I think we can all agree that the heyday of shock rock is over.
In the era of the internet, with some seriously demented stuff just a click away, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie – the co-headlining acts of this weekend’s Twins of Evil, the Second Coming tour – are hardly boogeymen. It would be much more accurate to call them elder statesmen in a genre that’s sorely lacking in fresh blood.
Manson himself once sang, “Rock is deader than dead/The shock is all in your head.” That being the case, how is it that these aging artists performing at one of the largest venues in the region? It’s possible that the absence of any heirs apparent has contributed to their enduring careers. It could also be a nostalgic appeal. But maybe, just maybe some people might actually like their new stuff.
Zombie has recreated himself as a filmmaker, flexing his directing muscles on "House of 1000 Corpses," its sequel "The Devil’s Rejects" and a remake of the renowned horror film "Halloween." Manson has also taken to acting with bit parts on the biker drama "Sons of Anarchy" and the supernational horror series "Salem." The Antichrist Superstar also paints, but he has been doing that for years.
Most notably, Manson and Zombie continue to release new material that is typically well-received. And while it’s unlikely either artist will ever top their most acclaimed albums – Antichrist Superstar and Hellbilly Deluxe – their new music preserves its relevance, if only because there are so few other options for fans of heavy rock.
Manson’s last two albums were his most celebrated work since the late ‘90s. The Pale Emperor in 2015 showcased a softer, bluesier side of the shock rocker, and 2017’s Heaven Upside Down saw Manson reverting to his hard rock roots. Neither were a return to form exactly, but they marked a rebirth of sorts: a testimony to the Mephistopheles of Los Angeles and his enduring significance.
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Zombie’s latest musical endeavors have been well received too. But Zombie, unlike Manson, has withstood the test of time at least partially due to his willingness not to take himself too seriously. He writes B-movies, reimagines classic rock songs with a heavy-metal bent and writes songs about intercourse inside of UFOs.
Exaggerated theatrics play a big part of how both showmen present themselves. They fall into similar categories while retaining their own specific flavors. Between the two of them, if nothing else, Saturday’s show should be plenty entertaining, even if the enigmatic Manson doesn’t bring his A-game.
Also, fire and zombies tend to be a lot of fun. And Saturday’s show should feature plenty of both.
Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Deadly Apples are scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. (doors open) on August 18 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion 2005 Lake Robbins. For more information, call 713-693-8600 or visit livenation.com, $25-99.50