The album's title is a combination of the concept of the Antichrist with the title of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The influence of the latter can also be seen in the song "Angel with the Scabbed Wings", which features a riff strongly reminiscent of a portion of the Jesus Christ Superstar score.
The album is considered a concept album. In a three part storyline, an abused and apathetic person (represented by "The Worm") becomes an influential celebrity and finally is transformed into the powerful "Disintegrator". In an issue of Kerrang! magazine edited by Manson, he stated that the album was a tribute to—and inspired by—the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Much of the album content is deliberately vague, allowing listeners to draw independent conclusions.
Many of the album's riffs are based around the notes of a diminished pentatonic minor scale. This scale in D runs D E F G Ab, and is a staple of metal songwriting, being preferred due to its dark tone (this comes from its combination of a minor key and the inclusion of the tri-tone Devil's Interval, the interval brought to rock in the main riff of the song "Black Sabbath", and banned in the middle ages for its supposedly demonic qualities). The Devil's Interval can be heard in the first ten chord-strikes of "The Beautiful People". Other songs built around the diminished pentatonic minor include "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" and "Little Horn".
It has elaborate packaging, consisting of a black cardstock sleeve covering the plastic jewel case with graphics of Manson on both the front and back, the latter of which is flanked by the red Superstar Shock logo and the roman numerals IX, VI, III and VII. The booklet contains pictures of the band, a visual worm-to-angel metamorphosis, medical diagrams, printed lyrics to each song, and liner notes including traditional thanks and credits as well as a curious entry found under the lyrics to the song "Irresponsible Hate Anthem", stating it was recorded live on February 14, 1997, despite the album being released well before that in October 1996.
Also, found on the front of the album cover is a circle surrounded by the words Heart, Mind, Complacent, and Malice. If you fold the booklet just right you can also find the hidden words Heart, Mind, Complacent, and Malice made up of folding the words Heaven/Comfort, Minister/Fiend, Complaisant/Magnificent and Master/Lice respectively. The booklet also makes reference to Revelation chapter twelve, verses one through five, in the Bible.
The album is cyclical, as both opening and closing seconds include the distorted phrase "When you are suffering, know that I have betrayed you." The names of the two latter cycles seem to be referencing two films by avant garde filmmaker and Satanist Kenneth Anger: Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Lucifer Rising.
* Marilyn Manson — all voices, and pan flute
* Daisy Berkowitz — lead and rhythm guitar
* Twiggy Ramirez — lead and rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, bass
* Madonna Wayne Gacy — all keyboards, loops, and other original pieces of 16-bit audio information
* Ginger Fish — live drums, programming
* Robin Finck — live (guest guitar), additional keyboards (uncredited again, however Manson confirmed his work on the album)
* Zim Zum — live guitar on the tour for Antichrist Superstar
* Trent Reznor — producer, editing, mixing, Mellotron, guitar, Rhodes piano
* Sean Beavan — producer, engineer, editing, mixing, guitar, guitar synthesizer
* Danny Lohner — guitar
* Chris Vrenna — drums, programming, engineer, editing
* Dave Ogilvie — producer, programming, engineer, editing, mixing
* Brian Pollack — production assistant, assistant engineer
* Tom Baker — mastering
* P.R. Brown — digital illustration, design
* Dean Karr — photography
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|Angel with the Scabbed Wings||0||0|
|Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World||0||0|
|Irresponsible Hate Anthem||0||0|
|Man That You Fear||0||0|
|Minute of Decay||0||0|
|The Beautiful People||0||0|
|The Reflecting God||0||0|