Review:2007/06/03 A focused beam of dark

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A focused beam of dark
of Eat Me, Drink Me
Author Greg Burk
Date June 03, 2007
Rating 4/4 stars
Source Los Angeles Times

A focused beam of dark
By Greg Burk on June 03, 2007
Los Angeles Times - Entertainment
Pop Music|Record Rack

LOVE is heavier than hate. Personalized subject matter adds weight to Marilyn Manson's penetrating new statement (in stores Tuesday), which strikes especially deep in belated sequel to the overamped exhaustion of 2003's "The Golden Age of Grotesque."

The shock lord's collaboration with Tim Skold (formerly of KMFDM) has matured, and at 38, so has Manson. Not since "Mechanical Animals" (1998) has he stared within so unblinkingly; the focus pays off in conflicted, nuanced singing that makes some of his past rage sound rote. The songs too are sculpted from the darkest stone with special care.

The first seven cuts of "Eat Me, Drink Me" (an offer once extended to Jesus' disciples and to Lewis Carroll's Alice) converge into a master suite of crushed romance.

"If I Was Your Vampire" sets the measured pace with a bell-tolling guitar riff and a lyric equating love with death. The Weimar balladry at which Manson excels is further represented by "They Said Hell's Not Hot" ("It was never about her, it was about hurt"), the beer-hall torch waltz "Just a Car Crash Away," and the textured title lament that closes the sepulcher.

Mutant reggae makes surprising entrances on the powerfully massing "The Red Carpet Grave," with its dual-edged refrain "I can't turn my back on you," and on the spring-driven "Heart Shaped Glasses," whose bloody-joyride video is the first from the album. Amid all the glory, though, "Putting Holes in Happiness," with its Neil Young plod, rising-falling guitar obbligato and desperate will to rock, stands out as one of Manson's greatest songs.

Previous Manson guitarists will envy the solo space allotted Skold; a number of exceptional ax workouts perfectly reflect moods that range from mounting pride to roiling anguish to moaning abjection.

A most satisfying repast.