Marilyn Manson
The Golden Age of Grotesque



by Vilen1025 USER (7 Reviews)
May 8th, 2009 | 7 replies

Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Very well put together. Although somewhat silly, it is effective in gripping you for a wild ride.

Manson's previous album, Holy Wood, declared that he wasn't a bad human being - merely an innocent victim in the wrong place at the wrong time. He completed the legendary "Triptych", a set of three albums that critiqued societal norms and set up Marilyn Manson as a character to be feared and loved. The Golden Age of Grotesque is a different project - though still worth hearing.

Manson completely discards his previous persona; rather than defending himself, he "wants all of the blame", and begs for hatred and fear, relishing the attention. It has a humorous but dark effect - opening with "This Is the New S**t", he makes it clear that he doesn't want to screw around, and with lyrics like "stand up and admit, tomorrow's never coming", the blatant nihilism is made clear. The primary highlight of this album, however, is the references to 1920s social life, with silly (and fun) wordplay, especially apparent in songs like "Doll Dagga Buzz Buzz Ziggety-Zag" and "mOBSCENE". Much quicker and more upbeat than any of his work, and yet ringing with an aura of misanthropy (such as that in Antichrist Superstar), the songs are fun to dance to.

John 5 and Tim Sköld were primary contributors to the album. The daring new sound found in the album works well, though the band has not forgotten its direction completely. "Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth" and "Better of Two Evils" returns to the old anthemic Manson messages - albeit with a different style, as if they enjoy playing the songs - something different than what we've heard before. The title song is perhaps the strangest - and yet it sparks the thought, maybe it was intentional. It is almost impossible to decipher; "the 'scabaret sacrilegends', this is the golden age of grotesque" seems somewhat of an attempt to be shocking. What used to be a shock rock band still does achieve its purpose, but the shocks are pleasant... almost sarcastic. In "(s)AINT", Manson yells, "I've got an 'F' and a 'C' and I've got a 'K' too, and the only thing that's missing is a b***h like you". Still, there are perhaps references to Manson's earlier work; "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom" contains the lyric, "I like a big car cause I'm a big star/I make a big rock and roll hit" - possibly referring to "Lunchbox" ("I wanna grow up/I wanna be a big rock and roll star"). Now he's achieved that dream, and he loves it.

The album is not devoid of maturity; the song "‚ô*" discusses abusive relationships, and their tendency to spiral downwards. Manson continues this theme in "Para-Noir", a 6-minute piece that is highly unconventional - while girls whisper their reasons for having sex with Manson, he shows his hatred in a defiant "I don't need a reason to hate you the way I do". What is most impressing is the diverse instrumentals and how they match the vocals almost perfectly. Whether it is John 5 playing a heavy guitar riff or TimSk√∂ld a sinister bassline ("Slutgarden" is a prime example), it fits nicely. "Vodevil" closes the album, and soaked with sex, it closes the record with "we're five middle fingers on a motherf**king hand". With this sort of rebellion (with "absolutely no cause", says Manson in "The Bright Young Things"), it seems that Manson has reached his teenage roots once more. The only major flaw is that the songs are somewhat repetitive, and seem to almost force nonconformity. But while it may not be graceful, it works well.


Definitely hear:

"This Is the New ***"
"Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth"

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user ratings (1082)
other reviews of this album
Simon K. STAFF (3)
You'll find Manson at his best and his worst with album number 5....

TheSmashBro (3)
Manson is free from restrictions of a concept for his writing, but he somewhat abuses his power....

DirtBagDan (3.5)
Manson's anger at everyone and everything is perfectly channeled with his fifth album....

Xander_Christ (5)

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 8th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

ok review for just starting out....keep it up. This is a good album but it can't touch Holy Wood, Antichrist Superstar, or Mechanical Animals. It's a shame that this was the last album with John 5 in the band....Skold's presence here makes his secondary and his performance is therefore average. This whole album rocks from start to finish.

...can't wait for The High End of Low on the 26th....This Message Edited On 05.08.09

September 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

This is seriously a great album, a far different "come at me" style of Manson than the previous albums; I enjoy it.

September 7th 2011


Yep this destroys. Easily my favourite of his.

Digging: Disclosure - Energy

September 7th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Album is a mixed bag

Last 5 songs seem unnecessary

September 7th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Actually bloc I'm agreeing with you here; the mixture of his Trent influenced style and his own eclecticism works insanely well. (S)aint is a very very very guilty pleasure of mine, bumped rating up too.

September 7th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0

Ha I remember this album. It's still pretty catchy after all these years, even if I only hear a small snippet of a song.

September 7th 2011


Actually bloc I'm agreeing with you here; the mixture of his Trent influenced style and his own eclecticism works insanely well. (S)aint is a very very very guilty pleasure of mine, bumped rating up too.

You're agreeing with ME?! I guess it was only a matter of time ;)

I bet there are hardcore MM fans out there that call this album a complete sellout but damn every song on this is catchy as hell.

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