The final installment of the trilogy in the Marilyn Manson saga, Holy Wood sees the supposed shock-rocker once again dwelling in cheeky wordplay, misery, and anger that fueled the success of Antichrist Superstar. After returning from the outer reaches of the galaxy tread on his last record, the enjoyable glamfest Mechanical Animals, Manson returns with a limp middle finger at our American society. Guns, god, and government are his holy trinity, but the scathing rants of “The Fight Song” and “Disposable Teens” are submerged under the derivative music that is most of Holy Wood.
Manson and Co. even rework an older number, “Coma White,” to fit the ominous themes, and the result is, who would’;ve guessed it, “Coma Black.” This misguided effort foreshadows the decomposition of Holy Wood, save for the few inspired ballads, including the dreamy title track and the closing, piano-twinkled harbinger of doom, “Count to Six and Die.” Manson should have ended with the sequel, because he should know the third installment rarely ever lives up to the previous efforts in any circumstance. Despite ex-Nitzer Ebb’;s Bon Harris’; programming touches, the originality and shock value have notably faded into dust. Holy Wood is, to quote Manson himself, “just a copy of an imitation.”