Marilyn Manson - Mechanical Animals

Ah, only a few pages in, and already we reach this issues “most eagerly anticipated album of the year” section. Uh, yeah, if they say so.

Can I just say, as someone with a reputation for being a moaning miserable bastard to uphold, that I didn’t actually buy this. Someone was kind and did a copy for me, thankyou Vickie. I’d bought Portrait, which was a good album, and Antichrist, which was a bit crap really. And then sort of given up. The live gigs totally failed to live up to the hype and that was enough for me. Added to the proliferation of Kerrang! coverage whenever the bloke smudged his make-up, things aren’t looking good from the start here are they? But I’m fair! Sometimes!! And so we reach the new Marilyn Manson. As he is someone who relies heavily on image, I’m going to make a judgement on him here and now. If the same number of people that tried to copy the bad makeup of the last album do the same for the image he’s going for on this one, I’m going on a fucking massacre ok! That was massacre, not mascara.

But anyway, that’s not what we’re here for. What about the music. Well, let’s face it, you don’t need me to say anything. If you were going to buy this, then you’ll have done so by now. If not, well it’s probably cos you’re saving until you have the money to do so, and nothing I say is going to change your mind. But, if you’re going to buy it based purely on the previous album, then be aware that things have changed. In a bizarre manner almost. Antichrist Superstar was seen by some as a pseudo industrial type album. The implications that tends to bring, is of something rather mechanical and electronic. Yet Mechanical Animals, which is the pseudo glam album, seems to feel even more electronic. Well, that’s bizarre to my thinking anyway.

Overall, I think this is probably better than Antichrist, which I found to be an overly long album, lacking in memorable songs. Some good yeah, but too much cack. This one I think is going to be better. I say think, because I've only had time to listen to it a short number of times. Sometimes things don't have longevity. The biggest barrier to me listening to it though is me. Because the overkill hype on the man and his music has turned me against it. That may be shallow of me, but that's how it is. Overkill is not good. It's one of my reasons for going on against Kerrang! all the time. When they overkill a band, it can be detrimental. I don't want to listen to this, cos of all the bullshit. But that's ignoring the music. And if I choose to do that, then I sell out to myself, by allowing others to influence my decision. It's all tightly entwined. More so than people ever realise.

This time round, he's definitely taken on a Bowie influence. Which is another barrier for me, as I never really did like Bowie. I can hear it in the songs, and part of me is like "yeargh, fuck let me outta here". But another part is, "well ok, live with it." Then it's coupled with the fact that after 3 studio albums, I've finally figured that I find Manson's voice to be grating. It's monotone in it's approach. Just feels like there's little variation. Sure, he goes quiet to loud, but the same characteristics are always present. Which are boring. Everybody suffers from it, well, virtually everyone, Patton doesn't, neither does Serj and a few others. It then comes down to whether you like the voice or not. Take songs like The Speed of Pain, Fundamentally Loathsome and Coma White, all of which are great musically, but where his more subtle tortured vocals just grate and ruin things a bit.

I Don't like the drugs, but the drugs like me suffers from sounding like a title The Verve would use. Fortunately the music doesn't seem to suffer this, and is actually pretty good. Dancy, funky. More Disco than Korn were on Got The Life. Though that's not really saying much now is it?

Ultimately, if you like David Bowie, and that style of music, then there’s probably a good chance you’ll like this. If you dismissed the band as a product of Reznor, then maybe you should give this a chance. If you want to listen to something that’s not going to be featured on TV, in the press and anywhere else this year, then look elsewhere.

Whether this is album of the year is a different matter. Well not really. It isn't. And neither is Korn, Soulfly or Fear Factory. Use some imagination this year people. At this point, it's still not even my favourite Manson album, my vote still goes with Portrait. They were still a cartoon then. Fun and not so pretentious as they are now. Plus of course, I couldn't listen to that album without thinking Scooby Doo all the time. And as that was my favourite cartoon growing up as a kid, well, it holds something close to the heart that you don't want to know about.

But you lot dare dressing like him this time! The missile launcher is already on order.