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Marilyn Manson/Slayer 

Tuesday, July 31, at the Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, the Flats.

After a four-year absence, Marilyn Manson returned with the single "Heart-Shaped Glasses," the video of which shows the pale, lanky dude porking his barely legal girlfriend in a rain of blood. It's the kind of sensational, headline-hungry imagery that has always prevented critics from taking Manson seriously as a musician. But he deserves to be.

Beavis and Butt-Head types, like me, still grunt along to the "da-da-da-da-DA" riff from 1996's totally kick-ass single, "The Beautiful People." We also recall chortling for days at his white plastic boobs. Remember those?

But we're not the only ones declaring, "This guy rules!" There exist many others, including discriminating hard-rock aficionados like Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction, Trent Reznor, and Henry Rollins.

Manson's latest tour finds him paired with an unlikely mate, though both have used the word "Antichrist" in song titles. The nü-metal godfather is on the road with Slayer, the undisputed kings of old-school metal, whose fans have no patience for anything that's not full-throttle thrash.

Slayer guitarist Kerry King regularly slaughters metal's sacred cows, verbally laying to whaleshit headbanger icons from Megadeth to Metallica. So surely he has some hilariously venomous barbs for Manson, the fur-stole-wearing vampire-boy who's as responsible for the Hot Topic aesthetic as anybody else in the business.

But actually, King says Manson is pretty cool. "People ask me how I think this tour is going to go, and it depends what Manson brings to the party," he explains. "He could play a set from Holy Wood on, or mix it up and hit the whole audience. We [just saw the band] at a festival. Four songs in, they played the song I wanted to see, 'Irresponsible Hate Anthem.' And I'm like, 'Cool, I can leave now.'"

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