Antichrist Superstar

Antichrist Superstar cover
  • Release date: October 8, 1996
  • Genre: Industrial rock, Noise rock
  • Length: 77:26
  • Label: Nothing, Interscope
  • Written by: Marilyn Manson, Twiggy Ramirez, M.W. Gacy, Daisy Berkowitz, Trent Reznor

Track List

Marilyn MansonTwiggy RamirezMarilyn MansonTwiggy RamirezDaisy BerkowitzM.W. GacyTrent Reznor
Cycle I: The Heirophant
Irresponsible Hate AnthemXXXX
The Beautiful PeopleXX
Dried Up, Tied, And Dead To The WorldXXX
Cycle II: Inauguration of The Worm
Little HornXXX
Mister SuperstarXX
Angel With The Scabbed WingsXXXX
Cycle III: Disintigrator Rising
Antichrist SuperstarXXX
Minute of DecayXX
The Reflecting GodXXX
Man That You FearXXXXX
Cycle VIII: Prologue/Epilogue
Empty Sounds of Hate?X?


It was about a dark, twisted, vitiated creature's evolution from a childhood spent living in fear to an adulthood spent sowing fear, from a weakling to a megalomaniac, from a shit-eater to a shit-kicker, from a worm to a world-destroyer. - MARILYN MANSON SUMMARIZING THE ALBUM IN HIS AUTO BIOGRAPHY THE LONG HARD ROAD OUT OF HELL

The story of Antichrist Superstar is about a person who lives a miserable life under the regime of a rotten society. After an epiphany of realizing how broken the society is, the protagonist begins a process of transforming into a powerful rebel to bring forth the destruction of society, but in the process becomes a monster, and pays for it with the destruction of the self.

This transformation is represented by a metamorphosis from The Worm (a weakling parasite which morbidly depends on its host, and also a representation of festering resentment that eats away at its host) to an angel of death and destruction (the Antichrist). The reason why The Worm seems to symbolize two discrete things is because weakness and resentment are linked. People who have the strength of will to set boundaries against others and to enforce them when needed tend to be less resentful than those who don't, because by not letting people walk all over them, they don't accumulate a history of past injustices to be angry about. It's those who can't stand up for themselves when being mistreated who end up cultivating a collection of grievances that transform into resentment. So, throughout the album's lyrics the worm takes on both roles. Sometimes it's the weak and contemptable creature everybody tramples over, and sometimes it's this sinister corrupting force that invades a host and eats it from the inside.

There is also a third "character" in the album's mythology, and that is the worms as a conspiring group that plots to inaugurate one of their own into power. Mentions of this group are spread throughout the songs, where we see them pulling the strings from a safe distance. The story of Antichrist is cyclical. When one Antichrist ends, another one rises, yet the cabal of worms remains constant across repetitions. In a way, the cabal of worms is akin to a force of nature that acts on the world, which is similar to the evil-as-a-force-of-nature characterization that Anton Szandor LaVey attributed to the concept of evil in The Satanic Bible.

The album's story is semi auto biographical since key parts of the story and its metaphors parallel Manson's life up to the point of the recording. Manson was very aware that by walking the path of becoming a controversial rock star, he was transforming himself to something that is removed from normal society. Someone who is more of an archetype than a person, someone who will be at war with the rest of the world, someone who will not be able to go back to his old life after some unknown threshold is passed, and he had plenty of mixed feelings about it. This is why the album is filled with moments of self-doubt, and with warning messages that could just as easily apply to the protagonist himself as to the society that's about to birth the Antichrist. In interviews Manson talked about the concept of a "personal apocalypse", which is a fitting metaphor for making the one-way transition from Brian Warner to Marilyn Manson, and that is why, once the Antichrist achieves his goal of destroying the old order, he experiences his own destruction as well, which is dramatized in the final song of the album.

The album burrows some symbolism from The Book of Revelation, is spiritually influenced by Anton Szendor LaVey (the founder of the Church of Satan) who was an initiating figure in Manson's life, and Friedrich Nietzsche's work. Some of the artwork takes its symbolism from the Tarot, Numerology, and the Kabbalistic book Tetragrammaton: The Secret to Evoking Angelic Powers and the Key to the Apocalypse by Donald Tyson. The name of the album is a play on Jesus Christ Superstar, a Christian Rock opera.

The album was recorded in 1996 at a studio in New Orleans. In his autobiography Manson describes the writing and recording period as a difficult time for the band, which was consumed with a self-destructive behavior that included drugs, alcohol, and property damage. This behavior greatly inhibited the work on the album and severely strained their personal relationship with one another. One of the founding members of the band, guitarist Daisy Berkowitz (real name Scott Mitchell Putesky), left the band during this time due to deteriorating relationship with the band and severe creative differences. According to Manson, the band was close to breaking up during the recording of this album.

In the end, all that pain and chaos had produced a powerful result. The album debuted at number 3 on the Billboard 200 and propelled the band to international stardom. The Dead to The World tour that followed became the band's most hectic and notorious to this day. It was faced with heavy opposition from Christian organizations that included big protests and even bomb threats against the band. Through that tour, Manson played out his role as the Antichrist, who destroys society by overturning its values, in real life.

Anton Szandor LaVey and The Church of Satan

Anton Szandor LaVey

Anton Szandor LaVey was an American musician, author, and philosopher who founded his own version of the religion of Satanism. The core tenets and philosophies of this religion are described in The Satanic Bible, his first publication about the topic. Despite the controversial implications of naming his religion "Satanism", LaVey's Satanism doesn't actually include a belief in Satan as a deity, or involve any blood sacrifices to the forces of evil. Rather, it is best viewed as a philosophy that opposes the way in which Christianity and similar religions defines human nature as sinful, and encourages people to live for a future afterlife, instead for the here and now. The name "Satanism" is therefore a statement of opposition to a religion that calls itself "good", not a statement of embracing that which is evil. In response to being asked why he chose to define his Satanism as a religion, rather than just a philosophy, LaVey cited the importance of fantasy in facilitating the adoption of ideas on an emotional level:

It is one thing to accept something intellectually, but to accept the same thing emotionally is an entirely different matter. The one need that psychiatry cannot fill is man's inherent need for emotionalizing through dogma. Man needs ceremony and ritual, fantasy and enchantment. Psychiatry, despite all the good it has done, has robbed man of wonder and fantasy which religion, in the past, has provided. Satanism, realizing the current needs of man, fills the large grey void between religion and psychiatry. The Satanic philosophy combines the fundamentals of psychology and good, honest emotionalizing, or dogma. It provides man with his much needed fantasy. There is nothing wrong with dogma, providing it is not based on ideas and actions which go completely against human nature.
--Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible.

Manson was a big fan of LaVey's work, and at some point, even met him. LaVey was apparently just as impressed with Manson as Manson was with him, and he made him an honorary reverend in the Church of Satan as a gift. Antichrist Superstar carries the spirit of LaVey's Satanism by taking a position of opposition to the Christian morals on which American society is based, and by preaching for living life to the fullest, rather than being shackled by outdated morals. The song The Reflecting God best epitomizes these sentiments.

Manson Meeting LaVey
Manson Meeting LaVey

The Nine Satanic Statements

  1. Satan represents indulgence, instead of abstinence!
  2. Satan represents vital existence, instead of spiritual pipe dreams!
  3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit!
  4. Satan represents kindness to those who deserve it, instead of love wasted on ingrates!
  5. Satan represents vengeance, instead of turning the other cheek!
  6. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires!
  7. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who, because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development", has become the most vicious animal of all!
  8. Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!
  9. Satan has been the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all these years!

Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a German philosopher who wrote about morality, human nature, and nihilism. Certain catch phrases associated with his philosophy, such as "God is dead", "will to power", and the concept of the Übermensch- the superman- led to his philosophy being co-opted by various groups, who in all likelihood did not understand what he was really writing about. Such was the case when his ideas of the Übermensch and will to power appealed to the Nazi party, and such is the case even today that his proclamation that "God is dead" makes people categorize him as a champion for atheism, when in reality Nietzsche's proclamation was not triumphant, but horrified:

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
--The Gay Science

Nietzsche's point was that by adopting the scientific view of the world, we had disrupted the supernatural foundation upon which the belief in God was founded. In other words, we killed God by destroying our ability to believe in him, and the repercussions of that, according to Nietzsche, are that we have destroyed the source of all meaning itself. For many years, the belief in God supplied to us a framework upon which we could project the inner workings of our psyche, and make some sort of sense of it. Whenever humanity found itself struggling with profound questions such as "what should be our morals" and "what should we value in life", questions that required an answer but for which we had neither the necessary knowledge nor the computational brain power to objectively calculate one, the idea of God filled in that void with an answer that was at least functional enough to keep us going, even if rationally we weren't justified in trusting it. Now that science took away from us the ability to use that answer, humanity found itself without an emotional compass, leaving us with nihilism.

Nietzsche's idea of how to get us out of this mess was that humanity will have to invent its own meaning and morality, and that's where the concept of the Übermensch comes into play. Nietzsche's conception of the Übermensch is as the next stage in humanity's moral evolution. A creature who does not follow the morality of common people, but rather rises above the notion of good and evil that are rooted in superstition, and creates new values.

I teach you the Übermensch. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him? All beings so far have created something beyond themselves: and you want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back tothe beast than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. And just the same shall man be to the Übermensch: a laughing-stock or a painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any ape. [...] Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Übermensch—a rope over an abyss... What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an over-going and a going under.
--Thus Spoke Zarathustra

On Antichrist Superstar, the Antichrist can be seen as an incarnation of the Übermensch, or at the very least someone who attempts to play the Übermensch's role. He is the next stage in mankind's evolution, come to destroy the old ways and ideals, and replace them with his own ethic. Yet the further he progresses in his plan, the further he descend to the nihilism Nietzsche warned about. Nietzsche's metaphor of a transformation from a worm to a man is akin to the transformation of worm to Antichrist that Manson is using throughout the album. Lastly, the story of Antichrist Superstar is a case study in another famous Nietzschean quote:

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster, when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you.
--Beyond Good And Evil

Song Analysis

Cycle I: The Heirophant

The first section of the album focuses on the protagonist's backstory as a victim of an oppressive and corrupt society. It opens with a teaser for the middle of the story (track: Irresponsible Hate Anthem), before going back to the beginning with the following three songs to show us how the story begins.

The name of this cycle seems to be a portmanteau of "heir" and "hierophant". Hierophant is an ancient Greek word for a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of something holy. A common motif in Manson's work is equating religious concepts with cultural entities (the martyr as a modern Christ, the Rockstar as the Antichrist, music as a form of spirituality, fame as a form of divinity, etc.), so in this case, The Hierophant would be a reference to the story's protagonist himself, who through rebellion achieves fame and a following, and brings his "worshippers" into the presence of (his version of) holy.

This cycle's name replaces "Hier" for the English word "Heir". The word "hierophant" is constructed from the combination of ta hiera, "the holy," and phainein, "to show", so "Heirophant" would be someone who shows the heir. The heir in this case is once again the protagonist, who inherits his circumstance from society. The final song in the album brings some credence to this interpretation, with the following lyrics: "I was born into this, everything turns to shit".

Irresponsible Hate Anthem

One curious detail about this song is that the liner notes state it was recorded live on February 14, 1997 (Valentine's Day), even though the album was released on October 8, 1996 and is a studio recording. This sets the track to be in the (then) future, which is in-line with the fact that conceptually it seems to be ahead of the story. The chronology of Antichrist Superstar follows the protagonist from a low life to a powerful figure whose power becomes all consuming, but Irresponsible Hate Anthem is set at a point where the protagonist is already powerful- a charismatic Rock star with a following and a message of rebellion. As stated in the introduction to this cycle, this is akin to the old literary trick of throwing the reader into the middle of the story before going back to the beginning to show us how we got there.

The song starts with the words "When you are suffering, know that I had betrayed you", which, as we discover later on, are the words that seal the album, revealing that the story of Antichrist Superstar is cyclical. When one iteration of this story ends, another one begins. On the first listen though, these words act as a foreshadowing of what is about to happen.

This song was the first instance of Manson giving Valentine's Day a special significance:

  • On February 14, 2000, a cover of Charles Manson's Sick City was released through a podcast via
  • On February 14, 2001, Chapter 10 of the as-of-yet unreleased Holy Wood novel was released through
  • On February 14, 2002, two video clips entitled "I Love You With All of My Heart" and "I Will Love You Until I Die" respectively were released though Both clips depicted Manson's cat Lily White.
  • On February 14, 2003, the first picture of the band's new appearance during The Golden Age of Grotesque era were presented on the band's official website. The photo was accompanied by a short movie clip named "The Mechanism of Desire", which depicted the band's new look but also Manson's then fiancée Dita Von Teese.
  • On February 14, 2005, the remake of the "The Nobodies" video that would accompany the 2005 re-release of the single was leaked on the Universal Music website. It remains unknown whether this was meant as a gift or if the leak was accidental.
  • Although these plans did not materialize, Manson had expressed interest in releasing the band's 2009 album The High End of Low on February 14, 2009.

The track opens with Manson getting the crowd to chant "we hate love, we love hate", before the song officially begins. I consider it an ironic illustration of how opposing something brings people together. In an interview with Guitar School, Manson said that he named the song Irresponsible Hate Anthem, because he predicted that this is how people who believe that the band is hateful would describe the song.

To summarize: this track takes place in the middle of the story and introduces us to our hierophant, the Rock star protagonist with a following, who preaches against the established social order. At the end of the track, we go back to the beginning of the story.

I am so all-american, I'd sell you suicide
I am totalitarian, I've got abortions in my eyes
I hate the hater, I'd rape the raper
I am the animal who will not be himself
This is societal criticism delivered in mock 1st person, effectively making it a satire. The criticism paints American society as capitalistic (line 1), totalitarian, represive (line 2), hypocritical (line 3), fake (line 4). The word "animal" here is borrowed from LaVeyan Satanism which sees man as just another animal, not inherently better or worse than other animals (it's the 7th Satanic statement from The Satanic Bible).
Fuck itDenouncing the above.
Hey victim,
should I black your eyes again?
Hey victim,
you were the one who put the stick in my hand
I am the ism, my hate's a prism
let's just kill everyone and let your god sort them out
We continue with the mock 1st person. This society is victim blaming (you were the one who put the stick in my hand), claiming self-righteous authority (I am the ism), and admitting to being driven by hate that creates division (a prism divides light to its components).

The final line references a famous quote by abbot Arnaud Amaury. Arnaud was a Cistercian abbot who played a prominent role in the Albigensian Crusade. A soldier who was worried about accidentally killing orthodox Catholics instead of heretic Cathars asked Arnaud for advice about telling the two apart. Arnaud's advice was: "kill everyone as God would sort it all out later". Manson loves pointing out examples of religious figures doing evil deeds, thus demonstrating that being religions does not equate to being moral.
Fuck it
Everybody's someone else's nigger
I know you are so am I
I wasn't born with enough middle fingers
I don't need to choose a side
"Everybody is somebody's target of hate; fuck this, and fuck all of you, I'm not participating in your power struggles"
I better, better, better, better not say this
better, better, better, better not tell
This part has a different energy from the rest of the song. The song as a whole is bold and confrontational, but this part sounds like fear or self-doubt. As the story progresses, the protagonist is constantly struggling with feelings of heading to his own demise as the power he amasses grows ever greater and more destructive. There is a constant struggle between heading towards his destiny and wanting to turn away and not cross another line on the journey, and this is what this part references. This doubt is not entirely clear from just this song but will soon reveal itself as a motif as the album progresses.
I hate the hater, I'd rape the raper
I am the idiot who will not be himself

Fuck it

Everybody's someone else's nigger
I know you are so am I
I wasn't born with enough middle fingers
I don't need to choose a side

The song ends with a sample played backwards as a segue to the next track. I call it the "going back in time" sample, as I find it fitting that a sample that is played from end to beginning takes us back to the beginning of the story.

The Beautiful People

This is the first track that deals with the story's beginning, showing us the abuse that the protagonist had to endure from society before eventually having an epiphany later in the album and going into rebellion. This song is about "the fascism of beauty". In this case "beauty" is used symbolically. Those who are powerful, who have influence, who are famous, who are popular, are the ones who are beautiful and envied. They are also the ones who end up dictating things to those who are not. Set to a rigid, militant drum pattern, this song presents an extreme version of that, as experienced by the protagonist.

In an interview, Manson had the following to say on the inspiration of the song:

The term 'The Beautiful People' was inspired by a book that came out in the mid-'60s. It was about the Kennedys, politics and fashion at the time. The whole culture of beauty as being created at the time. We live in a world where the culture of beauty is taken for granted, but it didn't exist in the same way in the '60s. Then Charles Manson and his 'family' took that culture, hated it and reacted against it. In many ways his reaction is the same as mine, but I'm playing with it from both sides. I make things glamorous as a revolt to glamour.

The chord choice in this song is based on the notes of a diminished triton, which is nicknamed "diabolus in musica" ("the devil in music") due to its dissonant and "evil" sound.


The Charles Manson tangent in the above quote is not incidental. The song starts with a very distorted sample of Tex Watson (one of the members of Charles Manson's "family") declaring "[We would] swoop down on the town...[and] kill everyone that wasn't beautiful", taken from the Manson family trials.

I don't want you and I don't need you
don't bother to resist, I'll beat you
It's not your fault that you're always wrong
the weak ones are there to justify the strong
Depiction of a very oppressive and abusive power dynamic.
The beautiful people, the beautiful people,
It's all relative to the size of your steeple
One way in which someone can be one of the beautiful people in this world: religious status. Whoever has the biggest steeple is the most beautiful.
you can't see the forest for the trees,
and you can't smell your own shit on your knees
"Can't see the forest for the trees" is a phrase that means not being able to see the big picture due to focusing on the details. These beautiful people can't tell how rotten they themselves are.
There's no time to discriminate,
hate every motherfucker that's in your way

[Alternate version]:
Hate every other hater that's in your way
This line is reminiscent of abbot Arnaud's quote which Manson criticized in the previous song Irresponsible Hate Anthem. When asked how to tell the difference between orthodox Catholics and the heretic Cathars, Arnaud told the soldier to not try to discriminate between the two, just kill everybody and let God sort it out later.

You can interpret this section as part of the philosophy of the fascist Beautiful People, but you can also interpret it as instructions to the oppressed. You want to topple this social order? Fight their fascism with your own fascism. There are some intonations of that later in the song where Manson says: "Capitalism has made it this way, old fashioned fascism will take it away". This sort of attitude doesn't place you on a morally higher ground, but such is the nature of living in an environment that speaks the language of oppression and violence. As the chorus later says: "when you live with apes, it's hard to be clean".

On the 1997 MTV music awards, Manson sung an alternate version of this lyric to avoid censorship: hate every other hater that's in your way. Personally, I think it's the better version of the two, because it explicitly draws similarities between the two sides.
Hey you, what do you see?
Something beautiful, something free?
Hey you, are you trying to be mean?
If you live with apes, man, it's hard to be clean
This isn't beautiful, nor virtuous, and it's hard not to be pulled down to their level. The word "ape" might be in contrast with Nietzsche's Übermensch (the superior man, who is above morality), which Nietzsche considered to be the next step in human moral evolution, so the last line seems to suggest that the current social order is something inferior that one should transcend.
The worms will live in every host
It's hard to pick which one they eat most
As described in the introduction to this analysis, one of the things the worm represents is resentment. Resentment is often described as something that "eats away at you", and so this is what this part is describing. Everybody can become resentful, but some people will be driven to worse extremes because of it.
The horrible people, the horrible people
It's all anatomic as the size of your steeple
And here's another way you can be one of the beautiful people: physical strength or beauty.
Capitalism has made it this way,
Old-fashioned fascism will take it away
More on the theme of "this can only be stopped with violence", foreshadowing the destructive force that the Antichrist will become.
Hey you, what do you see?
Something beautiful, something free?
Hey you, are you trying to be mean?
If you live with apes, man, it's hard to be clean

There's no time to discriminate,
Hate every motherfucker that's in your way

Dried Up, Tied and Dead to The World

According to Manson, of all the songs on the album (some of which were written about the past, and some about the future) this was the only one that was inspired by the [then] present. It is heavily influenced by the location where Antichrist Superstar was recorded: New Orleans, which Manson frequently describes in his autobiography as a social cesspool filled with drug addicts. It is also inspired by the self-destructive behavior that accompanied the recording of the album, which involved lots of drinking, drug use, and property destruction. But mostly, this is a song that deals with the abusive relationships that come out of unhealthy dependency.

This song introduces a musical motif. It begins with the same riff that starts the song Mister Superstar in the second cycle. Mister Superstar also deals with an unhealthy addiction/obsession with someone, but this time instead of being the addicted one, the protagonist is the one others are addicted to. Him becoming the target of the same addiction he suffered from himself is just one symptom of him becoming more like the thing he is fighting.

The phrase "dead to the world" actually means "sleeping very deeply". However, I think that in this song, Manson is using it as an imagery, rather than in its idiomatic sense, because I don't think he intended to call the tour for the album the "sleeping very deeply" tour. However, see the analysis for the song The Reflecting God for a possible idiomatic interpretation.

You cut off all of your fingers
Trade them in for dollar bills
A grotesque way of saying "you sell your body", an idiom for prostitution.
Cake on some more make-up to
cover all those lines
From the context of the song and its background I interpret this part as "cake on some more make-up to cover [the physical symptoms of] all those lines [of coke]"
Wake up and stop shaking
cause you're just wasting time
This could as well be Manson speaking to himself. In his autobiography Manson writes that during the recording session of the album, for a very long time they didn't get any work done, and were instead drinking, getting high, and going to clubs. The shaking refers to one of the symptoms of drug withdrawal, and he's basically telling himself to get his life together.
Don't you want some of this?
Don't you need some of this?
You take but cannot be given
You ride but cannot be ridden
Pinch this tiny heart of mine
Wrap it up in soiled twine
The first two lines describe a one-sided relationship with an inflictor and inflicted, while the second pair of lines appear to be describing a dynamic where the inflictor first emotionally injures the inflicted (pinches heart), who is vulnerable to begin with (tiny heart) and then provides spoiled care (wrap it in soiled bandages).

Some common analysis of this song links this to Manson's mother's habit of "try to convince me that I was sicklier than I was so she could keep me at home and care for me", but that doesn't jive with Manson's assertion that this song was about the present. It's more likely to me that these lyrics reflect his interactions with the opposite sex during the recording time.
You never read what you've writtenYou never looked at what kind of person you were creating with this treatment.
I'll be your lover, I'll be forever
I'll be tomorrow, I am anything when I'm high
From the autobiography: "I had been part of an epidemic of drug abuse, self-abuse, and insincerity that seemed to be raging through everyone I met in New Orleans. Their motto: [[these lyrics]]"
Don't you want some of this?
Don't you need some of this?
You shove your hair down my throat
I feel your fingers in me
Tear this bitter fruit to mess
and wrap it in your soiled dress
Now you must spit out the seeds
This part continues the theme of being violated by a female. The fruit in this case refers to the protagonist and is used to invoke the seed metaphor in the following line.

"Seed" is commonly used as a metaphor for the beginnings of something that will grow into itself over time. In this case, these seeds are for the rise of the Antichrist. By metaphorically tearing him up, and spitting out the seeds to the ground, they planted the seeds for his retribution, and will have to reap what they sow.
I'll be your lover, I'll be forever
I'll be tomorrow, I am anything when I'm high
All dried up and tied up forever
All fucked up and dead to the world...
This is the drug user's rock bottom. While people are often willing to help others, once someone deteriorates too far, other people just start ignoring them. Such is the case with the homeless, and with drug addicts. People start acting like they don't exist, and they become dead to the world. Tied up is an idiom meaning to be attached to something without ability to leave it, which is the case with drug addicts and their drugs. Dried up means to wither or die through gradual loss of vitality.


This song starts with a back masked sample of Manson saying: "this is my lowest point of vulnerability". In his autobiography, Manson said that he put it there to create "a distress call heard by no one but myself". The song describes a deteriorating relationship between two broken people who use each other to mask psychological wounds. The music alternates between dissonance (brokenness) and dark ambience (intimacy), and like the backmasked sample, this song represents a breaking point: In the song, the protagonist tries to reconnect with his lost innocence by restoring his damaged girlfriend's innocence. When he is unable to do that, and his attempts yield contempt rather than the desired innocence, he basically loses the battle for his own innocence as well.

She's made of hair and bone and little teeth
And things I cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything
Spine is just a string
This lyric describes in a somewhat fetishistic manner (overly focused on narrow details of the body) a weak (spine is just a string) and broken (comes on like a crippled plaything) woman who is the subject of sexual interest for the speaker (the things he cannot speak are sexual organs, and are in the list of body parts he fetishizes over. She is also a plaything for him).
I wrapped our love in all this foil
Silver-tight like spider legs
I never wanted it to ever spoil
But flies will lay their eggs
This lyric is one of Manson's oldest lines, taken from a poem he wrote before the band was even formed. He does what he can to preserve their love, but it inevitably spoils.
Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet
The tourniquet is something that keeps a wound from killing you by stopping the bleeding, or prevents poison from spreading. So she is using him to protect herself from metaphorical wounds, and apparently has quite a lot of contempt for him, being psychologically abusive (make your victim my head) and not believing in him. It's not clear who the hatred is for, I don't think it's necessarily for the protagonist, it could be for other people in her life, but the way she manifests it is definitely directed at the protagonist.
Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly
Sealed up with virgin stitch
If it hurts, baby, please tell me
Preserve the innocence
He tries to fix her, return her to something whole (with the prosthetic), pretty (with the butterfly), pure, and innocent (hence the virgin stitch), and then tries to nurture this innocenceplasty ("If it hurts tell me, preserve the innocence").
The "preserve the innocence" line is a mild clue as to what the real goal is. It's not "preserve her innocence", it's preserve THE innocence, which is how we know that this is what he is really after- innocence itself. He just tries to get it through restoring her.
I never wanted it to end like this
But flies will lay their eggs

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet
What I wanted, what I needed, what I got for me
Perhaps I am weakened by her.
I want to control her,
Because I am weakened by her.
Not part of the official lyrics, but can be heard during the breakdown if the song is played in reverse. This is the beginning of the realization that he's better off without her, and we'll see it manifest soon enough in the final stage of the lyrics.
Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet
Take your, take your
Get up out of me
I'm not proud with me
I never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet
This variation of the chorus is not listed in the lyrics, but seems to be a good by-ear transcription. When you're at your lowest point of vulnerability the only way to go is up, and fittingly, this variation almost looks like a breaking point saying "I had enough. Get out of me, this is not what I want to be". The "I never ever believed in me" line suggests to me that the only reason he stayed in that relationship was because of low self-esteem, and now he seems to understand it. That's why he's not proud of himself anymore.

Cycle II: Inauguration of The Worm

After learning who our protagonist is and what life he came from, this second cycle is about his rise to power. The journey from a weak worm to a powerful Antichrist. It begins with a moment of rage (Little Horn); a moment of realization of how he was treated, and the decision to rise to power and destroy society. What follows is a transformative journey that is rife with self-doubt, wrestling with personal demons, and the rising fear that this path is leading him to his demise.

Little Horn

The title of this song is a biblical reference. In the Book of Daniel, the prophet Daniel sees a vision of a "little horn" that grows out of a terrible beast. The horn catches his attention due to its unusual attributes (such as having eyes and mouth), and Daniel asks an angel about his vision. The angel explains that the horn represents a king that will rise to power and "will speak against the most high and oppress his holy people". He will seek to change times and laws, and he will exert oppressive power over God's people. Various clues about this king, such as when he will rise to power, how long he will reign, and later appearance in the Book of Revelation, imply that this little horn represents the Antichrist.

Some of the lyrics in this song reference a dream Manson had about a post-apocalyptic future in Fort Lauderdale. In this dream most of humanity had been turned into zombies for the entertainment of a small elite. There was a strip club where they had reanimated female corpses and made them dance naked in cages made of thick metal bars. Their flesh was covered in boils and gnarled veins, and their hair was falling out in clumps. Their jaws had been wired shut so that they wouldn't bite off the penises of the men around them masturbating.

Within the context of the album, this song acts as multiple things. It's a moment of revelation for the protagonist, who becomes conscious of the corruption and depravity he is living in. He is filled with motivative anger as a result of this epiphany. A lot of this anger is expressed through the music, as this is one of the most aggressive songs on the album. This song is also a prophecy of the apocalypse to come, and it's a bit of a warning to himself and to the world.

There's an apple in the pussy mouth
Now I am the dinner whore
He sees something in a carnally appealing package, and immediately becomes indiscriminatingly obsessed with getting it.
There's a tumour in the T.V. mouth
Burn it out before it grows
References to television are a rife in Manson's work. He regards TV as something of immense cultural power, something that is a national phenomenon with the ability to mass preach dogma, project an alternate reality, and elevate people to Godlike status (the line "God is in the TV" from the album Mechanical Animals sums this up the best in my opinion).

This lyric claims that what's being preached by the TV (in other words, the mainstream societal dogma) is corrupt, and must be destroyed.
Someone better get the dog to kick
Jaws wired shut to save the dick
That's the reference to the dream. The dog kicking being another one of the unethical entertainments of the small elite.
Out of the bottomless pit comes the little horn

"Little horn is born"
The Bottomless Pit is described in the Book of Revelation; it is the abyss where Satan is imprisoned along with other angels that went astray from God. This further identifies the little horn as the ultimate antagonist to God.
The world spreads its legs for another star
World shows its face for another scar
The world eagerly accepts another star (because American culture is obsessed with celebrity and stardom), but by accepting this particular star (the antichrist superstar), they're inviting the thing that will scar them.
Dead will dance for what is left
The worms will wait with bated breath
Another reference to the dream, and a reappearance of the worms as a group. I'm not sure what the worms are waiting for. Is it to feast on the dead, or for the rise of the new antichrist?
"Your blind have now become my deaf"
so says the little horn
"You made this happen by being blind to what you were doing, and because of that sin I will not listen to your cries and pleas when I take vengeance upon you (I will be deaf to your screams)".
"Save yourself from this..."This line can be interpreted as a plea to society or as a plea to the self. The protagonist of the album does not choose vengeance out of inherent evil, but out of circumstance, and he is aware of the personal toll this is going to take on him, so before we reach the point of no return in the third cycle of the album there are many variations of "don't do it, don't go down that road".
The world spreads its legs for another star
world shows its face for another scar
Everyone will suffer now...
"You can't save yourself..."
The society cannot save itself anymore, and the protagonist can't save himself anymore. So, it seems that the apocalypse will not only come, but will actually be invited in, and everyone will suffer.
The world spreads its legs for another star
World shows its face for another scar


Cryptorchid refers to an abnormal medical condition of the male anatomy in which one or both testicles have failed to sink into the scrotum. The testicles are a masculine metaphor for courage, so the condition is used as a metaphor for the protagonist's self-doubt. At one point in the song Manson actually says: "I wish I had my balls".

This song is a point of transformation. In the album's artwork there is a sequence of photos that includes: the protagonist as a worm, Manson emergint out of a cocoon, and the rise of the Antichrist as an angel with scabbed wings. In other words, the process of transformation from worm to angel is represented by gestating inside of a cocoon, and Cryptorchid is the song that represents this transformation musically. When it starts, it employs many of the sound tropes that are used to describe gestating inside of a biological entity: an irregular heartbeat pattern (simulated by drums), and ambience consisting of soft sounds, as if whatever sounds reach us from the outside world are severely muffled by a layer of flesh and fluid. Then near the end of the song there's a drastic musical shift. The loud and inconsistent heart beat pattern is replaced by a simple, steady, and quiet pattern. The complex ambient soundscape of the song is replaced by a much cleaner ambient layer that has a roomy feeling to it, and a quiet yet uplifting quality. Together, the musical cues suggest that our consciousness has expanded to include more than our own self, because that is the point when the antichrist breaks out of the cocoon.

It might be surprising that the song that represents the transformation from the worm to the angel comes so early in the cycle, but this concept is validated later in the lyrics of the song Wormboy, that say "when will you realize you're already there? You'll thank us now that you have crossed over", and in the lyrics of the song Kinderfeld, which say "then I got my wings and I never really knew it". It will be a while before the protagonist comes to terms with the fact that he already took the step towards becoming the Antichrist, and the rest of this cycle is essentially about him realizing this and growing into his new role.

The working title for this song was "Little Black Spots".

Each time I make my mother cry an angel dies and falls from heavenThis line describes the difficulty of taking that transformative step from small boy to terrible angel. As a small boy he is weak, and he is also in a symbiotic relationship with his mother, who is his lifeline. This is something that is hard for him to break from. Each time he tries to step in the direction of becoming the monster he wishes to become, it hurts his mother, and he ends up running back to her. This is why an angel (which he could have been) dies and falls from heaven (that he could have reached).
When the boy is still a worm it's hard to learn the number sevenThe number 7 holds great religious significance. Many significant things in the biblical stories come in quantities of 7, especially in the New Testament:
  • 7 days of creation
  • 7 deadly sins
  • 7 spirits of God
  • 7 gifts of the holy spirit
  • 7 joys of the virgin
  • 7 sacraments of the Catholic Church
  • 7 sorrows of the virgin
  • 7 virtues
  • 7 heavens (Islam)
  • 7 hells (Islam)
  • Many quantities are sevenfold, for example Noah is asked by God to bring 7 pairs of clean animals to the ark
Basically, it's a number that symbolizes divine perfection, or completeness. In the song it also represents heaven, which can be deduced in the next lines.
But when they get to you
(5, 6, 7, 8, never)
It's the first thing that they do
(7, 8, 9, 10, heaven)
When they get to you
(4, 3, 2, 1, never get to 7)
The parts in parentheses is the protagonist unable to get to number seven.
"They" is whoever is represented by that bright, distorted choir at the end of the song. As I said in the introduction, I believe it is the worms as a group that sits in the shadows and pulls the strings, plotting the rise of a new antichrist by preying on the side of people that is vulnerable to suggestion from resentment.
Each time I look outside my mother dies
I feel my back is changing shape
This line stands in contrast to the line that opens the song. His mother is a force that pulls him back towards staying mother's little boy. It's a force that kills the angel he could be, and a part of him wants to stay in his mother's embrace. But then, each time he looks outside into the world, and sees its corruption, it raises a calling in him which overrides his mother ("kills" her) and initiates the transformation (his back changing shape is a reference to wings starting to sprout).
(when they get to you)
When the worm consumes the boy it's never considered rape
The implication here is that it is rape. Resentment turns good people into monsters, and the worm is the seed of resentment. The process is essentially:
weakness->gets exploited->breeds resentment->becomes a monster.
The worm (resentment) consumes the boy.
When they get to you
(I wish I had my balls)
it's the first thing that they do
(I wish I had my balls)
when they get to you
The protagonist is already transforming, he just isn't aware of it. He is still obsessed with wishing he had courage (his balls).
Prick your finger it is done...
The moon has now eclipsed the sun...
The angel has spread its wings...
The time has come for bitter things...
This is the point when the music changes to that uplifting, roomy ambience described in the preface to this analysis. The lyrics in this section are sung by what sounds like a distorted choir of angels. It announces that the antichrist angel has arrived, and that the apocalypse has begun (lunar eclipse has a long history of signifying the end of the world, and some modern evangelists interpret it this way even today). The only thing I'm not clear about is the "prick your finger" part. The first explanation that comes to mind is a bloodletting ritual, but a tiny finger prick doesn't seem like the kind of bloodletting that is serious enough for a ritual. It is also not clear what the ritual would refer to since the major event (rise of the Antichrist) has already happened. Another possible explanation is that this is a reference to something, with the obvious candidate being The Sleeping Beauty. In this tale, the princess is cursed to die if her finger is pricked, and later this curse is mitigated a bit by a fairy that turns the death sentence to a long sleep. So perhaps the idea here is, now that the Antichrist has risen, they who shall be destroyed have nowhere to run in reality, they can only escape by running away from reality.

The words "it is done" will later be repeated in the song Antichrist Superstar. Go see the analysis of that song for information about their biblical significance.


The title of this track is an amalgam of "deform" and "graphic". If the name reminds you a bit of "pornography", that's somewhat intentional, since the original title of this song was "P Is For Porno".

This song is about how you can get so caught up in wanting to become an ideal that it can twist you into something unhealthy. In this song, the protagonist becomes so obsessed with the ideal that is the Antichrist Superstar that he degenerates into uninhibited lust that overrides his self-preservation. He begins doing things that are clearly unhealthy for him just to get closer to this powerful angel of destruction that he adores, and reaches a point in which he is perfectly willing to destroy himself and his ideal rather than let someone else have it.

"But wait", I hear you say, "didn't he just metamorphize into the angel in the previous song? Why is he acting like the ideal of the antichrist is something other than himself?" First of all, an ideal is a concept, it's by definition something other than yourself. But also, as we will see in subsequent songs, he doesn't yet realize that he is already the antichrist, so he still spends his time idolizing and dreaming of becoming one.

When you wish upon your star
Don't let yourself fall, fall in too hard
The star represents an ideal, and wishing upon it means reaching for attaining the ideal. The song starts with a warning that when you do that, you need to be careful to not get carried away with wanting that ideal. When that warning is not heeded, you get what happens in the rest of this song.
I fell into you and I'm on my back
An insect decaying in your little trap
I squirm into you, now I'm in your gut
I fell into you, now I'm in a rut
This part seems to be from the POV of the worm as the weakling. It fell for the charms of the ideal and now that ideal is too powerful for the worm to escape from. This is a vulnerable and unhealthy place for it to be in, but it just continues to squirm deeper into the ideal, because it's an obsession at this point.
"I lift you up like the sweetest angel,
I'll tear you down like a whore.
I will bury your god under my warm spit,
you'll be deformed in your porn"
Based on the shift in tone, I believe this is said from the POV of the Antichrist Superstar, the ideal that the Worm falls into. There's a pornographic undertone in the first half of the lyric "lift you up like the sweetest angel, tear you down like a whore". Porn tends to play on the extremes of carnal attraction, and the meeting between pure beauty and bestial expression of lust is a classic variation of the formula. It also reminds me of a passage in Manson's autobiography where he wrote "...I was also somewhat turned on because she looked like a beauty who had been mauled by a beast. And few things are more of a turn-on than beauty disfigured".

"I will bury your god under my warm spit" describes how powerful the Antichrist Superstar is, and that's part of his attractiveness to the weak resentful worm.
Rock star yeah (you're such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
This is the chorus. Musically it sounds like an alarm, so it acts as another warning to the listener that we are heading down a bad path.
You eat up my heart and all the little parts
Your star is so sharp it leaves me jagged holes
I make myself sick just to poison you
If I can't have you then no one will
The Worm is describing how the ideal devours it. We know it is talking about the ideal because "your star is so sharp it leaves me jagged holes". The ideal devours the Worm because no human can ever live up to an ideal, so in order to become the ideal you have to become less human. This is why it eats away his human parts, including the heart, which can be seen as a metaphor for making him less empathic. An ideal is also like a judge that constantly reminds you of your inadequacies by being something you can compare yourself to and fall short. Perhaps this is why the Antichrist Superstar ideal not only devours him but also hurts him (leaves me jagged holes), and yet the Worm is so lustful after the ideal that it is perfectly willing to destroy itself and the ideal with it rather than let someone else have it, which is the ultimate form of obsession.
"I lift you up like the sweetest angel,
I'll tear you down like a whore.
I will bury your god under my warm spit,
You'll be deformed in your porn"

Rock star yeah (you're such a dirty, dirty)
Rock star yeah (dirty, dirty, dirty)
You are the one I want and what I want is so unreal
I'm such a dirty Rock star yeah...
(I am the one you want and the one you want is so unreal)
What he wants is so unreal because ideals are never attainable by humans.


Of all the songs on the album, this is the one that had the most input from Daisy Berkowitz, the co-founder guitarist who left during the recording of the album, and who was essentially responsible for the band's original musical style. Since Manson and the rest of the band wanted to ditch their original style in favor of a new direction, this song is considered by Manson to be the black sheep of the album.

Lyrically, it's about the protagonist wrestling with himself, trying to push himself to commit to the role he chose to pursue. It's the moment when he finally agrees to be the rock star, the rebel, the Antichrist, and the songs that follow already deal with his newfound fame.

The working title for this song was Wormboy Gets His Wings.

At the beginning of the song there's a backmasking of Manson whispering something about the worm. It's severely chopped up, so I was never able to figure it out completely, but I seem to be able to make out the words "kill yourself" and "against the worm".

When will you realize you're already there?
So watered down-your feelings have turned to mud.
"Love everybody" is destroying the value of
All hate has got me nowhere
The lyrics are written as if some very insightful entity is arguing with the protagonist, trying to get him to see that he already crossed the line into his new destiny. Further in the lyrics it says "you'll thank us now that you have crossed over", so I think that this insightful entity is once again the cabal of worms that endeavored to inaugurate one of their own into power. In this first verse, the argument is basically: look, you're already as nihilistic as can be. There's nowhere else for you to go from here.

The nihilism part comes from the second line (So watered down-your feelings have turned to mud). To water something down is to drain it from its potency. Our emotions are how we experience existence, and if all emotions were drained from their effect, and thus their meaning, then everything becomes one big mush where everything is indistinguishable from everything.
The second half of the verse drives the point further, by saying "and nothing you do will get you anywhere". Loving everybody doesn't work, it only achieves destroying the value of love itself, and the complete opposite doesn't work either.
I know I'm slipping, I know I'm slipping, I know I'm slipping awayThis is written from the point of view of the protagonist. He is not completely oblivious to his situation, he's just having trouble accepting it voluntarily, but he does feel himself slipping further into it.
Oh no, it is everything they said it was
Oh no, I am all the things they said I was
He is beginning to realize that he already stepped into the role. He begins to realize that he really is the role society has cast him into, and he also realizes that he already knows what being a rockstar is about. The evidence is becoming hard to ignore.
When you get to heaven you will wish you're in hellThis is the nature of actually achieving an ideal; once you do, you end up wishing you never had.
When will you realize, you're already here?
You'll thank us now that you have crossed over
Don't pick the scabs or you will never heal
Some more of "look, you're basically already there, you've already crossed over, here are a few pointers about your new scabbed wings". And then:
The world shudders as the worm gets its wingsThe wormboy accepts his role as the Antichrist, and the world shudders.
Oh no, it is everything they said it was
Oh no, I am all the things they said I was
Then I got my wings and I never even knew it
When I was a worm, thought I wouldn't get through it...
This part was recorded with an unplugged electric guitar and a tape recorder at a hotel room. This part will later come back in the song Kinderfeld, which is a creepy introspective song about our protagonist's psyche.

This lyric just summarizes that he used to doubt himself so much that he didn't see the power he already possessed.
When you get to heaven you will wish you're in hell

Oh no, it is everything they said it was
Oh no, I am all the things they said I was

Mister Superstar

This song is about his fans morbidly obsessing over him. It's the first "what have I gotten myself into" song on the album. It mirrors the obsession the protagonist felt towards others when he was weak as described in the song Dried Up, Tied and Dead To The World, but now the protagonist is the strong one, and others lust after him much in the same way. The connection with Dried Up, Tied and Dead To The World is represented by the fact that both songs start with the same riff. Most of the lyrics in this song (except the chorus) are said from the point of view of the obsessive fans.

Hey Mr. Superstar:
"I'll do anything for you"
"I'm your number one fan"
Hey mr. porno star, I, I, I, I want you
Hey mr. sickly star,
I want to get sick from you
Hey mr. fallen star,
Don't you know I worship you?
Hey mr. big rock star,
"I wanna grow up just like you"
A description of the obsessive, lustful, overbearing fixation his fans have with him.
I know that I can turn you on
I wish I could just turn you off
I never wanted this

Hey mr. superhate,
I just want to love you
Hey, hey, hey mr. superfuck,
I wanna go down on you
Hey mr. supergod,
Will you answer my prayers?
Hey, hey, hey mr. superman,
I want to be your little girl
I know that I can turn you on
I wish I could just turn you off
I never wanted this
Will you kill yourself on TV?
I wish you'd kill yourself on TV
Will you kill yourself on TV?
We'd like to see you dead
The idea of why this would be something that the fans crave to see is not well developed in this album, but is further explored in subsequent records like Mechanical Animals ("God is in the TV") and Holy Wood ("If you die and there's no one watching, then your ratings drop and you're forgotten, but if they kill you on the TV, you're a martyr and a lamb of God").

Basically, Manson combines the obsession this song describes with the idea that anything that happens on TV has immense cultural power. They want to see him take himself to the extreme, and they want that extreme immortalized by television.
Hey mr. superstar,
I'll kill myself for you
Hey mr. superstar,
I'll kill you if I can't have you
Superstar, superfuck baby...
"I'll kill you if I can't have you" is a lot like the line from Deformography "I'll make myself sick just to poison you. If I can't have you then no one will." Back then it was the protagonist who said this, but now the protagonist is the one that others want to own.

Angel with The Scabbed Wings

Here he is, the angel of destruction. The Antichrist himself. We are now almost at the end of this cycle, past the process of transformation and the self-doubt. Meet the creature you've been aiming for.

This song mostly describes what the Antichrist is. It's a fantasy, an ideal, powerful, magnificent, nihilistic, and destructive. He is the subject of worship by those who don't see the reality behind the fantasy, nor truly understand what they are dealing with.

Fun trivia: the opening riff is a slowed down version of a riff taken from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar.

He is the angel with the scabbed wings
hard-drug face, want to powder his nose
He will deflower the freshest crop
dry up all the wombs with his rock and roll sores
It's magnificent (an angel), messed up (scabbed, drug using), destructive (deflower the crop, dry up the wombs), and a rock star.
is what he is, he does what he please
the things that he has you'll never want to see
what you're never gonna be now
This verse describes the fascination people have with the angel, who is nihilistic (dead inside) and powerful (therefore gets to do what he wants). The angel represents an ideal, and these people want to be that ideal. They also aren't interested in seeing the reality behind the ideal- that this creature of awe is dead inside, they just want to be the fantasy of the angel ("you don't want to see him, you only want to be him").

They're also never going to be that ideal, and the verse seems to suggest that it's not going to do you good to see what you can't be.
sketch a little keyhole for looking-glass people
you don't want to see him
you only want to be him
mommy's got a scarecrow, gotta let the corn grow
man can't always reap what he sow
"Sketch a little keyhole" means "create a way in" (you create a keyhole so that the door could be opened). The looking glass people is probably a reference to the novel Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, a sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The reason why I think it's a reference to Alice in Wonderland and not just a way to say "mirror" is because Manson is known to have a fascination with the Alice in Wonderland novels, and if he just wanted to say "mirror" there's no reason for him to use the archaic term "looking-glass" instead of the more common word. The looking-glass people are looking for a way into wonderland, because it ties in with the idea that the angel is a fantasy incarnate. They also do it by looking at themselves in the mirror, so it's like they are trying to find the fantasy within themselves.

Given that the "looking-glass" term is a likely reference to a fantasy story, the scarecrow in the last two lines of the verse might be a reference to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, another story about entering a fantasy world. In that novel the scarecrow was guarding a corn field, and its wish was to have a brain. So mommy got an idiot for a child, who is growing that which he won't be able to sow, a commentary on how the people who wish for the Antichrist won't be able to handle him.
"He is the maker"
(He is the taker)
"He is the savior"
(He is the raper)
Yes, he is both of those things, which is another reason why you probably shouldn't wish for him.
is what he is, he does what he please
the things that he has you'll never want to see
what you're never gonna be now
sketch a little keyhole for looking-glass people
you don't want to see him
you only want to be him
mommy's got a scarecrow, gotta let the corn grow
man can't always reap what he sow

"He is the maker"
(He is the taker)
"He is the savior"
(He is the raper)
Get back you're never gonna leave him
Get back you're always gonna please him
And finally, more warnings about getting away from him, because he's not going to do you any good, similarly to the kinds of warnings this whole cycle is filled with.


The word Kinderfeld is German for "Field of Children", and it's likely a reference to the American Kinderfeld in Frankfurt, Germany, which is a cemetery for American children who died before the age of two. After the end of World War II Frankfurt was used as headquarters for the Allied Forces, and many families of American soldiers moved into the city. The rule at the time was that the government would only pay to ship deceased bodies over the age of two for burial in the United States, so any baby that was stillborn or died too young had to be buried locally, hence the cemetery.

This song predates Antichrist Superstar by a significant amount. It was originally written and played during the tour for their "Smells Like Children" EP (this was also the song's working title), and in its initial form it was just a creepy song inspired by Manson's grandfather Jack Warner. The overarching theme of the Smells Like Children EP was the loss of innocence, and this song explored this theme through Jack's sexual deviancy, to which Manson was exposed at a young age.

Manson's grandfather had a cellar which was off limits to everybody but him. That was where he went to indulge in his many fetishes, and it was filled with things such as bestiality pictures, watersports magazines (not the athletic kind of watersports), fetish gear like enemas and women's clothing, dildos, porn movies, Vaseline, condoms, and a toy train, which he would turn on when he was masturbating. Manson and his cousin Chad were both fascinated by Jack's underground world, and the first chapter in Manson's autobiography describes their stealthy excursions into it. In one particular event, Jack suddenly came back into the cellar while they were in it, and they were forced to hide behind the desk while he was masturbating to avoid being caught.

As the song made it into Antichrist Superstar, it could've easily been part of the first cycle, since it speaks about a childhood experience. However, here it appears pretty far in the story, right before the last cycle. Why is that? The reason can be found in Manson's autobiography, where there's a passage which describes him meeting his family at his cousin Chad's wedding. This was when he was well into his rock star career, and in the novel Manson describes the disconnect he felt from most of his family- the "normal" people- and how the person he felt the most comfortable with was his dead grandfather Jack:

Everyone [in my family] I talked to asked if I was gay or a drug addict or a devil worshipper. No one had anything nice to say, and no one understood anything about me. I wasn't Brian Warner anymore, I was some kind of inexplicable and repulsive slime that had trickled out of a sewer and filthied their manicured lives. ... After the reception, we drove back to my grandmother's. As everyone sat in the living room drinking wine, eating crackers and struggling to say something interesting, I stole away and walked downstairs to my grandfather's basement. ... I didn't feel small and scared in the basement anymore. In fact, I felt at home for the first time since I had returned to canton. I had much more in common with my grandfather now than with the innocent kid who used to explore his basement, which was an upsetting realization in light of the fact that moments ago I had been sitting in church promising myself that i would never grow up. I even wore women's lingerie, like my grandfather did, and had engaged in sexual acts far more perverse than the ones in his watersports and anal only magazines. My grandfather had been the ugliest, darkest, foulest, most depraved figure of my childhood, more beast than human, and I had grown up to be him, locked in the basement with my secrets as the rest of the family reveled in the petty and ordinary upstairs.

So basically, the song is this far in the story because it correlates to the chronology of when Manson returned to his grandfather's basement. Lyrically, it is written as a collage of past and "present" events that serve as an introspection of the journey he took up to this point, right before we step into the final chapter.

Some lyrics in this song can be interpreted as if Jack was a pedophile:

  • "He lives inside my mouth and tells me what to say."
    If there's domestic sexual abuse of children by a guardian figure, they would usually tell the children what to say in order to make them keep the secret.
  • "The toys all smell like children".
    This can be interpreted as fetishistic obsession with the children. It also references the child catcher from the children's movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang who had a large nose with which he could smell the hiding children.
  • Then there's the lyric towards the end of the song describing Jack removing his pants and exposing his dick, followed by a small boy voice "there's no one here to save ourselves".

So, the song could work pretty well to describe that sort of situation. However, the official context derived from the autobiography is that it's really about Manson's horrified fascination with Jack and his realization into adulthood that he had become Jack. There has never been any indication that Jack was a pedophile.

He lives inside my mouth
And tells me what to say
When he turns the trains on
he makes it go away
The hands are cracked and dirty and
The nails are beetle wings
When he turns the trains on
He unties all of the strings
These lyrics describe Jack; his cracked and dirty hands, nails black like beetle wings, him turning the trains on to masturbate, then removing the clothing (untying the strings).
An important part of the lyric to remember for the rest of the song is that when Jack turns the trains on, he "makes it go away". "Makes it go away" is repeated in the next verse under a different context.

His grandfather "lives inside my mouth and tells me what to say" because the song is inspired by Manson's realization that he has become his grandfather, which means that his grandfather is "inside of him". The same thing that made his grandfather the way he was, is also in him driving his actions, driving what he says.
[The Worm:]
"Tell me something beautiful
Tell me something free
Tell me something beautiful
And I wish that I could be"
These lyrics reference a previous song on this album: The Beautiful People, where the chorus is: "Hey you what do you see? Something beautiful something free?"
The worm is weak and needy for something to invest itself into.
Then I got my wings
And I never even knew it
When I was a worm
Thought I couldn't get through it
...and this part references the song Wormboy, where these lyrics first appeared. When he mastered the drive to wish for something greater, that's when he got his wings.
[Jack (Not Spoken):]
Come, come
Toys all smell like children
And the scab-knees will obey
I'll have to kneel on broomsticks
Just to make it go away
More description of creepy Jack. In his autobiography Manson writes that when his grandmother (Jack's wife) wanted to give the children a punishment, she made him kneel on a broom stick, which resulted in bruised knees. So the scab-knees in this verse means "children". It also looks like in this song Jack has a complicated relationship with his fetishes. First he needs to turn the trains on (code word for masturbate) to make "it" go away, and then he has to repent (kneel on broomsticks) to make "it" go away. He considers what he is doing sinful, but it is too much of who he is for him to stop.
[The inauguration of the worm]This part has no lyrics. It's just a name given to the distorted flute solo that comes at this point. The high pitched, distorted aesthetic of the flute's sound is similar to the high pitched, distorted voice that is often employed on the album when speaking from the point of view of the worms.
Then I got my wings
And I never even knew it
When I was a worm
Thought I couldn't get through it
[A voice we have not yet heard:]
"Because today is black
Because there is no turning back
Because your lies have watered me
I have become the strongest weed"
This is the Antichrist speaking, explaining to society why he is doing what he is doing.
A weed is a metaphor for weakness, since it's a pest plant that has nothing going for it save for its ability to easily reproduce (not pretty, no fruit, easy to kill, often trampled down since it's everywhere). This verse basically says that the Antichrist's power and motivation is rooted in weakness, and that society grew him and 'watered him' with their lies. Though it may seem paradoxical for power to be rooted in weakness, it's actually common since weakness is a very powerful motivator for building up defenses and offensive capabilities. Sometimes people who seem threatening are actually defensively aggressive.
[Through Jack's eyes:]
The taste of metal
Three holes upon the leather belt
It's cut and swollen
and the age is showing
"There's no one here to save ourselves".
The fact that this lyric is told from Jack's eyes is an important clue to interpreting it, otherwise it would be completely unintelligible.
It describes Jack's masturbation sessions from his point of view, and also seems inspired by the story from Manson's autobiography about how he had to hide behind the table while Jack was masturbating.
In the lyrics, Jack sits in his chair, looks down, there's a belt with three holes in it. He unties it and takes out his dick, which is cut (circumcised), swollen, and wrinkled with age. Meanwhile the little boy is hiding behind the table hoping to not get caught.

The part about "the taste of metal" probably references the fact that Jack had a metal catheter stuck in his throat which was there ever since his Tracheostomy due to throat cancer. I'm not sure that he would be able to taste the metal if it was inserted into his throat, but that is the best interpretation I can give based on the stories about him in the autobiography. Finally, there's this word: disintegrator.

The final cycle in the album is called "Disintegrator Rising". Since this is a story about the Antichrist, the disintegrator has to be the antichrist himself. So why is it that this word is uttered through Jack's point of view? I think that it refers to Manson's identification with his grandfather. He sees in himself as the antichrist the same perversion he saw in Jack, so on a personal level, the antichrist and Jack are the same.
[The disintegrator (to himself):]
This is what you should fear
You are what you should fear
Jack is what you should fear. And you are Jack. You should fear yourself.

Cycle III: Disintegrator Rising

In this third and final cycle, the Antichrist is at the height of his power, and proceeds to invoke his vengeance upon the world. It's the point when he crosses the line from a healthy rebellion to seeking destruction, and like a criminal who has done something so reprehensible he could never be forgiven for it, the repercussion for his humanity is that he is now past the point of no return. With each inhumane act he does, he becomes more and more beyond redemption, and even though he understands where he is going, he no longer has the luxury of stopping what he set in motion.

Antichrist Superstar

This song is where the Antichrist passes judgment on society. It starts with what I think is meant to be the sound of a church choir, and a sinister sound creeps in, representing the approach of the Antichrist. Then the heavy guitar takes over everything. He has arrived.

You built me up with your wishing hell
I didn't have to sell you
You threw your money in the pissing well
You do just what they tell you
"Wishing hell" is a word play on "wishing well", which is a well that grants spoken wishes if you throw some coins into it. It's an old European folklore that stems from the fact that clean water was somewhat of a luxury for a long time in human history, and therefore water was seen as either a gift from the Gods, or even a place in which the Gods resided, so throwing coins into a well, or alternatively a fountain, was a sacrifice/appeasement to the Gods that often came with small requests.

The first two lines of the verse suggest that society essentially wished him up. He didn't have to be someone who would turn on them, but that is what they worked towards making him.

Then in the latter two lines he informs them that even though they were doing what they were told was right, all they did was blindly following bad advice. He indicates that the advice was bad because what they did was throwing money into a pissing well. "Pissing well" is an obscene way of saying "fountain" (a well that shoots up streams of water), and by describing their wishing well as a thing of piss, something that is filthy rather than divine, he's suggesting that they made their sacrifices at nothing.
REPENT, that's what I'm talking about
I shed the skin to feed the fake
REPENT, that's what I'm talking about
Whose mistake am I anyway?
Repent for your sins, because you were using me to feed your lies. And repent, because you had to really fuck up in order to create someone like me.

Skin shedding is a symbol of throwing away the old you for the new you to come out. It's a symbol of transformation, and the second line suggests that he had to transform because they were using him to feed their lies. It's also a serpentine imagery. Snakes have been a symbol of evil since biblical times, which ties in with the idea that the Antichrist is evil. The snake symbolism continues in the next verse:
Cut the head off
Grows back hard
I am the hydra
Now you'll see your star
The hydra is a multi-headed serpentine water monster from Greek mythology. For every head that you chop, two grow back. It is often used as a symbol for a problem too terrible to get under control; the moment you try (cut one of its heads off) it just gets worse (two grow). So basically, he is a multi-faceted evil that you can't kill, and now you'll see exactly what this means (now you'll see your star).
Prick your finger it is done
The moon has now eclipsed the sun
The angel has spread its wings
The time has come for bitter things
You may recall that these lyrics first appeared in Cryptorchid, at the point in the song where the Antichrist bursts out of his cocoon. Now the lyrics make a return here, in the song titled Antichrist Superstar, reinforcing their meaning as the moment where the Antichrist was born. See that song for interpretation.
REPENT, that's what he's talking about
I shed the skin to feed the fake
REPENT, that's what he's talking about
Whose mistake am I anyway?

prick your finger it is done...
the moon has now eclipsed the sun...
the angel has spread its wings...
the time has come for bitter things...

Cut the head off
Grows back hard
I am the hydra
Now you'll see your star
The time has come it is quite clear
Our antichrist
Is almost here...
It is done
The words "it is done" are echoing the last words that Jesus said before he finally died: "it is finished". This phrase is a translation of the Greek word "tetelestai", which had multiple uses in biblical times:
  • It signified the completion of a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
  • It means that "The Work", whatever that happens to be, is completed, and no further adjustments are necessary.
  • In the context of debt collection, it meant that the debt had been paid in full.
(when you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you)These are the words from the beginning of the record, and they will also be repeated in the end of the hidden final track. They make an appearance here because the moment of suffering has come. It has come for society, because the worm (as the weakling) had betrayed them, and it has come for the protagonist as well, because the worm (as the voice of resentment) is about to push him to his final destruction.


This is the most noisy and chaotic song on the album. It opens with the sound of ticking (bomb?), and then there's an explosion of chaotic guitar noise. The song continues to be fast, aggressive, and filled with feedback and noise, and in my opinion represents the destruction the Antichrist wreaks on society. If this were a movie, this would be the scenes where the Antichrist and his minions walk around town destroying everything. Since this song is called "1996" and the album came out in 1996, that would place the timeline of the song in the then present of the album release.

Light a candle for the sinner, set the world on fireLighting a candle for someone is an act of praying for them, and praying for the sinners is a Christian sentiment. So here Manson turns the phrase on itself by saying that this candle sets the world on fire, thus repeating yet again the idea that the Antichrist and all the destruction he wreaks came out of their Christian traditions.
I am the anti-flag unfurled
Anti-white and anti-man
I got the anti-future plan
I am the anti-music god
Anti whore
There will never be enough of anti more
The general structure is that "they" are anti this and that, and in response he is anti something in return.
I can't believe in the things
That don't believe in me
Now it's your turn to see what I hate about me
In the lyric booklet, the last line is supposed to be "now it's your turn to see misanthropy", but when singing Manson seems to sing "to see what I hate about me". This is perhaps a comment on how you can't be misanthropic without hating yourself.
Anti-people now you've gone too far
Here's your antichrist superstar
...more on the theme of "you created me".
Anti-things I fucked and ate
Here is my anti-president gun
Anti-world is on my back
Anti gay and anti dope
I am the faggot anti-pope
I can't believe in the things
That don't believe in me
Now it's your turn to see what I hate about me

Anti people now you've gone too far
Here's your antichrist superstar
This is where your faith ends
1996! 1996! 1996! 1996!
This is not part of the official lyrics, but seems to be an accurate by-ear transcription.
Anti-peace, Anti life
Anti-husband, anti-wife
Anti-song and anti me
I don't deserve a chance to be

Anti-people now you've gone too far
Here's your antichrist superstar

The Minute of Decay

So far in this third cycle we've seen the Antichrist arrive and announce his power, and we've seen him wreak destruction. All displays of power. However, as explained in the introduction to this cycle, all this power does is gradually turning him into a monster, and removing him further away from humanity. He is well aware of where he is heading, and he does not approach this end lightly. In fact, this weighs heavily on him, and in this song, we see the depression this is plunging him into.

According to Manson's autobiography he started crying while recording the vocals for this track, since much like the story's protagonist he too was in considerable emotional anguish.


The song starts with a distorted sample "From a dead man, greetings", taken from the movie 1984. It's based on a novel of the same name by George Orwell that was written as a cautionary tale about the dangers of left-wing totalitarianism, specifically of the Communist variety. The quote is said by the story's protagonist, who privately questions the regime he is living under, and who understand that the very fact that he has these thoughts at all means that he is already dead, because it's only a matter of time until Big Brother finds out.

There's not much left to love
Too tired today to hate
I feel the empty
I feel the minute of decay
This describes the nihilism the protagonist descended into. Nothing means anything because it's either gone or he doesn't have it in him anyway. All that's left is the emptiness.
I'm on my way down now,
I'd like to take you with me
I'm on my way down
He knows where he is headed, and in a moment of weakness he wishes to take everybody with him so that at least he would not die alone.
The minute that it's born
It begins to die
I'd love to just give in,
I'd love to live this lie
Words of regret. He wishes he could just give in and immerse himself in the lie other people are living in.
I've been to black and back
I've whited out my name
He went to the dark places and came back (a common theme in the hero's journey is the descend to the underworld, and then ascending back stronger than you were). He also erased who he used to be (erased his original name. The protagonist erased the old himself to become the Antichrist, while Brian Warner erased his name to become Marilyn Manson).
A lack of pain, a lack of hope,
a lack of anything to say
More description of how crippling nihilism is.
I'm on my way down now,
I'd like to take you with me
I'm on my way down
I've looked ahead and saw a world that's dead
I guess that I am too
The world and himself have no future.
The minute that it's born
It begins to die
I'd love to just give in,
I'd love to live this lie

I'm on my way down now, I'd like to take
you with me...

The Reflecting God

So, we had our private moment of weakness in the previous song, and now we're back to business, continuing with the master plan that has already gotten out of our control. This is the song where everything falls apart.

The song is orchestrated in a very cinematic fashion. Throughout most of it, we see a contrast between the protagonist preaching an uplifting message of liberation and living life to the fullest, and succumbing to megalomania and violence. What was once a fight for destroying the old ways in order to make room for something better, had transformed to simply a fight for destruction. The protagonist succumbed to the thing that Nietzsche warned about in Beyond Good And Evil, that "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster", and finally, we reach the point of no return that the protagonist dreaded so much throughout the album.

Your world is an ashtray
We burn and coil like cigarettes
The more you cry your ashes turn to mud
It's the nature of the leeches,
The virgin's feeling cheated
You've only spent a second of your life
We begin with an uplifting message: if all you do is wallow in self-pity, you're making your life into mud- a very unpleasant thing to be in. This is how leeches live their life. Is that what you want to be?
The Antichrist had destroyed the old order, and now everybody's free. The virgin is feeling cheated because they saved themselves for marriage as God commanded, and now that the Antichrist destroyed those values turns out it was for nothing. You are free, and you still have your whole life ahead of you.
My world is unaffected
There is an exit here
I say it is and then it's true
There is a dream inside a dream
I'm wide awake the more I sleep
You'll understand when I'm dead
Now he is saying that you have the power to change your life and uses himself as an example. "There is an exit here" means a way out of the situation you are in. In his case, "I say it is and it's true", meaning he willed that escape to exist, and now his world is unaffected, which could be interpreted as the ultimate freedom which he created for himself.

I think the part about the exit also refers to the fact that the album is divided into three "cycles". Why cycles? Why not sections in a linear progression? Well, the first cycle was about weakness, and the second cycle was about fighting through self-doubt as he attempted to rise up, and maybe the idea is that these are all states with a positive feedback loop. You can get trapped in self-pity, and you can get trapped in self-doubt, and if you continue walking through the path these things create for you, you will not get through them, you'll just circle back and continue to have more of the same. So, a cycle cannot be escaped by submitting to its natural course, you can only escape it by going off path: creating an exit out of it and walking through it.

There is a dream inside a dream
I'm wide awake the more I sleep

One way to understand this section is that he is saying that everything is the opposite of what you thought it was, just like everything you thought about God turned out to be wrong. Sleeping more actually makes you less asleep, because the more you sleep the more you bring the internal dreams to conclusion, eventually unpacking all of them into full awakening.

It's also possible that this is a veiled reference back to the song Dried Up, Tied And Dead To The World. In that song, the protagonist is trapped in a state of rock bottom, being "dead to the world". The phrase "dead to the world" also happens to mean "sleeping very deeply", and the more the protagonist existed in this state (was asleep), the more it pushed him towards enlightened awakening.

You'll understand when I'm dead
Why will we understand when he is dead? He is talking about martyrdom. When Jesus died on the cross, it was like the final punchline to everything he was preaching, because acted out his destiny to its intended conclusion, and thus lived up to his role as the son of God, landing credence to the rest of his teachings. Likewise, the Antichrist is also on a path to martyrdom, and like Jesus, when he finally dies, that will be when people will really get his message.
I went to god just to see
And I was looking at me
Saw heaven and hell were lies
When I'm god everyone dies
Words of empowerment sang triumphantly to the sound of an uplifting chord progression. There's almost a celebratory quality to this section. I went to God just what he's all about, and discovered that I am God, and that all the fearmongering stories about heaven and hell that limited our freedom were actually lies. Now that I'm God... and here is where it suddenly gets ugly
[dies]/scar/can you feel my power?
Shoot here and the world gets smaller
Scar/scar/can you feel my power
One shot and the world gets smaller
The song suddenly becomes violent, and the lyrics become words of an abuse of power by a megalomaniac who seeks destruction.
Let's jump upon the sharp swords
And cut away our smiles
Without the threat of death
There's no reason to live at all
Back to being an empowering rebel. This part basically tells people to live on the edge of danger, because that's where you feel the most alive.
My world is unaffected
There is an exit here
I say it is and then it's true There is a dream inside a dream I'm wide awake the more I sleep
You'll understand when I'm dead

I went to god just to see
And I was looking at me
Saw heaven and hell were lies
When I'm god everyone dies

scar/can you feel my power?
Shoot here and the world gets smaller
Scar/scar/can you feel my power
One shot and the world gets smaller
Again, the uplifting chords and message, again taking a turn to violence and megalomania.
"Each thing I show you is a piece of my death""The further I go in my plan the closer it brings me to my demise".
No salvation, no forgiveness
"This is beyond your experience"
We've reached the most cinematic section of the song.
Here the song begins to crescendo. No salvation, no forgiveness is where we're at. We have reached peak monstrosity, and there's only one way it's going to end. As Manson repeats these words the song becomes increasingly noisier, as if it's about to come to a blow. A hint of desperation creeps into Manson's voice, and his chant of the merciless "no salvation, no forgiveness" suddenly turns to a cry for forgiveness. He sees the end of the line, and at the last moment he breaks down and yells for forgiveness himself. The level of noise reaches its peak, and suddenly
I went to god just to see
And I was looking at me
Saw heaven and hell were lies
When I'm god everyone dies
The song turns beautiful. I call this the flashback moment. It's that moment before your death where your life flashed before your eyes. We see the Antichrist as he was when his rebellion was healthy. It's pretty and uplifting, it's words of empowerment met by cheering fans. And then we go back to
Shoot, shoot, shoot motherfuckerViolence, aggressive distorted guitars, words of destruction. He reached his goals of destruction, and by doing so descended into nihilism and became a monster, and the human things he wished for when he was a worm can never be his anymore.

Man That You Fear

The final official song on the album. This is the mourning for the boy who died to create the Antichrist, and for everything else that was lost.

The ants are in the sugar
The muscles atrophied
We're on the other side
the screen is us and we're T.V.
"The ants are in the sugar" describe the idea that society has crumbled. Society is the fortress that humans erect against the wild nature that surrounds them. Nature wants to push in, humanity wants to keep it out, and it's an eternal battle. One common example of this battle is the tendency of ants to slip into people's homes in search for food, no matter how closed off people attempt to make their home against insects. Usually, whenever the ants break through, humans catch them and deal with them, so the fact that the ants are in the sugar suggests that now there's no one left to stop them, since the Antichrist just destroyed all of society.

Muscles atrophy is more description of the dying of everybody.

TV is where a manifestation of human drama happens. It's a form of hyper reality, because it is where we can project anything we're drawn to, and experience it without being involved in it ourselves, which is often a good thing, considering the kinds of things humans are drawn to. But now we have become the drama, and perhaps the reason why the screen has become us is because we superseded it in terms of drama. We have become a bigger tragedy than any manufactured tragedy we've been watching on TV. We have become the hyper reality, and therefore in comparison the TV is the regular reality.
Spread me open
Sticking to my pointy ribs are
All your infants in abortion cribs
A crib is where you place newborn infants, so the fact these are abortion cribs suggests that the infants are destined to being destroyed by those who brought them to this world.
I was born into this
Everything turns to shit
The boy that you loved is the man that you fear
Pray until you're number
Asleep from all your pain
Your apple has been rotting
Tomorrow's turned up dead
I have it all and I have no choice but to
I'll make everyone pay and you will see
You can kill yourself now
Because you're dead in my mind
The boy that you loved is the monster you fear
I have it all and I have no choice but to
Means he had inherited the circumstances that led him to pick this path.
Peel off all those eyes and crawl into the dark,
You've poisoned all of your children
to camouflage your scars
Pray unto the splinters, pray unto your fear
Pray your life was just a dream
The cut that never heals
Pray now baby, pray your life was just a dream
(I am so tangled in my sins that I cannot escape)

Pinch the head off, collapse me like a weed
Someone had to go this far
I was born into this
Everything turns to shit
The boy that you loved is the
man that you fear

Peel off all those eyes and crawl into the
dark, you've poisoned all of your children
to camouflage your scars
pray unto the splinters, pray unto your fear
pray your life was just a dream
the cut that never heals
pray now baby, pray your life was just a dream
the world in my hands, there's no one left to
hear you scream
There's no one left for you
When all of your wishes are granted,
many of your dreams will be destroyed
The song ends with a wall of dissonant noise. A guitar with a Wah pedal simulates a tormented cry. This is the death scene.

Track 99 - Empty Sounds of Hate

Although officially a 16-song album, the CD actually had 99 tracks. Tracks 17-98 were empty, lasting about 4 seconds each. Track 99 was a hidden noise track. Though it had no official name upon release, and to this day many streaming services are listing it simply as "Untitled", it is pretty much unofficially official that the track's name is Empty Sounds of Hate. Most people who encountered this name probably did so with the help of track metadata that was obtained automatically by music player programs that were popular in the 90s. However, there actually exists a rare vinyl release of Antichrist Superstar that lists the track as Empty Sounds of Hate, and even categorizes it under Cycle VIII: Prolog/Epilog.

Antichrist Superstar vinyl back, listing the hidden track as 'Empty Sounds of Hate'

The track acts as both epilog and prolog to the record. It is an epilog because it's at the end of the record. It's a prolog, because it ends with the phrase that begins the record, essentially making the story of the Antichrist Superstar cyclical. When one instance of it plays out to the end, another one begins in a different place and time.

The track's content consists of multiple layers:

  • A wall of noise that is actually the ending of Mister Superstar slowed down by 300%
  • Breathing sounds that sound like they are coming from a suit.
  • A distorted message that sounds like it is being relayed via radio communication with bad reception.
  • A male voice uttering strange syllables.

The male voice uttering strange syllables is based on a technique employed in the TV show Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks follows the story of agent Dale Cooper who investigates the murder of Laura Palmer, a local teenage girl. On multiple occasions, Dale Cooper dreams of a strange room with red velvet curtains where everything is surreal. One of the things that made the room feel surreal was the unnatural way the people in the room talked. This effect was created by recording the actors speaking the dialogue backwards, and then reversing the audio. The result was speech that was comprehensible, but sounded very unnatural. On this track, Manson is doing the same thing, except that he is just speaking backwards, without reversing the audio, hence the speech sounds incomprehensible. If you do reverse the audio, you can hear the actual words:

Are we [there are]
Are we all deaf if
Who was [there are] a star(f)
The one danger of us [there are]
The words [in square brackets] are like a second voice mixed in the main speech.

The content of the distorted message is transcribed below:

Go ahead and build a better messiah, we can dig another graveThis part is different from the rest of the speech. It's said with that angelic distorted voice that can be heard in select places on the album.

There is an idea in this phrase that society is incapable of stopping itself from trying to erect a messiah figure for itself. Even if it backfires on them again and again, they seem to think that this time it's going to succeed. So go ahead, try again, we all know how it's going to end. We can dig the grave for you for when it inevitably fails again.
This is you calling.
If you are hearing this, there is nothing I can do.
Something has grown in my chest, and I have seen it.
It is hard and cold.
It's been dormant for many years.
I have tried to save you, but I cannot come to save you, but this is what you deserve, this is what we deserve.
This is something that we have brought upon ourselves
We are not a victim, you are not a victim
We are not a victim, you are not a victim
God will grovel before me.
God will crawl at my feet.
And the time is this, and the times is
This is the distorted speech part. It is my belief that the idea for the track was inspired by the movie Prince of Darkness, which we know Manson enjoyed because he sampled it in the cover of Gary Newman's Down In The Park on the Lunchbox single.

In Prince of Darkness, a group of scientists is assembled to investigate a mysterious cylinder filled with green liquid. We later find out that this liquid is the physical manifestation of Satan himself, and that it wants to break free. While the researchers study the cylinder, they all experience the same dream that includes images, and a distorted message that sounds like it's broadcasted over radio with bad reception. The message claims that this dream is actually a broadcast from the future, sent back in time to warn humanity of the events that are about to unfold, so that they could take action to stop them. The event the message is talking about, is Satan breaking free of the cylinder.

Likewise, the message in Empty Sounds of Hate is of a similar nature. It's our protagonist, the antichrist, sending a message back in time to himself (this is you calling), warning himself of the events that transpired- warning about the rise of the antichrist, of what he had become.
When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you...these are the words from the beginning of the record, and the story begins again.


The album artwork makes multiple references to Tarot cards, Anton Szandor LaVey's Satanism, Tetragrammaton, and the album's lyrics and concepts.

Anton Szandor LaVey

The artwork in Antichrist Superstar makes multiple references to LaVey:

First, there's the red and black color scheme, which has become a sort of trademark of LaVey.

Anton Szandor LaVeyAnton Szandor LaVey's trademark red and black aesthetic
Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson immitating LaVey's red and black aesthetic

Then there's this image of Manson imitating LaVey's magazine appearance:

Manson mirroring one of LaVey's magazine photos

The Antichrist Superstar lightning bolt symbol on the slipcase is surrounded by the Hebrew word "Leviathan", which is used in the Church of Satan's Baphomet.

The Antichrist Superstar shock symbol vs the Satanic baphomet
The name Leviathan appearing both on LaVey's baphoment (left), Antichrist Superstar symbol (right)

...and finally, the mysterious Roman numerals that appear on the slipcase are in my opinion a reference to the Satanic Bible's statements. Granted, we could never know for sure, and there have been various theories about what the meaning of these numbers is, but I opt for the Satanic Bible explanation simply because they appear in the most LaVey inspired image in the entire artwork:

A LaVey inspired image with mysterious roman numerals
This image has the LaVey color scheme, the LaVey baphomet reference, and numbers that are <= 9 Satanic statements

The Satanic Bible statements that correspond to these numbers are:

  1. Satan is the best friend the church has ever had, as he has kept it in business all of these years.
  2. Satan represents responsibility to the responsible, instead of concern for psychic vampires.
  3. Satan represents undefiled wisdom, instead of hypocritical self-deceit.
  4. Satan represents man as just another animal, sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all-fours, who because of his "divine spiritual and intellectual development" has become the most vicious animal of all.

Alternate theories for IX VI III VII

For completeness, here are the other theories fans came up with regarding these numbers:

  • When you multiply them, you get 9 * 6 * 3 * 7 = 1134, which reads like "hell" when viewed upside down.
  • That they correspond to Tarot cards (III - The Empress, VI - The Lovers, VII - The Chariot, and IX - The Hermit).
    Since the Tarot makes multiple appearances in Manson's visual art (not just on Antichrist) this is a tempting interpretation. However, in my opinion this particular selection of Tarot cards doesn't seem to be thematically fitting with the album's concept.
  • There are some really convoluted numerological theories that I'm not going to bother listing here since they border on insanity

Heart, Mind, Complacent, Malice

The cardboard slipcase that comes with the CD depicts two representations of the protagonist, one inspired by Anton Szandor LaVey, and another by the lyrics, depicting the angel of destruction. The angel of destruction part contains a circle with the words Heart, Mind, Complacent, Malice surrounding it, which was a subject of debate for many years among fans.

The two covers of Antichrist Superstar side by side

In a 2013 interview, graphical designer P.R. Brown, who designed the Antichrist Superstar artwork, as well as covers for Manson's subsequent 3 albums, shed some light on the matter by revealing a surprising truth: this particular part of the artwork didn't actually come from Manson himself.

In the interview he reveals that when he heard of the opportunity to design Manson's album artwork, he realized that sending him a portfolio of his past work wasn't going to work, since he mostly designed Jazz albums up until that point. So, he spent a weekend designing fictitious album covers for made-up bands and sent that to Manson instead.

"Those words [heart, mind, complacent, and malice] were on one of the fake album covers I sent to Manson originally," he explains. "I picked opposing ideals and turned them into a symbolic compass of sorts: Heart is the opposite of mind, and complacency is the opposite of malice. Strangely enough, all of those things fit into the concept of the album. The exact graphic I used for the fake albums was used for the final package. I'm pretty sure that's why Manson hired me for the design."

One way this graphic can be interpreted in light of the numbering near the words is that we start with emotion (heart), which is overtaken and subdued by the mind, which creates a static world of certainty that leads to complacency, and the only way to break out of it is to mess it up with malice. Having eliminated the structure and order that kept the chaotic emotions at bay, we then return to the dynamics of heart. The compass dial seems to point us somewhere around the malice part, which is fitting for the album.

The structure of the heart, mind, complacent, and malice circle is repeated on the other side of the package around the Shock symbol:

The Heart Mind Complacent Malice circle next to the Shock logo

We can see that the position of the letters ל,ו,ת,ן correspond to the heart, mind, complacent, and malice words, while the letter י is where the circle is.


Begotten is a horror movie made by E. Elias Merhige. It is famous for having a very distinct monochromatic visual aesthetic, and Manson was such a huge fan of it that he literally showed it to the album's visual artist P.R. Brown and told him to make the artwork look like the movie.

Screenshots from Begotten
Begotten screenshot
Artwork from Antichrist Superstar
Antichrist Superstar monochromatic artwork
Antichrist Superstar monochromatic artwork


The Heirophant or The Temperance

On the front cover of the CD case itself there's a depiction of the Antichrist angel, which some have theorized to be a reference to the 14th Tarot card The Temperance:

Comparison between The Temperance Tarot card and the Antichrist angel

Undeniably, there are similarities: the wings, the arm positions, and also the leg position. At the same time, there are also some problems with this association:

  • Although none of the Tarot references in the Antichrist Superstar artwork recreate all the symbolism of the Tarot cards, in this case there's a bit too much key symbolism from the Temperance card that is missing from the Antichrist version. Aside from the pose of the angel literally nothing else is recreated.
  • The two windows that frame the angel are a prominent element of the image, and there's nothing like this in the Temperance card.
  • Manson's hands appear to contain an unmistakable reference to another Tarot card, which is much more strongly referenced in the album: The Hierophant.
Comparison between The Heirophant Tarot card and the Antichrist angel

As you can see, Manson is making the same gesture with his left hand as the Hierophant, and also the two windows on each side of the angel can be seen as a mirroring of the two pillars on each side of the Hierophant. The right hand is also bent, like in the Hierophant card, but the left hand is a bit of a problem, since it points in the opposite direction. This might be explained as an adaptation of the card to the nature of the Antichrist:

The finger gesture of the Hierophant is an ancient sign of blessing. It has two fingers pointing up, and two pointing down, symbolizing a bridge between heaven and earth. By pointing his hand down instead, this can be seen as forming a bridge between hell and earth.

The Devil

On the back of the CD case is another Tarot reference, this time of a more obvious nature:

Antichrist Superstar back vs. The Devil tarot card

A key element of The Devil tarot card is the fact that the two humans are chained to him, and this is reflected in the Antichrist Superstar artwork in a more obscene way: the two band members are "chained" to Manson via the tubes that connect to his dick.

Biblical references

Luke 10:18

The Antichrist Superstar lightning bolt symbol seem to be inspired at least in part by this biblical quote:

"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" - Jesus Christ

Isaiah 66:23-24

The following bible passage is printed under the lyrics for Deformography:

23. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

24. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

Tetragrammaton and Numerology

The Tetragrammaton is the four-letter Hebrew word יהוה, which is the sacred name of the God of Israel. The four letters, read from right to left, are 'yud', 'hei', 'vav' and 'hei'. While there is no official canonical way to pronounce it, it is generally accepted to be pronounced as "Yahweh". Some of the occult symbols in the Antichrist Superstar artwork are taken from Donald Tyson's occult manual TETRAGRAMMATON: THE SECRET TO EVOKING ANGELIC POWERS AND THE KEY TO THE APOCALYPSE. In that book, Tyson describes a series of symbols based on permutations of the tetragrammaton letters that corresponds to invoking or banishing various angels. The symbols are constructed by placing the letters of the tetragrammaton in a cross-like formation, and then tracing various paths between the letters.

Diagram for tetragrammaton symbols
A line can be traced on any of the black lines, until we visit all letters of the Tetragrammaton once

The Antichrist Superstar artwork contains symbols from that book and correlates them with various band members by referencing their numerological number, astrological sign, and/or the zodiac element of their astrological sign. The numerological number of a person is constructed by assigning numbers to letters, and then summing the letters in a person's name. There are various methods for assigning numbers to letters, and the one used on Antichrist Superstar seems to be the Chaldean system, which is arranged as follows:

  • 1 = A, Q, Y, I, J
  • 2 = B, R, K
  • 3 = G, C, L, S
  • 4 = D, M, T
  • 5 = E, H, N, X
  • 6 = U, V, W
  • 7 = O, Z
  • 8 = F, P

If the result of a summation is more than one digit, the digits of the result are also summed ("reduced"), until we get a single digit. An exception for this is the numbers 11, 22, and 33, which are considered special "master" numbers.

So, in the case of the band members we get:

  • Marilyn Manson
    • Numerological number: 4+1+2+1+3+1+5 + 4+1+5+3+7+5 = 17 + 34 = 1+7 + 3+4 = 8 + 7 = 15 = 1+5 = 6
    • Numerological number binary representation: 0110
    • Astrological sign: Capricorn ♑︎ (alternative symbol: ᵹ)
    • Zodiac element and its magical form: Earth ◻
  • Twiggy Ramirez
    • Numerological number: 4+6+1+3+3+1 + 2+1+4+1+2+5+7 = 18 + 22 = 1+8 + 2+2 = 9 + 4 = 13 = 1+3 = 4
    • Numerological number binary representation: 0100
    • Astrological sign: Gemini ♊︎
    • Zodiac element and its magical form: Air ◯
  • Madonna Wayne Gacy
    • Numerological number: 4+1+4+7+5+5+1 + 6+1+1+5+5 + 3+1+3+1 = 27 + 18 + 8 = 2+7 + 1+8 + 8 = 9 + 9 + 8 = 26 = 2+6 = 8
    • Numerological number binary representation: 1000
    • Astrological sign: Pisces ♓︎
    • Zodiac element and its magical form: Water ☾ (half-moon)

Symbol interpretation

All the symbols in Antichrist Superstar are for invoking angels (there are also symbols for banishing angels). All angels are of type "severity", sex female, and polarity moon. The symbols are constructed of the following sections:

Breakdown of the Antichrist Superstar symbols

The Hebrew numerals are:

  1. א
  2. ב
  3. ג
  4. ד
  5. ה
  6. ו
  7. ז
  8. ח
  9. ט
  10. י
  11. כ
  12. ל
  13. מ
  14. נ
  15. ס
  16. ע
  17. פ
  18. צ
  19. ק
  20. ר
  21. ש
  22. ת
  23. ך
  24. ם
  25. ן
  26. ף
  27. ץ
HIhV: Invoking Vabashiah
Sign: Capricorn
Element: Earth
Number: 6 (ו, 0110)
Bottom: nI:cV:bIV
Band member: Marilyn Manson
hVIH: Invoking Vamediah
Sign: Pisces
Element: Water
Number: 8 (ח, 1000)
Bottom: nVII:cX:bII
Band member: M.W. Gacy
VHhI: Invoking Hiviah
Sign: Gemini
Element: Air
Number: 4 (ד, 0100)
Bottom: nVIII:CV:bVIII
Band member: Twiggy Ramirez

So what is the point of these symbols? In his book on the Tetragrammaton Tyson mentions the legend of the Golem- a clay man created by Rabbi Loew. In order to bring the Golem to life, the Rabbi and his disciples provided the air, water, and fire elements. The Golem was earth. So, it's possible that the idea behind these symbols is a ritual in which Manson and two of his disciples provide the earth, water, and air elements in order to bring forth a creature of fire.

Beyond The Record

The Antichrist Superstar era was a very productive time for the band. In the following two years since the release of the album the band released their first tour documentary VHS (Dead To The World), an EP of remixes and live tracks called Remix & Repent, 3 singles, and produced 7 music videos, the most they had done in any other "era" since. During that time Manson also released his autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, and produced his first short film, a psychological thriller called Groupie.

Remix & Repent and Dead To The World

Both Remix & Repent, and the Dead To The World VHS, feature the same LaVey inspired red and black theme. Dead To The World in particular resembles the design of LaVey's early books on Satanism.

Left: Remix & Repent front. Right: Remix & Repent back.
Left: Dead To The World cover. Right: The Satanic Rituals by Anton Szandor LaVey cover
Dead To The World design similarity to The Satanic Rituals


A still from Groupie
A still from Groupie

Groupie was Manson's foray into cinema. It was filmed on a portable camera during a party at Manson's house, and it depicts a fan being tormented by Manson and other band members. According to Manson, a lot of the guests felt uncomfortable during the filming because they weren't sure if what they saw was genuine or acting.

Manson intended the full movie to be featured on Dead To The World, but Tony Ciulla, Manson's manager, urged him to shelve the movie, because he was worried that it will irreparably damage Manson's career. Very few people have reportedly seen the film, and it remained mostly shrouded in mystery. Still, an excerpt from the movie was featured in Dead To The World, a scene in which the fan is sitting on a chair crying and screaming as Manson taunts her offscreen and makes her recite "Jesus loves me because the bible tells me so".

Some of the mystery about the movie was lifted in 2021, when the actress who played the fan gave an interview describing how the movie came to be, and dispelling some rumors about it (such as the rumor that she was dead).

New stage name

Zim Zum playing live

During the album's recording sessions, the severe creative and personal differences between Daisy Berkowitz (the band's guitar player and co-founder) and the rest of the band reached an all-time high, forcing Berkowitz to resign. His replacement, Zim Zum, was the first member in the band's history who did not receive a stage name based on a female starlet and male serial killer (although it was discovered in retrospect that there are some people from this formula one can attach to the stage name). Instead, the name Zim Zum was derived from the Kabbalistic term Tzimtzum, a Hebrew word (צמצום) that means "contraction". It refers to an idea in Lurianic Kabbalah that God began the process of creation by contracting his infinite presence in order to create a vacant space where creation can take place.

Despite what is written in the album credits, Zim Zum did not participate in the recording of Irresponsible Hate Anthem, and is only credited on that song because it's supposedly a recording from the future.


Three original songs were released during the Antichrist Superstar era. These songs are Apple of Sodom, which made its debut on the soundtrack for David Lynch's movie Lost Highway (in which Manson and bassist Twiggy Ramirez had a short appearance), The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, which appeared on the soundtrack for Spawn, and also made into a single, and The Suck For Your Solution, an outtake from the Antichrist Superstar sessions that was released on the soundtrack for Howard Stern's film Private Parts.

Apple of Sodom

The Apple of Sodom is a fruit that grows in the biblical area of Sodom and Gomorrah (although it can also be found in a bunch of other areas across Asia and Africa). The plant it grows on is called Calotropis Procera, and the fruit it produces looks like a large and smooth apple, but instead of pulp it is filled with mostly air. In the center of the fruit is a small pod that runs through its core and contains a small quantity of fine silk. The sap of the fruit is toxic and extremely bitter. When the fruit is disturbed, it explodes in a puff, leaving only the silk pods and some remains from the shell.

This is a very hostile fruit that grew from the ashes of Sodom and Gomorrah, the legendary cities of sin that were destroyed by God. It represents the bitter, toxic, negative produce of that which is sinful, like a symbolic cautionary tale that out of sin only corrupt things can grow.

The song is about someone who made sacrifices to obtain stardom, and now in retrospect regrets the sacrifices and is bitter about them.


At the beginning of the song: "You'll never have me". Taken from the David Lynch movie Lost Highway.

I found the center of fruit is late
It is the center of truth today,
Cut the apple in two,
Oh, I pray it isn't true
The center of the Apple of Sodom is the only thing about the fruit that is valuable, surrounded by something mostly unpleasant and harsh, so it's like the nugget of gift that comes from harsh lessons. According to the verse, this gift is truth, but it had arrived late. Cut the apple in two = open the fruit to reveal this truth, and pray it isn't true because it's a very unpleasant truth.
I've got something you can never eatHe has the Apple of Sodom.
I drained my heart and burn my soul,
I trained the core to stop my growth,
I pray to die in space,
to cover me in snow
The song seems to be from the point of view of someone who is bitter and resentful for being given this truth after they willingly descended to hell. He drained his heart, burned his soul, stopped his growth (I think 'core' refers to core muscles, he willingly trained his core muscles to stunt his growth).

Space is a metaphor that is featured prominently in the follow up album Mechanical Animals, which explores the subject of stardom. In Mechanical Animals, space is a metaphor for Hollywood; it's where all the stars are, and it's cold and dead and empty. The word 'snow' in the last line is a slang for Cocaine, which is a drug Manson used often, and actress Rose McGowan, who was engaged to Manson for two years, even says it was a major factor in why she called off the relationship.

Taken together, he made all these heavy sacrifices to get to stardom and drown himself with Cocaine.
[I'm dying, I hope you're dying too]

Take this from me, (hate me, hate me,)
Take this from me, (hate me, hate me,)
From his place of resentment there's no hope for something better, so he can only hope others suffer as much as he does, and even offers the Apple of Sodom to them ('take this from me', then 'hate me [for giving it to them?]').
1, 2, 3, he is a speed bump mannequin,
1, 2, 3, he can't move just stand still,
1, 2, 3, he is a speed bump mannequin,
1, 2, 3, he can't move just stand still,

I've got something you can never eat
This section might be in reference to all the pressure that comes with being a star. Once you become a product of the entertainment industry, you transition from being a dynamic personality that is free to change, to someone who needs to stay the same to fill the niche that was carved for him by the industry, as if you've become a mannequin of yourself.

You also find yourself at the center of many different agendas (journalists, publicists, fans, executives, etc.), which is a lot of pressure coming at you from everywhere. This can be described as everybody "riding you", which would explain why he is a "speed bump" mannequin.

The Long Hard Road Out of Hell

This song is the story of Manson breaking away from religion in search for a better life. It's the most optimistic song in the Antichrist Superstar era because it's approaching the story with a self-compassionate attitude, rather than the negative and hostile attitude of the album. When you feel like you're stuck in hell you can either choose to sink into it and make war with it, or you can choose to be inspired by a better life and try to break out of it. Antichrist Superstar was the first option, this song is the second one.

The song's title is a reference to John Milton's poem Paradise Lost, wherein Satan says: "long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light".

I want to fly into your sun
Need faith to make me numb
Live like a teenage Christ
I'm a saint, got a date with suicide
I want to fly into your sun The sun represents a thing of positive awe. It is majestic, it feeds the world with light and nourishment, and it lives in the sky, the canvas for humanity's myths. It is also so massive and powerful we can never contain it within us. We can barely even look at it directly. Flying into it means certain death.
To fly into the sun means to lose yourself in something that's positive and bigger than yourself. From all the religious symbolism in this verse (and the rest of the song) we can surmise that the sun represents religion.

Need faith to make me numb It seems that what he's trying to do is medicate away the pain of life using religion.

Live like a teenage Christ We learn that the speaker is a teenager. In Christianity, Christ is the ultimate role model, so this is what the teenager is trying to live up to to fit in.

I'm a saint, got a date with suicide And yet there's something gloomy that comes along with the faith. "got a date with suicide" refers to martyrdom, which is one of the things that could make someone a saint, as it did in the case of Jesus Christ. This faith carries with it burdens that are quite unpleasant.

This verse reminds me of how Manson described his time in Heritage Christian school in his autobiography. Although he eventually grew to resent it, initially he wanted to fit in, and believed in what he was being taught. He even recounts a story in which he brought in a photo that his grandmother took on a flight, where it looked like there was an angel in the clouds. Manson says that he was excited to show the picture to his teacher because "I still believed everything they taught me about heaven and wanted to show them that my grandmother had seen it".
Believing in what he was being taught came with a cost, because a staple of the faith is its obsession with the end of the world, which scared young Manson quite a lot:

I was constantly haunted by dreams and worries about what would happen if I found out who the Antichrist was. Would I risk my life to save everyone else? What if I already had the mark of the beast somewhere on me—underneath my scalp or on my ass where I couldn't see it? What if the Antichrist was me?

This is the duality that we see expressed in the verse. On one hand, a desire to sink into it and fit in, and on another, being burdened by it in a pathological manner.
Oh Mary, Mary
To be this young is oh so scary
Mary, Mary
To be this young I'm oh so scared
I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell
Mary refers to Mary Magdalene. Mary was one of Jesus' favorite disciples. She witnessed Jesus' crucifixion, and also witnessed his resurrection, so she's been with him in life, death, and post death, which is why our teenage Christ in the song is choosing to confess to her. In fact, the whole song is written like a confession to Mary, because later on he keeps talking to "her".

The hell he is talking about is religion.
You never said forever, could ever hurt like thisWhat forever is he talking about? The religious forever- the afterlife. In this verse, the word afterlife does not literally refer to the afterlife, but is symbolic of the faith. He is saying that this way of life, the "do this to get an eternal afterlife in heaven" life, is painful.
Spin my way out of hell
There's nothing left of this soul to sell
Live fast and die fast too
How many times to do this for you?
Now he is talking about the present day. He "spun his way out of hell" by becoming a rock star, and drained himself in the process (there's nothing left of this soul to sell). The hyper life of a rock star (live fast and die fast too) is too much.

Then he asks, "How many times to do this for you?". Why is he saying that the rock star life listed above is something he is doing for "her"? For Mary, the religious icon? Because he is recognizing that if he wishes to leave religion behind him, making war with it is not leaving it. His life is still orbiting around it, even as he does everything he can do to reject it.
Mary, Mary
To be this young I'm oh so scared
I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell

You never said forever, could ever hurt like this

I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell

Long hard road, out of hell

I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell
Sell my soul for anything, anything but youThe conclusion: I'll sell my soul for anything except for you, Mary. Except for you, religion. He's saying that he's done talking about the subject.

The Suck for Your Solution

This song is about having repeated sexual interactions that are based on unhealthy motivations like wanting an ego boost, or soulless lust, rather than meaningful intimacy.

Your mouth is like a suicide
Talking like you never died
Automatic charisma
For your chemical mind
"Your mouth is like a suicide" is Manson's way of saying it's "to die for", because of how sexually amazing it is. Given this context "talking like you never died" probably refers to women's tendency to say things like "I've never done this before" to protect their image.

What she can do sexually with her mouth is the source of her charisma, and the mention of a chemical mind reinforces that we are dealing with hormonal lust.
I'll suffer for youAnd his lust for her is so strong he's willing to suffer to get her.
You're kissing me like benzocaine with your sleeping pill eyes
Melting me down and suck suck sucking my brain
She's like a drug to him. Benzocaine is a topical local anesthetic, so both drugs used in this verse are drugs that promote relaxation.
I'm gonna hate you tomorrow
Because you make me hate you today
The first instance of 'hate you' as what he'll feel towards her tomorrow, while the second instance of 'hate you' is what he does to her today.

Her seductiveness makes him do things to her of a nature that makes him feel disgusted with himself the morning after.
I can be the one that you believe in
I can be the liar in your bed
I'll be the suck for your solution
Tell me that your sex isn't dead
Your sex is dead
...and this is what she's getting out of the whole thing. Someone to idealize and bury herself in. Someone who'll tell her what she wants to hear. She wants to medicate her problems away with sex, and he's volunteering for the job.

He's willing to be all that, he just wants to know her sex isn't... dead? I'm not entirely sure how to interpret this line, though my guess is that 'dead' means something like 'empty and emotionless', which it might as well be if the passion it's built on is not interpersonal but rather about something between herself.
I've suffered for you
I've suffered for you
I've suffered for you since the day I was made
I am the center of your hate
I'm gonna be you tomorrow
Because you make me hate you today
I am the center of your hate He's at the center of her hate not because she directs her hate at him, but because he's a pawn in her melodrama with herself.
I'm gonna be you tomorrow This alteration from the previous verse seems to suggest that she hates herself too, because "I'm gonna hate you tomorrow" from the previous variation is replaced with "I'm gonna be you tomorrow".
I can be the one that you believe in
I can be the liar in your bed
I'll be the suck for your solution
Tell me that your sex isn't dead
Your sex is dead
All so tired
Desexed and jaded
Hopeless and soulless and bored of the thrill
This sexual encounter is just one of many similar encounters, and although it was thrilling at first, it's a thrill that's meaningless and unsatisfying in the long run, and he's becoming burned out of it.
We make our death/sex/symbol
When we can't fuck then we kill

I've suffered for you
I've suffered for you
I've suffered for you since the day I was made
The death/sex combination is a staple of Manson. It's one of the earliest philosophical concepts he introduced into the band, as can be seen by his (and early band members) stage names, which are all combinations of a serial killer (like Charles Manson) and a female starlet (like Marilyn Monroe).

What it is, is an ineffable amalgamation of two powerful concepts which he considers to be America's greatest obsessions, and thus a representation of American culture. This part of the song is just a repetition of this idea.

Music Videos

The Beautiful People

The video for The Beautiful People depicts a fascist society where the weak are subjugated and tortured, while the beautiful ones, who are represented by the tall figures, get to be beautiful because they stand on the shoulders of those who aren't.


In the Tourniquet video, Manson is seen living in a filthy apartment, accompanied by twisted creatures made from pieces of his own body and other attachments. Eventually, some of his projects grow into the band members, and Manson undergoes a transformation to become one of them and join them. He and the members are then seen in space suits, in a much nicer apartment, floating around as if that apartment is in space.

This is roughly a retelling of Manson's rise to fame. He started at the bottom, created the band from his essence (as is the case with anything an artist creates), transformed himself, and lifted himself and the band to stardom, represented in the video by being astronauts living in space. The idea of representing Hollywood as space would later be a key metaphor in the follow up album Mechanical Animals.


The Cryptorchid video was done in the style of the movie Begotten, by the director of Begotten. It incorporates scenes from the movie itself, as well as some new footage shot for the music video.

The movie has a rather esoteric plot, however, given how disconnected the images are from the movie's narrative, I think that the intent was to reinterpret them for the Cryptorchid video, and thus diving into the plot shouldn't be necessary. Suffice to say that the music video follows similar themes to those of Begotten. In Begotten, the majority of the plot focuses on the naked, dirt covered man and a group of mysterious robed figures who kidnap and torment him, and this is mostly what we see in the music video too. In the movie, the naked man undergoes multiple cycles of death and rebirth, and there's a similar theme in the music video, because after the man is killed by the robed figures, the video ends with a shot of him rising again. Aside from these pointers, I don't think any more guidance needs to be provided. Like the original movie, this music video is designed to be an abstract experience, and really anything you see in it is fair game. With that said, here are a few additional tidbits:

The scene of Manson spilling his guts out, or rather- disemboweling himself- mirrors the beginning of Begotten, which opens with a scene of a man disemboweling himself. In the movie credits, this man is described as "God Killing Himself", which is essentially what we see playing out in the story of the album.

At the moment where the song switches into the "prick your finger" chant, which represents the moment when the Antichrist is born, we see this image:

Water hydra in the Cryptorchid music video

The creature shown here is a water hydra. This ties in with the lyrics for the song Antichrist Superstar, which reprises the "prick your finger" lyric, and also contains the line "I am the hydra" in the chorus.

Man That You Fear

The music video for Man That You Fear is a retelling of Shirley Jackson's short story The Lottery. It's about a small town which observes an annual rite known as "the lottery", in which a member of the community is selected by chance. The shocking consequence of being selected in the lottery is revealed only at the end: whoever draws the winning slip, gets stoned to death by the rest of the town.

The story was originally published in the June 26, 1948, issue of The New Yorker, and was highly controversial. Many readers of The New Yorker cancelled their subscriptions in protest, and a lot of hate mail was received both by The New Yorker and Shirley Jackson herself.

The Man That You Fear music video follows the general plot of Jackson's story. A lottery is performed, Manson wins the lottery, and is stoned to death by the townsfolk. Unlike the original story, there's an entire segment between winning the lottery and claiming the reward that wasn't in the original story: Manson preparing for the event, and marching with the townsfolk to the location of the execution. These additions to the plot draw comparison to the story of Jesus Christ. There's the scene in which Manson's wife washes his feet, just like Mary Magdalene did to Jesus, and on his way to the stoning, Manson falls down, just as Jesus did on the way to the crucifixion.

Left: Manson's wife washes his feet in the Man That You Fear music video.            Right: A painting of Mary Magdalene washing Jesus' feetLeft: Manson falling on the way to the stoning in Man That You Fear music video.            Right: A painting of Jesus falling a second time on the way to the crucifixion

One of the themes of Jackson's story is the folly of blind tradition. In the story, it is clear that the lotter is an incredibly old tradition; so old that some of its details and background have been forgotten, and its original equipment either missing or replaced. The rumors that some towns elected to cancel the lottery altogether bring exasperation to the town elder Old Man Warner, who is quick to warn that such foolishness will bring nothing but trouble, and point out that "there's always been a lottery". However, the details of why the lottery is important or beneficial are unclear from his speech, suggesting that there isn't really much reason to the practice aside from the idea that tradition for tradition's sake is what keeps society going. Put another way, the denizens of the town aren't doing the lottery out of evil, but for a tradition whose meaning they have long forgotten.

Similar undertones are also present in the Man That You Fear music video. When the town begins its march to the place of execution, we see a man in a wheelchair being pushed along by someone. Clearly, this is a town in which people take care of their sick and elderly. In another scene, there's a little girl that dons the head of a black horse. In the bible, a white horse represents death, and a black horse also represents death, but with the addition of evil and destructive characteristics. So, the fact that an innocent child is revealed in the end as the wearer of such a symbol of death and evil suggests that the townsfolks are oblivious to the nature of the symbol, which allows them to relegate it to a child's amusement.

Left: One of the townsfolk pushing an elderly woman in a wheel chair            Middle: Little girl with black horse mask            Right: Little girl without black horse mask

Outside of the biblical context, horses have also been used as symbols for freedom, strength/virility, and war. This also happens to be a fitting set of descriptors for the United States, the powerful land of the free with a propensity to go to war, and fittingly the music video makes sure to display it alongside the American flag.

Black horse head with an American flag

When Manson exits the trailer that he lives in, we can see a black flamingo on the left. This is a reference to the John Waters movie Pink Flamingos, in which the story's protagonist lives in a trailer decorated by pink flamingos.

Long Hard Road Out of Hell

Apple of Sodom

Antichrist Superstar

The Antichrist Superstar video was another music video created in collaboration with the director of Begotten, and it too recreates its famous monochromatic aesthetic. Like the Cryptorchid video, it contains some footage from Begotten, but this time it takes a back seat to the many clips of fascist rallies and military footage incorporated in the video. The idea was to mirror the fascist nature of the song itself, which represents a point in the story where the Antichrist arrives and imposes a new order on the world.

Manson wasn't entirely happy with the result, saying that he wasn't sure it did justice to the concept of the song, but even more appalled was the record label, which refused to release it. On June 19, 2010, the video was finally leaked to YouTube in its entirety.

The custom footage shot for the video includes Manson giving a speech on a podium with the Shock symbol. The podium is a common feature of the live performance of the song, where the stage is decorated in Antichrist Superstar flavored fascist themes, and Manson does the entire performance from a podium.

Manson giving a speech from a podium in the Antichrist Superstar music videoManson performing the song Antichrist Superstar live from a podium

At one point in the video, Manson's face is juxtaposed with the image of a swarm of flies, creating the impression that they are covering his face. A similar image would later be used in the music video for the song Disposable Teens, off of the album Holy Wood.

Manson's head in Antichrist Superstar music videoManson's head with flies in Antichrist Superstar music videoManson's head with flies in Disposable Teens music video
Left and center: Antichrist Superstar, right: Disposable Teens