Marilyn Manson: Martin Schoeller/Corbis Outline
Jim Greer
May 16, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The shock value of Marilyn Manson’s deviant burlesque act has dimmed with overexposure, but The Golden Age of Grotesque draws inspiration from his recent, credibly acquitted forays into painting, which in turn drew from his idiosyncratic interpretations of vaudeville and Weimar-era decadence. The new album also finds a middle ground between the pseudo-glam glory of ”Mechanical Animals” and the noisier backsliding of ”Holy Wood.” Call it Black Mass-ive Attack — inventive and powerful enough to merit intermittent attention, but ultimately crushed by the weight of its hoary pretensions.

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