Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death)

'Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death)' - a masterpiece in all respects. A transfusion of the metaphorically beautiful sombre mood of 'Mechanical Animals' blending expertly with the relentless rage of 'Antichrist Superstar'. The result, a bizzare mixture of subgenres, a conglomeration of antithetical feelings, and general messy glory to which we have become accustomed.

The most thematically-focused of Marilyn Manson's work - 'Holy Wood' chooses to focus on the lives of famous people in comparison with the confused excuse of an existence which Warner himself endures on a day-to-day basis. Comparisons alluded to range from Jesus, to JFK. Furthermore, the continual condemnation of hypocritical "Christians" is blatantly obvious. Often mistaken as a hate-breeding anti-everything, this album may seem overtly evil in nature, however, with closer inspection we see that what Manson portrays is in essence a commentary of the failures and misconceptions of Christianity, life and acquaintances; tangible and created.

"It was sort of pointing out that circle that religion is the origin of entertainment, and I was trying to show that I could relate my life to characters in history like Christ or Kennedy or John Lennon and how people are often martyred for being misunderstood." - Manson, himself.


A sinister opening to the album. Listening closely, you may hear the opening/closing of prison doors. The scene is hence created; a prisoner being led to his death (execution). Along the 'walk' he is, "contemplating things from the Death Valley, which is a metaphor for the outcast and the imperfect of the world."

"Dear god do you want to tear your knuckles down and hold yourself
Dear god can you climb up that tree, meat in the shape of a 'T'
Dear god the paper says you were the King in the black limousine"

The ensuing metaphor is initially outlined here, in the scaffolding sense; an introduction. The 'black limousine' is that of JFK's - a modern Christ-like figure. The "Meat in the shape of a 'T'" is symbolic of Christ's crucifixion. The meat is the flesh.

"Dear god if you were alive you know we'd kill you"

In Manson's views, the sentiments which Christ expressed throughout his time on earth, have since been manipulated by man - twisted to represent something different. "Christ's words, teachings and image were taken after his death and turned into something that he probably wouldn't have supported if he were alive."

"Before the bullets
before the flies
before authorities take out my eyes
the only smiling are you dolls that I made
but you are plastic and so are your brains"

As the character entailed within the album has a dangerous opinion, he is hence victimized by an uncompromising society, that feeds upon conformity; and fear of the unknown more often than not leads to condemnation of that, which is different to the prosthetic 'norm'.
The 'dolls' are the members of society who are plastic-minded and superficial. These blind followers of Manson have been created, subconciously by he himself. As Christ had a devout following, so too does Manson.

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