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Jun 202007

Marilyn Manson returns this year with Eat Me Drink Me, an album long awaited by fat girls who cut themselves. Eat Me marks a transition for Manson into a more ambitious and musical phase of song composition and away from the Ministry meets The Exorcist post-industrial Glam/ Goth he championed.

Suck Me, Blow Me

Suck Me, Blow Me

Manson deserves credit for trying to take an image and sound he perfected and take it in a more mature direction. Once a performer eclipses 40 -Marilyn’s getting close- their penchant for macabre showmanship becomes camp (see Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper) maybe to be revisited again when they are truly creepy in their mid 70s. Something tells me MM isn’t going to make it that far. This time around he tempers his look a bit and gazes inward to produce an album with a contemporary rock feel and an exploration of emotion and relationships Manson style. Sure, dark imagery is still pervasive in songs like “Only a Car Crash Away” and “Mutilation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery,” but on other tunes like “Heart-shaped Glasses” with its snappy intro, infectious melody, and atrocious chorus and “If I Was Your Vampire” Manson explores his version of new love, despair, and loss.

This is ambitious but I dig the dark, anthemic, arena sing-along Manson who spits venom at society and all its conventions. I want the demonic demagogue anti-hero that makes Middle America, the misinformed, and the religious right’s panties bunch and go straight up their collective asses. Some may say that MM’s voice and musical integrity may not be up to the task of tackling the more straightforward, stripped down sound. They might be right if Manson’s listless, coked-out amphitheatre shows with Slayer in Atlanta and Tampa are any indication.

It is hard for me to accept Manson as a  ”real” human and all the foibles and emotion that go with the condition, but I do accept the fact that he is an intelligent and relevant figure. To sum it up Dita von Teese broke Manson’s heart (Waaaa!) and Evan Rachel Wood saved him. I didn’t know the Antichrist Superstar was so sensitive.

This album is solely the work of Manson with multi-instrumentalist and producer Tim Skold of Shotgun Messiah (wow) and KMFDM. Skold, who played bass with MM after Twiggy’s departure is the mind behind the progressive riffs and hooks on this album as well as the guitar player on tour. Marilyn came to prominence with a post-industrial metal sound under the tutelage of Trent Reznor and now Tim Skold seems to be reviving and repackaging a mature MM in a more alternative rock, Cure meets Boris Karloff incarnation.

Basically, Manson was able to wrap up his feelings and emotional exploration in a well-crafted album that takes him in a new more musically solid direction with enough sinister lyrics and creepy Alice in Wonderland references to keep the trench coat mafia satisfied whilst leaving them teary-eyed. Come on. Give it up for a Florida boy.

Jun 192007
Furious Jorge

Furious Jorge

The first drawback to punk shows when you are a grown-up is that they usually start when the sun is still up. The pre-dusk show time lead me to miss “Punk for Life Tour”-mates L.A’s Time Again and Boston street punkers A Global Threat. The upside to this is that I don’t have to watch a procession of angry pre-teens coolly ignoring their moms as they saunter out of minivans.

When I get there, BackBooth is packed and hot. And, if I had any doubt as to what kind of show I stumbled into, the phrase, “fuckin’ hardcore motherfuckin’ punk fuckin’ rock” greeted me at the front door as it rode the magic carpet of PBR through my nostrils.

The Casualties took the stage and tore through their set. These guys are “street punk” a.k.a Рfucking ugly. No primped “mall punk” here, The Casualties are serious. Jorge’s voice is classic hardcore, screeching and pissed. Megger’s drumming is solid and powerful and elevated their attack from sheer noise to tenacious.

Some of the standout songs were from 2004’s On The Front Line. “Casualties Army” and “The World Belongs to Us” created a frenzy through the room. The energy of the crowd is palpable, or maybe it’s just the B.O. and angst.  Navigating the swirling, all encompassing pit was hard with camera in hand… well, when in Rome. I cleared my path with a forearm to the throat here and elbow to the skull there. Wow, I miss this, but I am too old. I think I may have seriously hurt some 6th graders.

As Jorge’s trademark brightly colored hair spikes became flaccid so did my interest. Then, just like that, it was over. Time to beat the minivans.

Article originally appeared in REAX Issue #15, May 15 2007

Mayhem at The Casualties show