Release Date: May 13, 2003
Reviewed by Sonya Sutherland

Did anyone really think Marilyn Manson would just go away and let Eminem take over as the America’s captain controversy? Not a chance. Guess who also is back? That’s right, everyone’s favourite Antichrist Superstar. And to top matters off, not only has the Arch Dandy Marilyn returned in full force, he brought a ladies chorus line to make sure you get the message loud and clear: Be Obscene BE BE Obscene. The Golden Age of Grotesque, the fourth release from Marilyn Manson, is not just an album but an artistic movement, or at least according to front man Manson. The band known for its concept albums has just shelled out the new shit and boy does it rock. This time its Manson gone ghetto fabulous- fat bass lines, quick rhyming lyrics and a mouth full of metal- with a dash of roaring twenties for good measure. Sure he’s lauded for his clever lyrics – “You are the church, and I am the steeple/When we fuck, we are all God’s people” (slutgarden) – “I said no, this isn’t your song/We can’t all get along/ It’s too hard to hold hands when your hands are fists” (Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth) – “I got an F and a C, and I got a K too/And the only thing that’s missing is a bitch like U” ((S)aint) – but would you expect anything less from the man who took on Christianity with Antichrist Superstar?

The Golden Age of Grotesque, clever lyrics aside, is a musical masterpiece. Longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez parted ways with the band, and subsequently Tim Skold (KMFDM, Shotgun Messiah) jumped on board. Skold’s industrial influence is quite apparent and gives this album its rock edge while maintain the more hip-hop-esque basslines and industrial drum beats. Throw in a bit of swing for Dolly-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zagg, falsettos in the Golden Age of Grotesque, crunchy guitars for This is the New Shit and Vodevil, and you have a potpourri that fits somewhere along the lines of Moulin Rouge on Acid. What’s more, Manson even takes time out of his day to fit in a love song: “You drained my heart, and made a spade/There’s still traces of me in your veins” (spade).

Overall, this is another magnum opus dished out by Marilyn Manson and company. The soundscape is creative, varied and at the very least makes you want to shake your ass. Manson serves as the perfect ring master for this tuneful big top, laying his distinct voice over the circus rhythms provided by fellow cronies Skold, Pogo, and Ginger Fish. The choice is obvious. Go ahead and buy Golden Age of Grotesque already, even if it is only to hear Marilyn drawl Kaboom Kaboom, this album is worth ever penny.

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