Friday, July 25, 2014

FDF Volume 3 Issue 345 - Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar

Album – Antichrist Superstar
Artist – Marilyn Manson
Key Players – Ginger Fish – drums, programming. Madonna Wayne Gacy – keyboards/loops. Twiggy Ramirez – guitars, bass. Daisy Berkowitz – guitars. Marilyn Manson – lead vocals, guitar, pan flute
Produced By – Trent Reznor

Release Date – October 8, 1996

Overview – This is the second studio album from Marilyn Manson. This record is the one that made them a household name and with it the trappings of stardom. The album title is loosely based off “Jesus Christ Superstar” and is a rock opera, even part of a three album trilogy. The wild videos and the press always on Manson himself it was difficult to not be aware of them. This album would do well on the US Charts, going as high as #3 and would sell over 7 Million copies worldwide.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – There are 16 songs listed (17 if you include the old “hidden track”) clocking in at 77 minutes. “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” opens the albums with audience cheers, giving it a feeling of a live album. There are chants and about 30 seconds in it gets loud and heavy. Fish gets it rolling and Ramirez finds the chugging bass line. Manson has a loud howl to his voice and its offset with heavy screams and the band comes in all around him. The track actually has some tempo changes keeping it interesting, rather than going quiet to loud it does have some off tempo breakdowns. Its not as cookie cutter as one might think. The swirl of  "The Beautiful People" swells and its the drum roll from Fish and the chugging guitars from Berkowitz that are most well known. Even casual fans of the band know this song, not a lot to talk about. You've made up your mind a while ago on this one, but the guitars are pretty awesome. “Dried Up, Tied and Dead To the World” is much calmer that the prior track with a bit more focus on the keyboard line put down by Gacy. Its has the industrial, robotic feel to it, but continues with the buzzy guitars. Ramierez opens the bass up as  "Tourniquet" begins. The dual guitars ring well with the bass and Fish is heavy on the crash cymbals. Manson sings about as hushed as he'd ever sing, but as the chorus approaches he rinses with whiskey and razorblades and lets it fly. The drum bass and guitar play mid track keep with that heavy and thunderous rumble that push the track onwards. Fish gets on the ride cymbal and slows it, but crashes it soon after and we get a final run at the chorus. “Little Horn” is part of cycle B on the record (there are 3). The guitars lock on a single riff as Manson sings, he pushes beyond that opening verse and the full band comes in. You can hear the touch from Reznor here, very industrial feeling with hints of the edge of Ministry. Fish and Gacy start off “Cryptorchid” and Manson starts the vocals pretty early on. He speaks the lines more than he sings at the outset,but there are some background high harmonies and later on when its just Gacy on keyboards under some heavily distorted “quiet” vocals. The effect will remind you of a Clockwork Orange soundtrack with the indecipherable lyrics, but you know there are words there and it fades right to “Deformography”. Another slower to build type track but with no heavier a back layer of bass/guitar/drums. The robotic drumming just has all the more accent on the strikes before guitars take over the layers and Manson grows increasingly angry sounding. It calms, then does the sort of “rinse-lather-repeat” thing. “Worm Boy” has a bit more of that classic Manson feel. The off tempo buzzy guitars and drums with Manson taking the lead in pushing everyone. Fish is particularly interesting rotating from computer drums to standard acoustic drums. The slow burn of the guitars builds as
“Mister Superstar” gets underway and by the first verse it locks in to a cool riff. Ramierez has a cool bass line that has some nice melodic runs as Berkowitz then hammers down and the band explodes. This is the Marilyn Manson your mom knows about. “Angel With The Scabbed Wings” blends right in to the prior track with the same rumble of bass and guitar. This track has a solid back beat and, although I've used it a lot, the “chugging” is sort of cool. The band gets after it and not instrument is not beat on heavily! “Kinderfeld” is the last song of the section “b” segment. Again Ramierez finds a cool bass line to lock on and Gacy throws in the keyboard flourishes. Fish is slow to get the drums moving along but Berkowitz is idle for the first verse. Gacy throws in some chops, and by the chorus the guitar is light and largely an accompaniment before offering up some harmonic layers. The bass is the driving force on the track.  "Anti Christ Superstar" is the first track of “Cycle III – Disintigration Rising” segment of the record. Another sonic assault. The guitars are at the front of “1996” and Manson and company go right after it on this. A frenzy of bass and drums pushing the eardrums of those daring to stay locked in. The drum machine tempo and simple bass open “Minute of Decay” with the guitar shimmering in the background before it switches on the distortion, albeit it still “in the background” as the bass remains steady. Manson again is very hushed but he grows with an angry howl even as the band doesn't get too wild along side him. Manson is the first thing you hear as“The Reflecting God” gets underway. The industrial feel is back and this is the Manson that fans are looking for, that angst and dark stuff with huge down beats. As far as the official track listing the album concludes with “Man That You Fear”. Starting off much slower it has a quiet piano but moments of aggression at times. As an album closer it works with everyone almost “tired” Once that is done, go to track 99 to hear the hidden track “Empty Sounds of Hate”. This is a loop track in that if you play the start of track 1 its a continuation. Its fuzzy spoken word, not a song,but the idea is to have the album “loop” as a continual story.
Where are they now? - Berkowitz left the band left the band soon after the album was completed. He continues to work in music but was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in 2013.  Ramirez also works in the business playing with A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails and doing production work.   Fish works with Rob Zombie. Manson himself is working on a new record that may see release in late 2014.

FDF Overall Take/Was it worth Dusting Off? - There is no way around this, Manson is a polarizing artist. At the time this was pretty heavy and he kept it interesting both with his music and in the public eye. Every interview I ever have seen or read with him he always comes across as a very well educated guy that believes in what he is doing. I think his calm demeanor in the face of everyone what wants to protest him makes him all the more interesting. This is a great snap shot of the time, and musically its very strong. His popularity may have waned some, but its worth putting your toes back in this pool at the very least.

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