Marilyn Manson – “Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death)” review

Released 2 years after his 3rd album Mechanical Animals, the infamous Marilyn Manson closes out the trilogy that began with his 2nd album Antichrist Superstar with what could very well be his best work. Unlike Mechanical Animals (which featured more of a glam rock sound rather than the industrial metal sound he’s known for), Holywood marks a return to that signature sound. Although he already was a polarizing figure in the late 90’s, during this time period he was being blamed for the Columbine massacre that had occurred a year prior & this album was his way of denying that. Things kick off with the track GodEatGod, which features truly haunting instrumentation (I can imagine this in a horror movie) & Manson eerily comparing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. On The Love Song, Manson explains that he feels society loves 3 things: Guns, God & the Government. On the other hand, the next 2 tracks The Fight Song & Disposable Teens seem to be visceral anthems aimed at the teens who feel like outcasts. On one of my favorite tracks Target Audience (Narcissus Narcosis), Manson describes how he feels religion targets the most vulnerable minds over some hard hitting drums & VERY intense guitars. This track makes me want to go off on those whom I feel are closed minded, lol. President Dead goes back to vividly comparing JFK’s assassination to the crucifixion of Jesus. On the track In the Shadow of the Valley of Death, Manson feels that how the media is “killing us all” & I actually agree with him to an extent on that. The Nobodies addresses that the Columbine perpetrators by implementing that they were “nobodies” to those around them. The Death Song describes how kids want to be like their role models “because we’ve got no future”. On the acoustic Lamb of God, we get an understandable sense that the media makes martyrs out of those who’ve been assassinated. Born Again tells the listener not to be a follower like so many people are these days. My only real complaint about this album would be that the vocals on King Kill 33° are too buried underneath the instrumentation but other than that, this album is Manson in his finest hour. The instrumentation is intense as ever & the eerie vocals paint visuals & make points damn-near flawlessly. I feel a lot of people unfairly don’t give Manson a chance because of his image & I understand, but let his music speak for itself (namely this album)

Score: 4.5/5

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