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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Golden Age of Grotesque
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on 23 May 2003
To say I was awaiting this album eagerly is something of an understatement - I've been a fan of Mr. Manson and his cohorts since 'Antichrist Superstar' and enjoy all of his albums. 'Golden Age...' opens with an explosion of industrial beats, jarring guitars and random bleepy bits (technical term). This first song is very representative of the album, especially considering the lyric 'Rebel Rebel Party Party Sex Sex Sex and don't forget the Violence' - basically this is classic Manson taken to an extreme of decadence.
Lyrically the album is a big departure, it's basically a party album through and through - none of the anti-religion rants or drugs and politics stories of the previous two albums. Manson mostly sings about himself, and not in the style of 'Antichrist...' which was basically about his childhood and the painful metarmorphosis he experienced (read his book, 'The long Hard Road out of Hell' for more on this - it really shows his intelligence). This album takes more of an Eminem slant on the lyrics, but with Manson's trademark wordplay and plenty of references to 1930's Berlin manages to retain more than enough cool.
Musically the album is similar to what went before, some parts sound like 'Holy Wood...', more parts sound like 'Mechanical Animals', but the addition of Tim Skold (KMFDM) to the band has resulted in a slicker industrialised sound than previously heard. These songs are ridiculously catchy, with a playfulness on some of the tracks not heard since their debut 'Portrait of an American Family'. From the opening beats you just know you're not going to get them out of your head for months. The bonus DVD is typically strange and essentially a direct glimpse into Manson's mind and art - interesting if you are a huge fan and think you might have some chance of deciphering it. All in all, absolutely essential.
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Well, I'll start by stating that I love pretty much all of the various releases by Marilyn Manson, the band. I do also love the persona of Marilyn Manson, in that the things he says, and the feelings he convey are very much neccesary in a world like ours.
"Portrait of an American Family" was a great rock n' roll album, where it was all about the music, and there was little or no message. Gradually, through the trilogy ("Antichrist Superstar", "Mechanical Animals" and "Holy Wood") there is a greater emphasis on harder-edged imagery and lyrics. Songs would contain references to various arcane sources. Other songs would simply offend, because it contained blasphemes lyrics and any number of allusions to drug abuse.
But here we are, beyond the quite incredible 'final chapter' that was "Holy Wood". Is there anything left that Marilyn Manson has to say? The opening line of the album tells us there isn't. So instead are we left with a purified Marilyn Manson sound? No no no. There is plenty left to say it seems; amongst which are the repeating themes of decadent pre-nazi Germany and the band's own struggle to shake off the people who try to tear them down.
Both lyrically and musically there is a nice departure to simpler themes, as displayed in the stomping "Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag". But stylistically, the album is presented as a sideshow of alternate Marilyn Mansons, some of which are even more twisted than previous incarnations. What's an androgynous mannequin suit compared to a bar-mouthed Mickey Mouse crossed with that freak show owner from the League of Gentlemen?
Highlights from this album include the title track, "Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag", "Spade", "Vodevil", "This is the New Sh*t", "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom"... Actually, it's all great. I can't really pick a single bad tack from it (though if i had to, "mOBSCENE" would be it). Also, if you pick up the special edition there's an extra pair of tracks: the first is a cover of Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", which like "Sweet Dreams" before it, manages to deliver that 'tainted' feel which the original lacked; the second and last, the nicely titled "Baboon Rape party", is a demo version of what sounds like the intro crossed with the outro and a dozen other things (and this works perfectly, as it closes the album a second time by acting as another outro tapeloop).
And best of all, "Doppelherz"... This short 25 minute film is one of those very strange things you have to experience, so I will not spoil it for you.
So all in all, it's a stunning new album from a band, containing as it does, only 2 remaining original members. Tim Skold replaces the departed Twiggy Ramirez, changing the overall sound of the band, and seemingly influencing the writing style of Manson himself. Good work.
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This is Manson what else can I say except magnificent, as always. Well quite a few things actually! The album kicks off with an eerie "intro", to get the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end & sending chills down your spine. This 1:14 track gets you ready to embark on TGAOG (The Golden Age of Grotesque).
Next comes a good song with a good title "This is the New Sh*t" the title is very true for what is to follow, as Manson goes places on this album he has never been before. He starts off by saying, "Everything has been said before There's nothing left to say anymore When it's all the same You can ask for it by name" This refers to what the rest of the tracks have install for you, Manson is telling you that he has said all he wants to say on politics, religion, society etc on previous albums, on this album he is himself. As with most of the tracks on TGAOG they are really catchy & will be stuck in your head for weeks.
Next is "mOBSCENE" the 1st single to be released off TGAOG. This is a very catchy song with a cheerleader chorus of "Be obscene, Be, be obscene Be obscene, baby and Not heard" You have to see the video to this song!
Next up is "Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag" this song will have you smiling & tapping your foot along to the catchy beat.
"Use Your Fist And Not Your Mouth" as soon as the guitar starts on this song you know this is gonna be a song to mosh to.
"The Golden Age Of Grotesque" this is the song that Manson says the album is all about, very weird song indeed.
Next up is "(s)AINT" in which Manson says "But now I'm not an artist, I'm a f**king work of art" this one of my favourite songs on the album.
"Ka-Boom Ka-Boom" I'm not sure what to say about this track except that it’s really amazing & it'll have you singing along for sure. In This song Manson says, "I like a big car cause I'm a big star I'll make a big rock and roll hit".
Next up is one of my favourites "Slutgarden" I was obsessed with this song when I first heard the album I love the chorus it’s just really catchy & sing-alongy! the chorus goes "When I said we you know I meant me And when I said sweet I meant dirty (hey, hey)"
"Spade" a broken-hearted love song, very good." Para-noir" is a song where Manson got women to give their reasons for sleeping with him.
"The Bright Young Things" is a great song, lots of heavy guitar, great song to mosh to, love it! "Better Of Two Evils" starts off "Haters call me b***h Call me fa**ot Call me whitey but I am something you can never be Hey!" This is defiantly one of my favourite from the album, lots of hate on this song.
"Vodevil" another one of my favourites, very catchy chorus on this one.
TGAOG ends with Obsequey (the death of art) a great end to a brilliant album.
The bonus tracks include "Tainted Love" & "Baboon Rape Party" which are a great addition to this album & I’m sure every Manson fan will enjoy them.
The extra dvd is very strange. Manson says some very interesting phrases to think about & there's intriguing imagery used as well.
What are you waiting for buy this open now! Don't delay!
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on 14 May 2003
i kinda went off marilyn manson after holywood. it was an album that seemed good the first dozen times but after that seemed lackluster. so buying 'the golden age of grotesque' wasn't ranked too high on my list of priorities. despite this i still picked it up on the day of release. i wasn't quite sure what to expect. a sequel to 'Holywood'? or a different turn for MM? well...a bit of both but more the latter...thankfully. inspired a lot by 1930's Germany this is far from an album to "goose step" to. it's a mix of goth/industrial and aspects of rock and metal...with a pinch of modern art (if that makes sense). kind of like marilyn manson meets the Tate Modern.
styles swing aggresivly on this album, you think you've got this album pigeon-holed and then it u-turns and flips the bird in your face...whining guitars on tracks like 'Para-noir' mixed with in your face rock on soon to be classic tracks like 'This is the new sh*t' and 'mOBSCENE' (which has a familiar sound to tracks from previous albums). sampled drum loops feature heavily on this album (most tracks in-fact) and the carnival/marching style title track is very different from most of the album.
aside from the aforementioned, some of the best tracks include: 'use your fist and not your mouth' '(s)AINT' and the bonus tracks. the intro and outro are also very cool.
As for the DVD 'Doppelherz'...it's one of the weirdest things you'll put in you DVD player (this may not be the case for certain people!!!). a 30 min (approx) short film, made by Mr Manson himself, consists of repeated sentences based around his views...i won't explain it too much because i think it would spoil it. personally i liked it, even if it was slightly bemusing and maybe a little arrogant.
on the whole this is marilyn manson best work since antichrist superstar, and maybe after a few more listens it may even eclipse it.
this is also a good buy if this is your first Marilyn Manson purchase as it is very approachable.
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on 14 May 2003
So the key point is this: on the whole, The Golden Age Of Grotesque is different from the previous three masterpieces. It's going to cause a strong divide between people who love it and hate it. How is it different?
Well,
What we are used to is the sound of a strange,tortured, angry creature screaming at the top of his voice to anyone who will listen. We are used to songs of pain that we can feel, that goes right into us, that we dare not turn our back on - and even if we do the screaming will just get louder. Lyrics that come from the deepest abyss of a blackened soul, and with an agonising sincerity.
The GAOG brings us grown up nursery rhyme chants from rowdy kids in the play ground, shouting "yeh we wont take your S*** anymore coz we dont give a F***". The lyrics are a lot more arrogant and self centered, even self- accepting, than the "i hate you, i hate me, i hate the world, what's the point of being alive" sentiments that we generally associate with Manson.
GAOG is probably more human. Previously, Manson has remained an untouchable force, who could reach us, but we could never reach him. So, strangely, despite the general lack of opinions and deep dark feelings, this album almost seems the truest closest representation of Manson yet. A big rowdy kid.
I could refer to individul tracks saying how and why they are good... but would end up listing all of them. So just buy the album, and buy it with an open mind.
Anyone who has paid any attention to any of his interviews or words on marilynmanson.com will know to expect the unexpected, and not just another churn out of the last three albums catering to the record-companies money-grabbing needs.
So the guy sounds a bit happier.... surely he deserves it? Perhaps he's actually made it down the "long hard road out of hell". Would you kick him straight back down it for the sake of another depressing song? The one's who probably consider themselves the most long-standing die-hard Manson fans are probably the ones who would. All you depressives who loved to share the pain of a rock star - maybe you should take hope from this album. One day you will come out of the pain smiling?
To conclude.... BUY IT! It's brash and fun and will put a smile on your face.
(Oh, and with regards to the DVD. It's one of those arty films that some would call pretentious and some would call genius. Either way it's worth a look)
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on 13 June 2003
Let me start by making something clear about myself: I'm not the 'usual' guy who's into heavy rock music. For instance, although I like some nu metal I loathe most of it.
However, Marylin Mason is a pure delight. He oozes style and confidence; he carved out his own gothic niche and is 'da man' in modern gothic rock. In particular, his energy and acting on stage, his sense of showbusiness and tapping of young minds still amaze me. His whole setup leaves in the mud other rock'n'roll oldies that were known for being quite unconventional.
This is a great CD and conventional it definitely isn't. There are fabulous songs that will appeal to any person of any musical tastes. I especially point out "This Is The S**t", "Use Your Fist And Not Your Mouth", "(s)Aint" and "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom". If you who are reading this aren't much into this kind of music and are not sure you should even hear Manson's songs then I assure you that if you play this CD once you'll be hooked forever.
The other thing I like very much about this album is the elegance, the style, the self-restraint of the music followed by explosions of exhuberance. And, of course, the magnificient guitars.
The only reason I don't give this CD five stars is that there is an element of grandeur missing in what could be an epic recording. I can't quite put the finger on it but am pretty sure MM can still do better.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2004
Now my favourite MM release is without doubt Mechanical Animals, largely because Antichrist superstar was over rated and couldnt decide whether to be industrial or thrash. Holy Wood was good and encompassed many different musical styles but lacked any real lyrical or vocal progresion and felt over pretentious in a way, Mechanical Animals was a great album ulike anything since Nirvana Glam Rock is back! Then to the GAOG its a good album no doubt, the emotions and shocks hae definitely gone for this one, with only Para-noir really showing any of either. Stil this is a good standard rock n roll album, it steps back in a way to the days of ACSS particularly with the opening This Is The New Sh*t sounding like a watered down Irresponsible Hate Anthem. That's the problem a lot of this album has: It's all been done before and better. Manson's promise to change the face of music and art will go unfulfilled this is a more comercial and produced record than anything hes made before and it will probably sell bettter than the flop of Holywood, but it isnt a particularly great record. 2003 was the year of dissapointing records, and the year that marilyn manson well and truly ran out of things to say.
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This is not the dark self-indulgent concept album it could have easily been. Marilyn Manson is back with his best work since the magnificent Antichrist Superstar and a mixture of sounds from his past. Using electronica isn't new to the band, most of Portrait Of An American Family is based around it, and it is not a integral part of this album.
The Golden Age Of Grotesque is a balanced compromise between the muddy heavy thrash of most of Antichrist Superstar and the later polished simplicity of Holywood and Mechanical Animals, without all the pretentious glam nonsence of the latter and with all the ferociousness and purpose of the former.
Marilyn Manson is a showman. And we know far too much about him (and his motives) to take him too seriously, but this is a good sound, simplistic (yet highly effective) lyrics and above all, the songs have regained a much forgotten focus, imagination and punch. At times, it's like watching a TV movie of a stage show, but this is the whole point.
Standout Tracks: Para-noir, Use Your Fist And Not Your Mouth, (S)aint.
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on 13 May 2003
Back in 1996, Brian Warner aka Marilyn Manson was one of the most controversial figures in rock, but almost ten years on and Manson's shock-rock is being out-shone by the likes of Eminem and the lesbian duo TaTu.
Through out his career, Warner has been a suave musician, where he changed lanes in the music world when something of his was getting old fashioned to the fans.
The Golden Age of Grotesque is no exception, inspired by 1930's Berlin and other Grotesque past references, This may well be his best album to date. This time, his role in life is simple "Make Music and Create Art"; sometimes he says that is his religion. At 15 tracks long, Manson talks about mainly relationships, this is Warner at his least controversial, no obvious references to religion can be found here.
Overall Manson has proved that he can bounce back when something goes pear-shaped. It may not have the ultimate collection of songs like it's predecessor but it does have that charm that is Good Music.
A work of art! Good Comeback!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2003
Marilyn Manson's new album "The Golden Age of Grotesque" isn't his strongest album, but it proves to be a really good listen. It has its weak points and flaws, but beyond that lies a really well-constructed album. Manson is always trying new things, which is one of the main qualities I like about his band; none of his CDs sound the same.
"The Golden Age of Grotesque" is a dark and angry album. It's heavy and melodic, and most of the songs flow nicely. This album isn't nearly as controversial or disturbing as his previous work, but I guess it'd get old real quick if he tried to be controversial on everything he does. It appears there's a lot of new guys in the band and they do a very excellent job.
The major weak point of the album is the lyrics. I think Manson is a much better writer than this when it comes to songs. He uses a lot of hip-hop jargon in some of his songs. Now, I don't have a problem with hip-hop influences, but it just doesn't fit well with Manson's stuff. Don't get the wrong idea and think that Manson has pulled a Fred Durst, because that is absolutely not the case. The lyrics are okay, I just think he could've come up with better ones.
All of the songs are good for the most part and it's one of those albums where you can listen to the whole thing without worrying about skipping tracks. My favourites are "this is the new ----," "mOBSCENE," "use your fist and not your mouth," "(s)aint," "ka-boom, ka-boom," "para-noir," and "vodevil."
"The Golden Age of Grotesque" is a great effort from Manson, despite some of the album's weak points and flaws. If you're a fan of his earlier work, chances are you will enjoy this one as well. While it's not perfect, it is something that will be in my CD player for a long time.
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