But don't expect the man to fade quietly. "This isn't music/We're not a band/We're five middle fingers on a motherfucking hand," he bellows on "Vodevil," the fierce final salvo on The Golden Age of Grotesque. Other highlights: "Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag" is a Ziggy Angeldust mash-up perfect for gothic goose-stepping, "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom" is a rhythmic slow grind made for lascivious lovemaking, and "mOBSCENE" is a tawdry fist-pumper with a chorus of corrupt cheerleaders.
Of course, Manson has never put out a great record, so calling Grotesque a return to form isn't to say it's devoid of missteps. Self-righteous and occasionally stultifying, he still lets loose with a deluge of satanic self-aggrandizement ("I'm not an artist/I'm a fuckin' work of art") and same-sounding temper tantrums. He may be the only atheist ever to have a Christ complex, but he still knows how to serve up a satisfying helping of hate.