Review Summary: Throwing the kitchen sink at album number 4.
I remember the year 2000 fondly, it was the year Lars Ulrich decided to put out a lawsuit on Napster for file sharing, Eminem released his third studio album the Marshall Mathers LP and Marilyn Manson released his counter attack against the media for being the key blame for the horrific Columbine High School shooting massacre in 1999 with ‘Holy Wood’ -- Marilyn Manson’s fourth album.
Holy Wood contains some of Manson’s most accessible work to date but is, debatably, the angriest, darkest and well thought out album he has ever released. This album was his way of fighting his corner for all the accusations put on him by the media and his way of turning the limelight onto the corrupt, rotten society he saw it in. The usual topics Manson normally talks about are present: religion, war, media, but Manson was at his creative peak at this point in his career, turning what you’ve come to expect from him on its head; basing a large chunk of the album around Jesus and his crucifixion in a modern day world and Manson putting across Jesus being the first “celebrity”.
Other topics go for JFK and John Lennon’s deaths and you’ll find them scattered throughout the album. Manson talks about these figure heads so much to point out the way the media makes these people out to be the same sort of iconic status Jesus is.
“The Love Song” is one of my favourite songs on the album lyrically, because it takes the basis of modern America and its values and makes it extremely twisted. Other topics aim towards relating to the listener, like “Disposable Teens” and more abrupt songs like “The Nobodies” that attacks the media head on. While songs like “The Fight Song” and “A Place in the Dirt” are centred on Adam Kadmon.
Speaking of Adam Kadom, Holy Wood is also the first installement of the “Triptych” trilogy that follows one, Adam Kadmon, a perfect being, who sets out to start his own revolution but upon arriving at Holy Wood is soon converted to “Celebritarianism”, Holy Wood’s religion, and becomes obsessed with its ideology of violence, guns and the idolization of dead celebrities.
It’s obvious from the well thought out concepts; Manson meant serious business with this record and put his heart and soul into it. Musically, it’s a very heavy record and once again a different style in terms of sound, than the former two albums. It’s a much more “heavy metal” record than previous, but still incorporating a fair amount of industrial elements.
The album is a whopping 19 tracks and most albums of this size normally fall in on itself from the sheer length, but there isn’t a single bad or dull track on here. Furthermore, a lot of the songs on Holy Wood sound extremely radio-friendly and catchy, which is surprising considering the cynical and dark subject matter contained within. The three singles “Fight Song”, “Disposable Teens” and “The Nobodies” will get stuck in your head for hours.
For me, this is a rare album to come by. You could spend hours picking apart the subjects and concepts Manson has laid out in Holy Wood, but even with all that aside, the music behind all this is fantastic, dark, disturbing, bouncy and sometimes uplifting. There is a huge split of opinion on which is Marilyn Manson’s finest hour, but for me this has everything you could hope for. It's also debatably the last truly great Manson record.
Preference aside, it’s fair to say Manson got his opinion out to the media.