By Slick Nick
During the 90s, if you bought even one copy of Kerrang! magazine, you couldn’t help but be exposed to the monstrosity that was Marilyn Manson, who came to represent everything that could possibly go wrong when a bunch of lads entered a recording studio. They were everywhere, and the release of each new album was treated, ironically given their Satanist leanings, like the second coming of Christ himself by the press.
Manson, real name Brian Warner, was the very definition of style-over-substance, where looking like a dick and saying silly things in interviews could generate a shit ton of record sales even if the music on those records was as bad as that of ‘Mechanical Animals’, his third album.
With a lead singer that relied almost solely on image, and a group of cohorts all named after serial killers, it just screamed of childish attention seeking from the get-go, as if they knew they were never going to write any music that was worth listening to but couldn’t bare the thought of making the coffee in an office for the rest of their lives.
Growing up, a few things puzzled me about this band. Obviously the music had zero merit; it wasn’t particularly heavy, and there certainly wasn’t any melodies to remember . There was no sex appeal unless you happened to have a fetish for very ugly, under fed men. The instrumentation was basic and would never be admired by proggy muso types in the same way that something like Tool would have been. Yet the group’s army of misguided fans kept growing. Despite all their controversy, musically they had more in common with T Rex than Slayer, and the only shocking effect they had on the impressionable youth of the day was postponing their discovery of decent music for a few years. For myself, that band/act was Rod Stewart, but I digress slightly.
‘Mechanical Animals’ is an hour of inconsistent, incoherent balls. Every song starts and ends with noise, and inbetween fails to satisfy in every way. The vocals are the same monotonous, crap-sounding dirge, underpinned by sometimes glam/sometimes industrial but always dull nothingness. It’s so fucking slow and drawn-out as well, with each song about two minutes longer than necessary. Lead single ‘Dope Show’ is a particularly big offender; less music, more torture.
There are fleeting moments of listenable guitar work but these are over quickly to make way for more rubbish. It must have been frustrating having to make this album as a guitarist with someone as up themselves as Manson at the helm of the operation. I’m sure they consoled themselves with the buckets of money they made though.
Finally, the genre-skipping really winds me up. This can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to wank over David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust material or be featured in a straight to DVD film in a scene where a load of douchebag characters enter an ‘alternative’ nightclub for the first time in their lives. If you’re going to dip into every genre found on allmusic.com then before you do so, you’d better make sure you’re some kind of fucking musical prodigy like Brian Wilson or Will.I.Am first, lest you end up with a piece of shit like ‘Mechanical Animals’ on your CV.
We’re all slaves in the… crap music show.