Marilyn Manson
Antichrist Superstar


5.0
classic

Review

by Simon Killip USER (30 Reviews)
November 28th, 2014 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Marilyn Manson sledge hammers everyone to attention with album number two.

In 1996 the Rock and Metal scenes were just getting over the grunge movement, with the last few dregs of awful wannabe Nirvana bands trying to limp on. The music world was due a change, something that would help all those pissed off kids get through growing up. Enter: ‘Antichrist Superstar’, the album that made Marilyn Manson a Rock Superstar overnight.

It isn’t just the raw, visceral, animal sound of Antichrist Superstar that made Marilyn Manson a hit; it was a collection of things. The first thing being he aimed his crosshairs at religion, out to expose the hypocrisies and glaring contradictions, as well as tackling awareness on the corruption found in politics, all done whilst dressed as shock-provoking as possible. This gained the band a lot of attention from law enforcement, going as far as to try and stop the band playing shows; constant media attention; protests from religious and civic groups. Hell, even the government wanted to get this band out of the picture.

So what was the big deal with this record?

Just about everything this LP had to offer was out to piss people off. The title alone is a reference, and a nod of respect, to Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1971 musical ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, which was condemned by many religious groups and even banned in some countries for its blasphemous content. ‘Antichrist Superstar’ was out to make a full scale war on religion and with its uncompromisingly dark and aggressive sound it certainly got the attention it wanted.

When the album isn’t provoking Christians, it’s a concept album and the final chapter in the Triptych trilogy. The concept this time round tells the story of ‘The Worm’ as he experiences a world where weak people idolise “The Beautiful People”; this leaves The Worm feeling disgusted and makes it his mission to start a revolution against “The Beautiful People”, to free the weak-minded. During the revolution he goes by the name “Little Horn” and wins the war against The Beautiful People. After the war is over Little Horn quickly comes to realise the people have now moved on to adore and idolise Little Horn instead. This makes him realise he has failed in his quest, as the people have no desire to achieve freewill. The Worm, bitter and twisted, cocoons himself from the shame brought upon him and thus transforming him into his final form, attaining wings. He then brings apocalypse onto the world and destroys everyone and everything, including himself.

A bleak concept, but a very clever jab at, not just religion, but how the world is in general. It’s an oppressive outlook on how people will never change. The bottom line being, people are too weak to live without that idol above them. And it can be looked at from a religious perspective, but I see it in a different way. Still, at the time, Manson was trying to make people see the problems with religion, so many will view it targeting that.

Musically, the album is Manson’s most aggressive effort. Being produced by Trent Reznor, if you’ve never heard this album before but have heard NIN material from the early 90’s you can get an idea of just how disturbing, bleak, aggressive and claustrophobic this album is. Songs like ‘Kinderfield’ are a good example of how unsettling the band goes with fat, punchy, distorted bass guitar, eerie guitar and keyboard effects working with Manson’s ominous vocal droning, as the song torments you for its 4:52 playtime. In fact, the albums flow is very much like ‘The Downward Spiral’, in terms of its progression, where it starts off unhinged and uncomfortable, but is still easy listening; song like “The Beautiful People”, “Tourniquet” and “Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World” ease you in, before pushing you down the hole where you get to songs in the latter half of the album like the title track, “1996” and “Minute of Decay” that really goes to town on making you feel disturbed. Things get more and more distorted and less melodic from when the album first started.

Overall, this is one of the finest Industrial Metal albums you’re likely to listen to. Dangerous, intelligent, abrasive with its intentions and a sound that is best described as NIN and Ministry fighting it out at a Punk gig. If you’ve never listened to a Marilyn Manson album before, you owe it to yourself to give this album a listen.

Essential.



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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
November 28th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Two more reviews to go before I'm free from the shackles of this large, but fun discog.

As always, constructive criticism welcome guys.



Digging: Marilyn Manson - The Pale Emperor

TalonsOfFire
November 28th 2014


9740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Little Horn is fun

Havey
November 28th 2014


9814 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Dangerous, intelligent, abrasive

Digging: Billie Holiday - Lady Day: The Best of Billie Holiday

DominionMM1
November 28th 2014


10339 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"even band in some countries"

"a very cleaver jab"

i'm guessing you'll want to fix these

Digging: Dr. John - Gris-Gris

DrGonzo1937
November 28th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I apologise, Dom, well spotted. Cheers

DrGonzo1937
November 28th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And yeah, the track "Little Horn" rules Talons.

Badger0428
November 28th 2014


1 Comments


Pretty sure there were NOT wannabe Creed bands in 1996 as Creed's debut was not released until 1997 and their breakthrough did not come out until 1999.

DrGonzo1937
November 28th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ha it didn't even click. Don't know why I put Creed, because they came out in the NU metal era. I meant to have put Nirvana.

Corrected. Cheers.

BAT
November 28th 2014


19 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is easiely my favorite manson album but i think youre giving to much credit to the concept of the album opposed to the actual music. keep in mind that the majority of this album was written by twiggy and manson on tour, in the back of a van, while they were high on amphetamines.

Veldin
November 28th 2014


1680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Surprised at the average for this album, it's definitely an essential.

artiswar
November 28th 2014


30 Comments


One of the criticisms leveled at this album throughout the late 90's was that it was a blatant NIN ripoff. I remember how much venom was behind that accusation back then. In retrospect, this sounds virtually nothing like NIN. All Dried Up kinda has a Reptile feel, but that's about it. Very detailed review, my only criticism is the dissertation part is disproportionate to the music critique. Just a pet peeve of mine. It kinda feels like you squeezed the really important part into one paragraph.

TalonsOfFire
November 28th 2014


9740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Trent Reznor produced it so it can't really be a NIN ripoff, his dirty fingerprints are just all over it. Like Josh Homme on Arctic Monkey's Humbug.

DrGonzo1937
November 29th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers guys.

I know what you mean with how I handled the music side of the review @artiswar, but because these albums are so old and everyone has said pretty much everything about them a hundered times, I put my focus on the trilogy more towards the concepts.

DrGonzo1937
November 29th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

While i see where you're coming from, BAT, if you actually listen to the lyrics the concept is there. Manson and his crew were fucked up on drugs for at least the Triptych era. lol But each album has a solid concept, albeit one that doesn't make complete sense put together (probably down to the drugs :P), but individually they work perfect on their own.

Tunaboy45
November 29th 2014


3207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed, this album is awesome. Great review, pos.

Digging: Electric Wizard - Dopethrone

trackbytrackreviews
November 29th 2014


1902 Comments


Jesus Christ Superstar is better

DrGonzo1937
November 30th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers Tuna.

You've seen it TBT? lol

trackbytrackreviews
November 30th 2014


1902 Comments


Seen it? I was in it

DrGonzo1937
November 30th 2014


6909 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Edit: TBT wasn't in it.

TalonsOfFire
December 18th 2014


9740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I had to bump my rating for this way up after a listen for the first time in years. Almost every song is great, the lyrics are constantly interesting, and the atmosphere is unrelentingly bleak and immersive. The only drawback is the music itself is very basic and gets repetitive after a while, and I feel like overall this had the potential to be even better.



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