Sunday, October 9, 2011


It was 1996, my first year of college. I was studying Industrial Design. I wanted to continue Graphic Design at a more affordable school but that's all they had available where I lived. My leisure time was very much occupied by devouring hours of endless entertaiment on cable and especially on MTV with no real friends and writing dark fairy tales to compensate my depression. 

Yes, indeed it was a transitional period for me and during this time I also had to face the fact that I was in a broken home and my grandparents took me in after surviving a painful divorce. And it so happened that I discovered something that would bring me comfort and unleash my imagination.

I don't recall the date but it must have been around the fall when I had the opportunity to buy the cassette tape known as Antichrist Superstar. My heart was racing the first time I bought it because of its uber satanic nature of the cover and yet I embraced it with the curiosity of a child.

The unexpected part of all this however was that its chaotic sound was so soothing that I always felt a strange filling of calmness, a sort of talisman that would help me deal with all the nightmares. This wasn't the very first time I ran into Manson, actually the first tracks I ever listened to where from the 1994's Portrait Of An American Family which I borrowed from a friend of my brother.

And as the sane world, if there was such a thing had trouble digesting this new record another event took place as it became mainstream on MTV. This helped Antichrist Superstar build a soild fanbase and a handful of curious people who did nothing but spread over the top rumors around Marilyn Manson´s persona. Some said he removed his ribs, others claimed he was the child actor Paul from The Wonders Years, others said he sacrificed animals and did rituals in every single concert.

Others saw in this band a potential threat, yet another chance to blame teenage violence on this eerie music and dark lyrics, an opportunity for angry Christians to make it easier to blame everything on the Antichrist, as if it were so simple an evident. Manson flamboyantly counterattacked with cleverly built speeches claiming that although he had contact with the likes of the deceased leader of the Satanic Church, Mr. Anton La Vey it was more of a personal philospohy, a transformation into a stronger being rather than a helpless pathetic little Wormboy. Art, in the end.

The media however began to notice the effects of this provocateur who was just reprising the days of David Bowie, KISS and good old Alice Cooper and while Mr. Manson saw no big harm isolated incidents such as the death of a teenager who committed suicide while listening to "The Reflecting God" contributed to stir the controversy of the negative effects of shock rock.

Progressively the music industry censored or undertoned what artists were publishing, not to mention rap music which was plagued by violence, hate and misogyny.

"Someone had to go this far" Man That You Fear, MM.

Did Manson go too far or push some very sensitive buttons with this album? Of course. By the time Mechanical Animals was released in 1998 the days of the Antichrist fell into a hiatus to make way for an androgynous alien which seemed incredibly odd but with a more welcoming aesthetic and thus it would be a happily ever after...right? right?

Not exactly, it seemed that a major incident ocurred back in 1999 following a brutal massacre at Columbine High School, perpetrated by two students alienated from society who presumably were avid followers of Manson and killed in his name. Although nothing was proven, let's remember that this was an age old argument that goes back all the way to the 50s when rock n' roll seemed to become a nuissance it did bring a scar to the Manson family and became a turning point in their career.

What it did leave us with, on the other hand is a reminder that rock n' roll it's not just about the headbanging, it's also about entertainment and what better way that bringing back the theatricality that it lost when the grunge era was in vogue and something big had to fill in the void that Kurt Cobain left.

But does it still hold up after all these years? The answer is yes, it continues to shock but in a much more richer way.

You see, when you're seventeen it's completely normal to comprehend this album but when you reached a certain age it becomes more of an object of study.

I know that there have been many things written, from analysis to interpretations about Antichrist Superstar struggling to find hidden answers and meanings in its Occult nature or some kind of symbolisms but I prefer to see the way it is; it's just art, it doesn't mean anything in particular unless you want it.

I lent to my dad a tape I made of Marilyn Manson because he grew curious about this fellow and somehow tried to bond with me listening to the music and to this day I remember he said, "Well, this sounds pretty much like poetry, satanic poetry, if you will, but yes poetry in the end."

0 comentarios:

Post a Comment