrial metal, made for the ages. I can comfortably call some of these songs timeless, because in twenty more years or so, Marilyn Manson could be called one of the greatest shock-rockers ever to make music, similar to Alice Cooper, or David Bowie. Go ahead, murder me.