Antichrist Superstar performed its intended purpose -- it made Marilyn Manson internationally famous, a living realization of his fictional "antichrist superstar." He had gained the attention of not only rock fans, but the public at large; however, many critics bestowed their praise not on the former Brian Warner, but on Trent Reznor, Manson's mentor and producer. Surely angered by the attention being focused elsewhere, he decided to break from Reznor and industrial metal with his third album, Mechanical Animals. Taking his image and musical cues from Bowie, Warner reworked Marilyn Manson into a sleek, androgynous space alien named Omega, à la Ziggy Stardust, and constructed a glammy variation of his trademark goth metal. With pal Billy Corgan as an unofficial consultant and Soundgarden producer Michael Beinhorn manning the boards, Manson turns Mechanical Animals into a big, clean rock record -- the kind that stands in direct opposition to the dark, twisted industrial nightmares he painted with his first two albums. It can make for a welcome change of pace, since his glammed-up goth is more tuneful than his clattering industrial cacophony, but it lacks the cartoonish menace that distinguished his prior music. And without that, Marilyn Manson seems a little ordinary, believe it or not -- more like a '90s version of Alice Cooper than ever before. True, Mechanical Animals is the group's most accessible effort, but Manson should have remembered one thing -- demons are never that scary in the light.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine