The String Quartet Tribute to Marilyn Manson

Vitamin String Quartet

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The String Quartet Tribute to Marilyn Manson Review

by Johnny Loftus

Many of the Vitamin label's string tributes are successful because of the strong melodies inherent in the work of a particular artist. The String Quartet Tribute to Marilyn Manson functions on a much more primal level. After the melodramatic growl and more shocking visual elements of Manson's music are stripped away, what remains is a devotion to showmanship in an almost classical sense. Parlor entertainment, minstrel shows, vaudeville, Bela Lugosi -- these are the elements of Manson's act that these arrangements for violin, viola, cello, and bass bring to the surface. "The Beautiful People" -- perhaps the best representation of his sound -- is here transformed into a bitter, unsettling masterpiece. It's like watching a mirror shatter in slow motion. For its portion of the album, the unfortunately named Angry String Orchestra plays things relatively straight, but does add programming and samples to its pieces. While this isn't always successful, the employment of plodding, crunching footfalls during "The Dope Show"'s most urgent moments does recall the watery, gloomy black-and-white horror films of the 1920s and '30s that Manson so often channels. The technique helps make The String Quartet Tribute to Marilyn Manson suitable music for an entirely different kind of chamber.

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