Marilyn Manson The Golden Age of Grotesque

With this record I’m glad to say I’m finally becoming a Marilyn Manson fan. This pleases me because I’ve always found the guy to be intelligent, articulate and a master of imagery — and perhaps I never gave the music itself enough of a chance. But the marriage of first-rate songwriting and relevant social commentary is rarely as intimate a partnership as it is here. Manson’s spewing up barbs again, and this time they are sticking out of fame, mundanity and Americanism, to name a few. He sort of drives toothpicks under the toenails of Joe and Jane Mainstream, calling to the table the things that get all too glossed over in our mainstream media. His razorblade-in-throat vocals come from the deepest, seediest pit of his gut and come out with all the ferocity of a cranky pit-bull. The lyrics are printed nice and small — which made me kind of cranky and pit-bullish — then I realised that’s the whole point. Manson wants you to make an effort to understand the whole of what’s going on here and he isn’t going to make it too easy. If you want easy, he’d tell you to turn on your TV or read the newspaper. So put on you bifocals and read the fine print. Band-mates (who include Tim Skold from KMFDM) do their part and crank out the necessary angry metal riffs and rhythms tightly and with angst. But the best thing about this record is that as much as his music has a message and as pissed off as he may sound, the whole record unfolds with a bit of a cabaret feel. He has a good time with the theatrics and treats each song as another stroke in the whole work of art. (Interscope)