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Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar Review
by the Fanboy
In a word: DISAPPOINTMENT!
What the hell kind of art is that? It's just half of his face and a circle with some crap written on it! DRECK. Portrait's cover was better. Portrait's EVERYTHING was better.
Portrait of an American Family is one of my favorite albums, although it doesn't hold a candle to any of Marilyn Manson's work back when the band was called Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids. So I really anticipated their followup, searching for as much information about it as possible. It was not encouraging, but I held out hope anyway. I even harassed band members up to the point one of them supplied me with a promo copy weeks before its release just to get me to stop following and take compromising photos with my telephoto lens. After hearing it, I don't know why I bothered. Antichrist Superstar makes Xtort by KMFDM look like Rabies by Skinny Puppy, and Rabies by Skinny Puppy isn't even that good. This is the worst album I've heard since that piece of shit by Ministry came out earlier this year. Filth Pig, more like...Not Very Good Pig! Anyway, that's a topic for another article. Antichrist Superstar disappointed me greatly and I'm reconsidering my decision to both stalk the members of Marilyn Manson and be a completist for their albums, singles, merchandise and used condoms. This CD shows it might not be worth the money and potential lawsuits/restraining orders.
From the very first song, I knew it was going to be a disappointment. "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" literally pisses on everything the band did on Portrait of an American Family and Smells Like Children. How? Well, for one thing it's "live". Being live, or even pretending to be live, as the first track on the album destroys my suspense of disbelief from the start. How am I supposed to believe in the narrative when something's been recorded with audience interaction built into it? My disbelief, it has been reinstated with this stupid, selfish move by Manson. It doesn't get any better from there. The songs are devilish disappointments. For example, "Tourniquet" is a quieter song, but it's still got whiny vocals and an annoying guitar. Berkowitz must've been asleep at the switch on that one. The next track, "Little Horn" is barely coherent noise. I like to be able to hear the lyrics, thank you. If I wanted nonsense that "sounded cool", I'd listen to my sister's Nirvana tapes. I'm so glad Cobain killed himself. His daughter may hate that, but she can be adopted by a REAL musician, like Eric Clapton or the guys from Devo.
Too many of these songs are forgettable. "Cryptorchild"? I remember the Mountain Dew I drank during it more than what I'm supposed to be reviewing. Oh, I remember, there's some robot singing. It's stupid. And to think I paid, um, nothing for this! What an outrage. The only memorable ones are memorable for how terrible and unManson they are. "Angel with the Scabbed Wings" sounds like it belongs on some metal disc, not Marilyn Manson, which is supposed to fit between arbitrary parameters set by myself. "Mister Superstar" is a terrible, self-aggrandizing track that seems to connect celebrity with some sort of religious thing. I don't understand it, nor do I want to. "Wormboy" isn't too bad, but the lyrics are shit and so are the vocals. Manson's gone downhill as a singer since Smells Like Children; it's like after "Sweet Dreams" he gave up and decided to coast on laurels. By far the worst is "1996", which sounds cheesy and too metal and begins with "light a candle for the sinners, set the world on fire". The lyrics get worse from there, with Manson claiming to be anti-everything. I wish he was anti-metal with distorted feedback all the time. Then maybe this would be tolerable instead of something I wouldn't even allow my dog to listen to.
The biggest problem is the false advertising. On Antichrist Superstar there are 99 tracks. Oh, you think there are 99 songs, right? Wrong. There aren't. Instead, it's a disingenuous tactic meant to make us all look like idiots. There's actually 16 tracks and 17-98 are blank, with #99 being this thing under 2 minutes. As a purist I did not fastforward through the silence at all, I dutifully listened to all of it, waiting for the payoff. The payoff sucks. I was utterly offended by Nothing Records for treating listeners like they were fools. We trusted you and you let us down. Of course, maybe we should know better, considering they released the garbage Downward Spiral, which replaced Trent's fine synths with emotional, "complicated" trash. There's a lot of contempt for the loyal fans on Antichrist Superstar, from the pretentious breakup of the songs into "cycles" to having the album begin and end with the exact same phrase. It's apparent Manson and Reznor want to make an artistic statement, good music be damned. I didn't steal an advance copy so I could listen to the music equivalent of David Lynch. I hate it when artists try to act smarter than me. Well, if you're so smart, why must you rely on me to give you money? Not so smart then.
One of the biggest changes between Portrait of an American Family and Antichrist Superstar is Gidget Gein's replacement by Twiggy Ramirez. Gidget Gein was one of the greatest bassists of all time and Twiggy is a poor replacement. Terrible, really. Twiggy Ramirez first of all isn't as good a name as Gidget Gein. Who the hell is Ramirez anyway? Sounds Mexican. Everybody knows who Ed Gein was, but who knows this Ramirez person, if he's even a serial killer? Gein was so much better it's ridiculous. I don't know how to determine that, but I like the first album more than this one, so Twiggy must suck. Look, I'm a fanboy, not a music college graduate, so I base my judgments on how I feel, not what I know. What I feel is replacing Gein with Twiggy is worse than when KMFDM brought back that hack Raymond Watts (or should I say Gaymond?) into the fold for the disappointing Nihil. Sure, the rest of the band remains the same, but...Twiggy is awful, all right? Don't ask me to back up my opinion, I won't do it.
Antichrist Superstar is evil and a corrupting influence on today's youth. Now, I'm not entirely opposed to evil music. I mean, one time I listened to an album by Queen. But Marilyn Manson's new outlook takes the Christianity bashing way too far. The Devil isn't cool. I learned that in my Sunday School classes for years. Portrait of an American Family wasn't overtly anti-Christian, but this certainly is. I mean, the title alone ensures no Christians will want to give their money to Nothing Records. The Antichrist is a bad guy, and the name Antichrist Superstar both champions the Antichrist and mocks Jesus. Tracks like "Angel with the Scabbed Wings", "Antichrist Superstar" and "The Reflecting God" take an anti-Christian stance just by virtue of their titles. I listen to music for music, not politics or religion, and I bet Manson will alienate a lot of people with an overt stance on religion. Either the band hates God or is pretending to do so for record sales, which is even worse. Either way, it turned me off and probably biased me to the whole thing.
I definitely regret stalking Pogo for weeks just to get an advance copy of Antichrist Superstar. Now not only do I have a restraining order and pending legal action, my ears will never be able unhear the horribleness that is this horrible, horrible album. I'll buy the CD when it comes out next month, but I won't enjoy it. Marilyn Manson is an incredible disappointment. I thought they'd stay underground, but I guess latching onto Trent "Whine Inch Wails" Reznor was too tempting. It's clear what once was an egalitarian band in which everybody had equal say in the production of songs has been hijacked by that egomaniac Marilyn Manson and his patron Reznor. I think it might be time to write off Marilyn Manson as a could've been that turned into a wasn't. I'll see them in concert, but I very much doubt the VIP ticket I'll buy will be worth it. Perhaps I can air the grievance with Madonna Wayne Gacy, if he doesn't recognize me. (If I shave my neckbeard and change out of my Cheetos-covered Skinny Puppy shirt it might just work.)