Then: I'm slightly ashamed to admit it, but I was a huge Marilyn Manson fan for a while. I went and saw him live in 1998, the show at the Great Western Forum where he twisted his ankle and stopped the show after 6 songs, I dubbed my own tapes with all the tracks from The Spooky Kids, the original incarnation of the group. I lost interest around the new millennium, but Marilyn's first three albums were huge for me for a time.
Now: After giving this another spin, I'm surprised that Trent Reznor didn't produce more guitar-oriented rock albums, because he's really quite good at it. The production on Portrait is crystal-clean, the bass and guitar are big and meaty, and it's an anomaly in both Reznor and Manson's respective oeuvre that was never really visited again; both band and producer abandoned guitar rock for the more well-known industrial of "Closer" and "The Beautiful People" pretty soon after. Marilyn displays a humor on this first album that he pretty much gave up on after this as well; everything from Antichrist Superstar on is dour and humorless, whereas buried among the swearing and purposely shocking turns of phrase on Portrait, he allows himself to have a little fun. If you just want a good beefy mid '90s slice of rock, you could do worse than Portrait of an American Family. Way, way worse.