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Book Review: Marilyn Manson By Perou: 21 Years In Hell

Release Date: June 9th, 2020

When you’re invited into Marilyn Manson’s world, you have to brace yourself for the chaos, destruction, and blood that comes with it. UK photographer Perou didn’t realize what he was signing up for when he first met Manson in 1998. What started as a routine assignment led to 21 years of capturing the violence, debauchery, and turmoil that is Manson’s world. The two look back on their work together in the new photography book Marilyn Manson by Perou: 21 Years in Hell.

For Marilyn Manson, image is as important as the music. Manson always knows how to shock, disturb, and disrupt with his ever-changing appearance. Similar to David Bowie, he’s a rock n’ roll chameleon, transforming himself into different beings and creatures. This is beautifully captured in the book. We see Manson’s various looks – from the outlandish to the subtle – from throughout his career. Perou’s work shows the vibrancy and glamour of Mechanical Animals, the Gothic allure of Eat Me, Drink Me, and the brutality of Holy Wood. Fans are treated to a collection of unreleased photos from past magazine shoots, along with some of Manson’s most iconic images. Perou’s keen eye matched with Manson’s expression make fantastic results ranging from daring and beautiful to the grotesque – themes Manson knows quite well.

Marilyn Manson
Photo by Perou
Marilyn Manson
Photo by Perou

The book also gives us a rare look at Manson behind the scenes. There are images taken from music video shoots and spontaneous, raw shots of the rocker off and on stage. Photos from past and recent tours provide a snapshot of the intensity, adrenaline, and magnitude of a Marilyn Manson show. There’s something amazing about seeing thousands of faces staring back at the rocker. It’s something you don’t realize when you’re in the mosh pit. Perou also shares candid pictures, like Manson recovering after a show, joking around backstage, or enjoying a rare day off. These photos invite us into Manson’s different worlds: the brash, take-no-prisoners rocker who commands the stage, and the man we rarely see once the show is over.

Along with the photos, Manson and Perou provide commentary throughout the book. With how honest, open, and playful they are, it feels like you’re eavesdropping on two old friends. They share stories about photoshoots, how they met, and their adventures on tour. Manson even opens up on personal topics, like his divorce from Dita Von Teese, how Columbine made him question quitting music, and past insecurities. Their commentary is not only fun, it provides rare insight on a side of Manson we don’t often see. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of the book.

Marilyn Manson by Perou: 21 Years in Hell is a gorgeous retrospective of Perou’s work and Manson’s career as a visual artist. Flipping through two decades of photos, we see how Manson has evolved throughout the years. The photos also show what a daring, thought-provoking artist who never shies away from controversy and is constantly pushing boundaries. Filled with iconic and rare images, it’s a stunning collection fans will love. It’s a fantastic celebration of the beauty, ugliness, violence that make up Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson by Perou: 21 Years in Hell is available now.

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Marilyn Manson by Perou: 21 Years in Hell
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Ashley Perez Hollingsworth

Ashley Perez is a freelance music journalist based in Chicago. Her work has appeared on AXS, Chicago Innerview, New City, The Millions, and Illinois Entertainer. She also runs her own music blog at Radio Not Found. Some of her favorite bands include Nirvana, The Cure, Muse, Creeper, and Green Day.

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