Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar (1996)
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About the Album
Antichrist Superstar is the second studio album by American rock band Marilyn Manson, released on October 8, 1996, by Nothing and Interscope Records. It was recorded at Nothing Studios in New Orleans and produced by the band’s eponymous vocalist along with Sean Beavan, former Skinny Puppy member Dave Ogilvie and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The recording of the album was marred by excessive drug use, which provoked a high level of antagonism between band members. Consequently, it was their last release to feature contributions from founding guitarist Daisy Berkowitz, who acrimoniously quit partway through recording.
A rock opera and a concept album, Antichrist Superstar was the first installment in a trilogy which included succeeding releases Mechanical Animals (1998) and Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) (2000). The central storyline on the album revolved around a supernatural being who seizes all power from humanity in order to initiate an apocalyptic end event; a populist demagogue who is driven solely by resentment, misanthropy and despair, he uses his newfound position to destroy the world. The record can be seen as a social critique, utilizing this premise as a metaphor for the perceived fascist elements of conservatism in the United States.
Preceded by “The Beautiful People”, whose music video received three nominations at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, the album was both a critical and commercial success. Lorraine Ali of Rolling Stone credited Antichrist Superstar with bringing to an end the dominance of grunge within popular music. It has since been heralded by numerous publications as the band’s finest work, and one of the best hard rock recordings ever released. The album debuted at number three on the Billboard 200, and has sold almost 2 million copies in the United States alone. As of 2011, worldwide album sales have surpassed over 7 million copies.
The record was supported by the controversial “Dead to the World Tour”, which was heavily criticized by elements of the Christian right. Nearly every North American venue the band visited was picketed by religious organizations, predominantly because of unfounded, exaggerated claims of onstage drug use, bestiality, and Satanic rituals, including animal and even human sacrifice. The band also found itself the target of congressional hearings, which attempted to implicate the group in a fan’s suicide. Several previously unreleased recordings were issued on soundtracks throughout 1997, including “Apple of Sodom” and “Long Hard Road Out of Hell”.