Antichrist Superstar

Antichrist Superstar
Antichrist Superstar
Studio album by Marilyn Manson
Released October 8, 1996
Recorded Nothing Studios, New Orleans
Genre Industrial metal, industrial, alternative metal, heavy metal
Length 77:26
Label Nothing, Interscope
Producer Trent Reznor, Dave Ogilvie, Marilyn Manson, Sean Beavan
Marilyn Manson chronology
Smells Like Children
Antichrist Superstar
Remix & Repent
Singles from Antichrist Superstar
  1. "Antichrist Superstar"
    Released: 1996
  2. "The Beautiful People"
    Released: January 1997
  3. "Tourniquet"
    Released: September 8, 1997
  4. "Man That You Fear"
    Released: 1997

Antichrist Superstar is the second full-length studio album by American rock band Marilyn Manson. It was released on October 8, 1996 in the US through Nothing and Interscope Records. The record's success in mainstream charts propelled the band into a household name and turned its frontman overnight into a bonafide rock icon. This led to numerous protests from religious and civic groups such as the American Family Association due to the band's anti-Christian stance as well as the transgressive and confrontational nature of their music, performance and appearance.

It is a rock opera concept album and the first installment in a trilogy that includes Mechanical Animals and Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). After the release of Holy Wood, Manson revealed that the over-arching story within the trilogy is divulged in reverse chronological order. Holy Wood, therefore, begins the story, followed by Mechanical Animals, and concluding with Antichrist Superstar.[1] It was recorded at Nothing Studios in New Orleans and produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

The album has sold over 7 million copies worldwide with 1.9 million of those copies being sold in the United States alone.[2] It spawned two commercial singles ("The Beautiful People" and "Tourniquet"), and an autobiography. The band supported the album with the controversial Dead to the World Tour.



The album's title is a takeoff on Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1971 musical Jesus Christ Superstar.[3] Similarly, the record is that of a rock opera[3] which, in an issue of Kerrang! magazine edited by the band's frontman, is stated as a tribute to—and inspired by—the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

After the release of Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death), Marilyn Manson divulged that his concept album trilogy is an autobiographical story told in a reverse timeline (chronologically reverse from their actual release dates). That means Holy Wood opens the storyline followed by Mechanical Animals and concludes with Antichrist Superstar.[4] Furthermore, though Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals made sense as individual concept albums on their own, there was a hidden over-arching story running through the three releases.


The three part storyline begins with the Crowleyean statement "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you". The backdrop is set to a landscape of 'victims' (the 'weak'; Nietzsche's 'slaves' in his Master-Slave morality) oppressed by "The Beautiful People" (the 'masters'), a kratocratic plutarchy whose power is, in a double entendre with phallic and religious connotation, "relative to the size of their steeple" and whose authority is Social Darwinism taken to the extreme—they are "justified" by the existence of the weak. Among that populace is an abused and insignificant wretch, the protagonist, called "The Worm",[5] who develop aspirations to become one of the elite. However, he is rejected in as simple terms and after wallowing for a time in sorrow and self-pity concludes to exercise his will to power and seize authority with his own hands. The record proceeds to detail his rise to prominence presented in the metaphor of a worm to angel metamorphosis.

"I am so all-American, I'd sell you suicide."

—opening line of "Irresponsible Hate Anthem"

In his rise to power, he fashions himself into a charismatic demagogue and hierophant, the "Little Horn", to proselytize self-determination and self-realization and to usher in a new metanarrative in place of the hitherto reigning ideal. In spite of this, the Little Horn is self-punishing, with self-doubt still lingering from his dejected former self. The people respond to his revolution with adoration and blandishment. Thus, though he is successful in his aims, he is soon disillusioned and begins to despise those very adoring and sycophantic disciples when he comes to the realization that they are not interested in being saved and quite content to remain weak, imitative and oppressed. It's under this intolerable failure that he begins the final stage of his development. Dying in the manner of a caterpillar, the Little Horn rebirths himself under intense pressure, emptying his cocoon of the self-loathing, guilt and abuse that marked the Worm in harrowing fashion, to "get his wings".

Having transcended his lesser nature, all he has left is his bitterness and disenchantment. He has shed his ability to feel empathy for anyone and repurposes his newfound stature and confidence in becoming the penultimate culture war iconoclast, a Nietzschean Übermensch calling himself the "Antichrist Superstar" (or alternatively, "The Disintegrator"), having finally concluded that what the people truly want is what he sought to dispose of. They no longer deserve salvation. In this manner he adopts as his personal insignia the epithet "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you" as he lets his scathing vitriol spiral into nihilism and misanthropy, railing against and destroying everything. Spent and disconsolate, the "Minute of Decay" intimates that "I'm on my way down now, I'd like to take you with me. I'm on my way down" as he embarks on a final scorched earth campaign of apocalypse, delivering the condemnation, "your world is an ashtray, we burn and coil like cigarettes [...] it's the nature of the leeches, the virgins [to feel] cheated, you've only spent a second of your life" and contracting the world like the pupil of an eye into the size of a bullethole, "one shot and your world gets smaller". He begins to destroy everyone and everything including himself and his revolution, declaring, "pray your life was just a dream, the cut that never heals [...] the world in my hands, there's no one left to hear you scream [...] no one left for you". As he abrogates everything into nothingness, he begins to understand that "when all of your wishes are granted, many of your dreams will be destroyed".[6]


Antichrist Superstar has elaborate packaging, consisting of a black cardstock sleeve covering the plastic jewel case with graphics of Manson on both the front and back, the latter of which is flanked by the red Superstar Shock logo and the Roman numerals IX, VI, III and VII. The booklet contains pictures of the band, a visual worm-to-angel metamorphosis, medical diagrams, printed lyrics to each song, and liner notes including traditional thanks and credits as well as a curious entry found under the lyrics to the song "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", stating it was recorded live on February 14, 1997, despite the album being released well before that in October 1996.

Also, found on the front of the album cover is a circle surrounded by the words Heart, Mind, Complacent, and Malice. If one folds the booklet just right they can also find the hidden words Heart, Mind, Complacent, and Malice made up of folding the words Heaven/Comfort, Minister/Fiend, Complaisant/Magnificent and Master/Lice respectively. The booklet also makes reference to Revelation chapter twelve, verses one through five, in the Bible.

The album, despite containing a gap of silence a few minutes long, is cyclical, as both opening and closing seconds include the distorted phrase "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you." When the album is placed on loop, the pacing between the sentences matches that of the additional distorted recitation found in the preceding hidden track. The names of the two latter cycles seem to be a reference to two films by avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Lucifer Rising.


"The Beautiful People" is the first single of Antichrist Superstar. The video was released on September 22, 1996 and directed by Canadian director and photographer Floria Sigismondi. According to Manson, the title "The Beautiful People" was an inspired for a book that came out in the mid 60's by Marilyn Bender. This book contains information on the life of the Kennedy family, politics, fashion and culture. Moreover, the single was certified gold record with by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), besides being one of the most heard in the United States occupying the position twenty-six in the Modern Rock Tracks of Billboard and UK position eighteen. The music channel VH1 named this single twenty-eight of their 40 Greatest Metal Songs.

"Tourniquet" is the second single from the album. It was released on September 8, 1997 and was also directed by Floria Sigismondi. In the video Manson is a humanoid moving through a wheel. The band uses a variety of costumes bizarre with each passing scene. This is one of three music videos where Manson appears without makeup, the other two videos are Get Your Gunn and Lunchbox.

"Cryptorchid" is the third single from the CD. The video was directed by E. Elias Merhige and displays images from his 1991 experimental film Begotten. Some scenes were replaced by Manson to avoid the original publications of the tape.

"Antichrist Superstar" was released as the fourth single. The video was also directed by E. Elias Merhige and depicts Manson on a podium bearing a lightning bolt symbol. In one scene, Manson tears apart the Bible and later dumping it to the public. Before its planned launch, the video was screened at the 1997 San Francisco Film Festival, however, Interscope Records was appalled by its content and prevented its release. In 2010, the unedited video of "Antichrist Superstar" was leaked on YouTube.

"Man That You Fear" was the last single from Antichrist Superstar. The music video was directed by W.I.Z. and adapted from the Shirley Jackson short story The Lottery. The video also contains aesthetic and symbolic references to the 1973 film The Wicker Man and the 1989 Alejandro Jodorowsky film Santa Sangre.


Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
allmusic 4.5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau (dud) link
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars link
Entertainment Weekly (B) link
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 stars link

Lorraine Ali of Rolling Stone commented "The rise of Marilyn Manson marks the end of the reign of punk realism in rock & roll [...] the layered effect of the music recalls that of Ministry, but Marilyn Manson's execution is not as dense. Instead, Antichrist Superstar writhes with a cool, sinister and taunting feel [...] before lurching out from the shadows with hammering percussion and static-loaded feedback [...] For all of the album's attractions, the band could have compressed Antichrist Superstar into a more powerful blast of evil."[7] Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly commented "With Antichrist Superstar, Manson offers a combination vintage concept record and cheesy exploitation flick [...] to match his antisocial outbursts, Manson offers grinding metal guitars and death-rattle bass lines, letting his own deformed screech serve as the poison cherry on top [...] At least Manson's high-concept depravity has its own sick charm."[8] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of allmusic commented "Though the sonic details make Antichrist Superstar an intriguing listen, it's not as extreme as it could have been—in particular, the guitars are surprisingly anemic, sounding like buzzing vacuums instead of unwieldy chainsaws. Even with that considered, [It] is an unexpectedly cohesive album and will stand as Marilyn Manson's definitive statement."[9]

Commercial performance

The album debuted at № 3 on the Billboard 200. According to Soundscan, the record moved 132,000 units in its first week.[10]


According to Antichrist Superstar is the 14th best album of 1996,[11] the 180th greatest record released during the 1990s[12] and the 973rd greatest of all-time.[12] In 2001 Q named Antichrist Superstar as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time.[13] In 2006, sister British magazines Classic Rock and Metal Hammer included Antichrist Superstar in The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s.[14][15] Furthermore, in 2001, Classic Rock ranked the album 92nd in its 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever.[15][16] The French edition of the British magazine Rock Sound ranked Antichrist Superstar 11th in their Top 150 Albums of Our Lifetime (1992-2006)[17] and 13th in their 1996 Albums of the Year.[15][18] Kerrang! ranks Antichrist Superstar 3rd in their 1996 list of Albums of the Year,[19] 14th on their 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[20] and 88th in its 100 Greatest Rock Albums.[15][21] Dutch magazine Muziekkrant OOR ranked Antichrist Superstar 109th in their 1996 Albums of the Year list.[22] Rolling Stone listed Antichrist Superstar among its Essential Recordings Of The ‘90s in 1999[23] and ranked it 84th in their The 100 Greatest Albums of the 90s[24] in 2010.[15] The record is also listed in the book Albums: 50 Years of Great Recordings.[15][25] British magazine Record Collector also list the album among their 10 Classic Albums from 21 Genres for the 21st Century.[15][26] German magazine Visions considers the album 37th in its list of The Most Important Albums of the 90s.[15][27] The French FNAC ranks the record 606th in their The 1000 Best Albums of All Time.[15][28] Furthermore, the French music magazine Rock & Folk lists Antichrist Superstar among The Best Albums from 1963 to 1999.[15][29] In 2008, Consequence of Sound identified Antichrist Superstar as a modern classic in their "Dusting ‘Em Off" feature due to its counter-cultural and social impact during the late 90's.[30] The album is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[31]

Dead to the World Tour

Following the release of Antichrist Superstar, Marilyn Manson staged a worldwide stadium tour, titled the Dead to the World Tour. Beginning on September 5, 1996 and lasting until September 16, 1997, the tour included eight legs spanning Europe, Japan, Oceania, Hawaii, North America and South America with a total of 175 shows.

A concert film was recorded to depict the tour, titled Dead to the World, and released on February 10, 1998 in VHS format by Interscope Records.[32] It features live concert footage of 11 songs culled from performances across the world.[32] "Apple of Sodom", "My Monkey", "Rock 'n' Roll Nigger" and a selection of songs from Antichrist Superstar are on the release.[32]

Track listing

All lyrics written by Manson (track 1 with Ramirez)[33]

Cycle I: The Heirophant
No. Title Music Length
1. "Irresponsible Hate Anthem"   Berkowitz, Gacy 4:17
2. "The Beautiful People"   Ramirez, Manson 3:38
3. "Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World"   Manson, Ramirez 4:16
4. "Tourniquet"   Berkowitz, Ramirez 4:29
Cycle II: Inauguration of the Worm
No. Title Music Length
5. "Little Horn"   Ramirez, Reznor 2:43
6. "Cryptorchid"   Gacy 2:44
7. "Deformography"   Ramirez, Reznor 4:31
8. "Wormboy"   Berkowitz, Ramirez 3:56
9. "Mister Superstar"   Ramirez 5:04
10. "Angel with the Scabbed Wings"   Manson, Ramirez, Gacy 3:52
11. "Kinderfeld"   Ramirez, Gacy 4:51
Cycle III: Disintegrator Rising
No. Title Music Length
12. "Antichrist Superstar"   Ramirez, Gacy 5:14
13. "1996"   Ramirez 4:01
14. "Minute of Decay"   Manson 4:44
15. "The Reflecting God"   Ramirez, Reznor 5:36
16. "Man That You Fear"   Ramirez, Manson, Gacy, Berkowitz 6:10
99. "Track 99" (hidden track) Gacy, Ramirez 1:39
  • While consisting of three cycles, the album was released as a single disc, similar to the four cycles of 2000's Holy Wood.
  • No name for Track 99 has been identified, though The Marilyn Manson Collection on iTunes titles it "Ghost Track". Rhapsody titles Track 99 as "Empty Sounds of Hate".


  • Long Hard Road Out of Hell – appears on the 1997 Spawn soundtrack; also released on the "Man That You Fear" promotional single
  • The Suck For Your Solution – appears on the Howard Stern: Private Parts soundtrack
  • Apple of Sodom – appears on the Lost Highway soundtrack
  • Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes – appears on the Celebrity Deathmatch soundtrack.

Charts and certifications


Region Provider Certification Shipment Actual Sales
Argentina CAPIF Gold[41] 20,000+
Australia ARIA Gold[42] 35,000+
Canada CRIA 2x Platinum[43] 200,000+
Mexico AMPROFON Gold[44] 75,000+
United States RIAA Platinum[45] 1,000,000+


Single Chart (1996) Peak
"The Beautiful People" Australia (ARIA)[46] 42
Netherlands (MegaCharts)[46] 96
New Zealand (RIANZ)[46] 29
Modern Rock Tracks[47][48] 26
Mainstream Rock Tracks[47] 29
United Kingdom (OCC)[38] 18
Single Chart (1996–1997) Peak
"Tourniquet" Finland (Mitä Hitti)[49] 16
New Zealand (RIANZ)[49] 41
Mainstream Rock Tracks[48] 30
United Kingdom (OCC)[38] 28

Credits and personnel

Marilyn Manson[50]


  1. ^ Lanham, Tom (2000-11). "Marilyn Manson: Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder". Alternative Press (Alternative Press Magazine, Inc.) (#148): 76‐86. 
  2. ^ Paine, Andre (2010-11-08). "Marilyn Manson: Antichrist Indie Star". ABC News. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  3. ^ a b Thigpen, David (1997-02-24). "Music: Satan's Little Helpers". TIME Magazine.,9171,985963-1,00.html. Retrieved 2010-12-09. 
  4. ^ Saidman, Sorelle (2000-09-18). "Marilyn Manson Unveils Tour Plans, First Single For Holy Wood". MTV News (latterly VH1). Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  5. ^ Perlah, Jeff (2000-10-01). "MARILYN MANSON: THE WIZARD OF ODD". Onstage Magazine. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  6. ^ Quelland, Sarah (2000-12-14). "Into the Mind of Marilyn". Metroactive Music. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  7. ^ Ali, Lorraine (2004-01-01). "Antichrist Superstar Rolling Stone review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  8. ^ Farber, Jim (1996-10-11). "Antichrist Superstar Entertainment Weekly review". Entertainment Weekly.,,294525,00.html. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  9. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (1996-10). "Antichrist Superstar allmusic review". allmusic. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  10. ^ Dansby, Andrew (2003-05-21). "Manson Golden at Number One". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  11. ^ "The Top Albums from 1996". Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  12. ^ a b "Marilyn Manson Artist Rank". Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  13. ^ "Q Magazine 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time". Q Magazine. Retrieved 2010-11-22. 
  14. ^ "The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s". Classic Rock & Metal Hammer. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Antichrist Superstar All Music Guide Info and Review". Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  16. ^ "Classic Rock (Christmas 2001) - 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever". Classic Rock & Metal Hammer. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  17. ^ "Top 150 Albums of Our Lifetime". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  18. ^ "Choix des critiques depuis 1993". Rock Sound. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  19. ^ "Kerrang! Albums Of The Year 1996". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  20. ^ "Kerrang! 100 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  21. ^ "Kerrang! 100 Greatest Rock Albums". Kerrang!. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  22. ^ "Jaarlijst Oor 1996". Muziekkrant OOR. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  23. ^ of the ‘90s "Rolling Stone Essential Recordings Of The ‘90s". Rolling Stone. of the ‘90s. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  24. ^ "Rolling Stone The 100 Greatest Albums of the 90s". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  25. ^ "Albums: 50 Years of Great Recordings". Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  26. ^ 10 Classic Albums from 21 Genres for the 21st Century. Record Collector. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  27. ^ "Die 100 wichtigsten Platten der Neunziger". Visions. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  28. ^ "Les 1000 CD des disquaires de la fnac". FNAC (latterly Listology). Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  29. ^ "Choix des critiques ou des lecteurs depuis 1993". Rock & Folk. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  30. ^ Buchanan, David (2008-09-13). "Dusting ‘Em Off: Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  31. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2008 edition)". Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  32. ^ a b c "Dead to the World". Interscope Records. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  33. ^ "Antichrist Superstar". Amazon. Retrieved 2010-11-18. 
  34. ^ a b c d e f "International charting positions for Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar (Album)". Irish-Charts. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  35. ^ "International charting positions for Marilyn Manson - Antichrist Superstar (Album)". α Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  36. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Marilyn Manson / Longplay". PhonoNet. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  37. ^ "Search for Marilyn Manson in the Artist field". Mahasz. Retrieved 2011-09-01. 
  38. ^ a b c Zywietz, Tobias. "Chart Log UK: M - My Vitriol". Zobbel. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  39. ^ Billboard 200 and Canadian Albums charting. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  40. ^ allmusic Billboard charts & awards. allmusic Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  41. ^ "Marilyn Manson in Argentinian Charts". Argentine Chamber of Phonograms and Videograms Producers. 
  42. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 1997 Albums" Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved on March 05, 2011.
  43. ^ "CRIA Database Search for Marilyn Manson" Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved on March 06, 2011.
  44. ^ "Certificaciones". Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Fonogramas y Videogramas. 
  45. ^ "RIAA Database Search for Antichrist Superstar" Recording Industry Association of America. Access date: March 05, 2011.
  46. ^ a b c "International charting positions for Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People (Song)". Irish-charts. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  47. ^ a b Alternative Songs charting. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  48. ^ a b allmusic Billboard Singles charts & awards. allmusic Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  49. ^ a b "International charting positions for Marilyn Manson - Tourniquet (Song)". Irish-charts. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  50. ^ a b "Antichrist Superstar credits". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-11-17. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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