Various Artists

A Tribute to Marilyn Manson

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For those who are old enough to remember Alice Cooper in his '70s heyday, Marilyn Manson is hardly revolutionary -- entertaining and great for a lot of darkly theatrical fun, but not revolutionary. Cooper, one of rock's true innovators, was genuinely disturbing in his time. Something as gruesome as 1973's "I Love the Dead" (just to give one example) was nothing more than sick humor, but it was the sort of sick humor that sent shock waves through suburban, white-picket-fence-loving middle America. When Manson mined the same shock rock waters 20 years later, it wasn't daring or cutting edge -- after Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Blackie Lawless, Slayer, G.G. Allin, grindcore, and gangsta rap, it was hard to get bent out of shape over Manson's obsession with the dark side. But again, Manson is a fun entertainer, and his more devoted fans are the people Cleopatra had in mind when it assembled this tribute album. Those who can take Manson or leave him don't need to hear 13 artists covering his songs; nonetheless, A Tribute to Marilyn Manson isn't bad. This 2002 release finds a variety of goth, darkwave, industrial, and alternative metal artists acknowledging the Cooper-influenced alternative rocker, and they range from Doll Factory on "Lunch Box" and Hate Dept. on "The Reflecting God" to Razed in Black on "Cake and Sodomy" and the over-the-top Electric Hellfire Club on "Get Your Gun." Some parts of this disc are forceful and metallic, and others are more moody than anything -- Pure Drama's version of "Mechanical Animals" is a pleasing example of the very melodic, ethereal style. Thankfully, most of the artists are smart enough to put their own stamp on Manson's material, and while A Tribute to Marilyn Manson won't convert any non-believers, it's a disc that his die-hard fans should be aware of.

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