For a long time, "Antichrist superstar" Marilyn Manson has seemed more interested in being the ultimate threat to conservative America than in writing the sort of venomous goth(ish) metal that got him to where he was in the first place. While he kept busy with silly hairstyles and prosthetic breasts, Manson's music suffered, becoming stagnant and irrelevant.
But it seemed a sure bet that he'd keep going through the motions, which is partly why Eat Me stands out as much as it does. Gone are the phoned-in shock-value tactics and gothy contrivances, replaced by menacing rumbles that create a tone of real discomfort, with eerie subtleties and surprisingly original macabre imagery.
There aren't really any Beautiful People-type moments, only a collection of songs that work surprisingly well as a kind of musical diary for a performer who has finally acknowledged that he's not the threatening icon he once was.