On the surface, The Golden Age of Grotesque delivers all of the noise and aggression that one expects from Manson.
On the surface, The Golden Age of Grotesque delivers all of the noise and aggression that one expects from Manson. Deeper investigation, however, reveals far more. For example, many of the songs here are underscored with Kurt Weill-influenced melodies, often conjuring mental images of pre-World War II German burlesque. They take on an initially startling but ultimately satisfying tone when fueled by rhythms that range from thunderously metallic to hip-hop-flavored. He also offers insightful, if intentionally brusque, diatribes on religion, sex, and prejudice. Manson continues to press emotional hot-buttons. In "Slutgarden," he comments on sexuality by contorting a nursery rhyme into "You are the church/I am the steeple/When we fuck/We're all of God's people." It's a salient point, but its content is sure to raise eyebrows. And Manson wouldn't have it any other way.—LF