hello folks! today we’re back with Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar, released in 1996. ive seen this record be described as both a rock opera and a concept album, so im interested to see how strong of a narrative it has to it!

it looks like under some listings, this records get broken into 3 parts – the first first part is Cycle 1: The Heirophant. Irresponsible Hate Anthem opens the record from the perspective of a speaker speaking from a place of power, indicating contradictions in both Christian and American popular thinking towards power and control. The Beautiful People is a track ive definitely heard at least bits of before – really dig the drums a lot on this song. lyrically, it speaks to a narrator that views themself placed above the masses, and clearly speaks to an intent to have the beautiful people rule. Dried Up, Tied and Dead To The World speaks to an alluring presence – it seems to move between that presence being drugs or the same figure from the last two songs, trying to entice the “you” with drugs and release. interesting track. Tourniquet is about a wildly unhealthy relationship – fitting, given tourniquets sometimes being medically necessary but can be damaging if used for too long. an interesting metaphor for a relationship that was necessary briefly but becomes more destructive the longer it lasts.

Cycle 2: Inauguration of the Worm seems to take a step back and focus on the birth and rise of the “worm”. gotta say, Marilyn Manson definitely has a way with words – Little Horn’s intro is certainly evocative, even if the imagery is pretty gruesome. this track seems to indicate the birth, literally or figuratively, of the apocalyptic antichrist figure that the record is conceptually about. Cryptorchid, named after a medical condition where an individual has an undescended testicle, seems to indicate the youth of the antichrist. the refrain at the end here gets used again, and here the choir is only slightly sinister. Deformography is a bit of a heel-turn, with the protagonist becoming a counter-culture figure. i think Wormboy was the track that worked most for me on the record – i really dug the strained, staggering guitar on this song. Mister Superstar is definitely a bit of a “careful what you wish for” – the wall of sound crashing down on the chorus definitely lends an air of this being overwhelming. Angel With The Scabbed Wings has the rockstar growing beyond rockstar fame in power, showing some biblical ambition. Kinderfeld closes out Cycle 2, and is a reflection on childhood trauma – looking back on the larval stage once they have their wings, as they say in the chorus.

Cycle III: Disintegrator Rising begins with the title track, Antichrist Superstar. here, we start with the crowd in full fascistic rally chant. brings in a lot more religious imagery, plus bringing back those eclipse lyrics from Cryptorchid. i def get the vibes of him pacing up on stage, performing this monologue for the rally. 1996 has, metatextually, an interesting vibe of Manson going, well, you believe these things about me, i’ll embody them, and playing into the pushback that results. gotta say “anti-white and anti-man / i got the anti-future plan” and “anti-gay and anti-pope / i am the faggot anti-pope” are both incredible lines. Minute of Decay shows that being the antichrist aint all it’s cracked up to be. The Reflecting God has the narrator at the apex of power – turns out that shit makes you pretty nihilistic in the classical sense. p effective climax for this segment of the record, to have 1996 be the violent acceptance of fate, Minute of Decay being the moment of reflection, amd Reflecting God being the lash back out, committing to the course, no matter the cost. the acoustic reprise under the sound of the crowd near the end is a very funny effect. Man That You Fear is an invitation to witness what has happened – i know that a lot of Manson’s work is a reflection on American and Christian culture, and this song, more than any, are a statement to that culture to say “this is what you’re set up to create”. the chorus says “the boy that you loved is the man that you fear”, and it feels a lot like “this is what you wrought”. the Untitled bonus track has a lot of the same atmospheric notes that Man That You Fear was working with, with some broken machine voices providing some additional commentary. some apocalyptic vibes on this one.

faves – Wormboy, 1996
dislikes –

i think there is a lot going on on this record, and i feel kinda mixed on it. i really do appreciate the ways the record appears to mirror Manson’s own journey to fame and his relationship with it, and i even can kinda get into the narrative suggested of a figure taking those feelings the apocalyptic distance. however, there are some parts of the band’s style i dont gel with – its not that their offensive, as i like plenty of stuff that toes the line, but more that this specific approach just doesnt really work for me. and it doesnt help that this leans a little heavy for me. i do feel like theres a solid amount of variety track to track, but the cumulative effect after 70 minutes is just a little more than i like. on the whole, i can see why this record was received the way it was and why it has the audience it does, it just isnt really my style.

Antichrist Superstar – 6/10

for the next Weekly Album Review, i’ll be listening to F# A# Infinity, by Godspeed You! Black Emporer. i’ll be back next Friday, December 15th with that review and to pick another weekly record, and in the meantime, let me know what album you’d like me to review! (i pool all suggestions in one place, and draw a person, then one pick from that person, so feel free to drop as many as you’d like! if you leave an email or username i’ll contact you when i’ve gotten through all your suggestions.)