The Golden Age Of Grotesque

Marilyn Manson

Nothing Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Roland Fratzl


I've been a fan of Marilyn Manson since 1996. I bought all the albums (except the live one). The first three studio albums are great, and the fourth one is very good too (not counting Smells Like Children, which is an oddities album). But the brand new full length disc, The Golden Age Of Grotesque, is a HUGE, let me repeat, HUGE letdown.

I really thought that Marilyn Manson was going to take rock in a fresh new direction; after all, he's been hyping this album as a sex-drenched hybrid of electronic rhythms and the decadent sounds and spirit of 1920s Berlin for the last year or two. My mouth practically watered over the potential of such a stylistic departure. Unfortunately, isn't anything like that. It's fucking boring. Tired, generic riffs and more than the usual screaming adorn the same old industrial-metal proceedings, except this time there aren't any cool melodies or exotic sounds to be found for the most part.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The man totally ran out of ideas, and now he's just rehashing his old sound, just not nearly as well as he used to. The album rocks very hard and the signature Manson sound is in place, but to me that's part of the problem. There are simply far too many parts that sound far too familiar because they're poorly disguised reworkings of older material (eg. see the first single, "mOBSCENE"). Tracks like "This Is The New Sh*t" (also on the Matrix Reloaded Soundtrack) and the dancehall swing influenced "Doll Dagga Buzz Buzz Ziggety Zag" (whose great potential is wasted) stand out above the mediocre rest but nonetheless fail to match the heights of Manson's past career defining Anti-Christ Superstar and Mechanical Animals albums.

Overall, The Golden Age Of Grotesque is extremely uninspired. I'm now convinced that Marilyn Manson is not nearly as artistically creative as he would have us think, despite his brilliance at marketing himself that way. And the hoopla about collaborating with the controversial Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein? Big effing deal. All the artwork and pictures in the booklet are nothing new, and no different than anything else Manson did before. The CD even came with a bonus dvd of a short "artsy" film called Doppelherz that Manson and Helnwein made. It's a useless, annoying, pretentious piece of shit that's supposed to be "deep" yet looks like it was made on the spot completely at random with a cheap-ass camera. The best thing I can say about it is that he has great taste in women. Ye gods, you don't know how disappointed I am.

I guess my expectations simply exceed his talent.

First CD I bought in at least a year, and it sucks. That's what I get for not sampling any of the tracks beforehand online. Thanks for eroding my little remaining faith even further, recording industry.

If you want good, heavy, and extremely well-crafted shock rock, then I suggest you go straight to the source and check out the latest albums by Alice Cooper. Pretty ironic that the 55-year-old Cooper creatively still runs circles around the likes of a supposedly relevant contemporary artist such as Marilyn Manson.

Take some tips from daddy, Mr. Warner!

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Roland Fratzl and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Nothing Records, and is used for informational purposes only.