26 October 2013

Manic Street Preachers - The Holy Bible

Another entry into the Manics themed blogs that we;re running with, I got this one. My first choice was actually "Generation Terrorists" on the basis that is the only MSP album I've heard (Before this one. I've yet to hear other Manics albums. Not sure I'd want to as they seemed to get boring once they got into their "Top Shop" phase), but that was already selected. I'd heard this album was incredibly angry so I thought I'd give it a listen. And is it an incredibly angry album?

Oh yes. How angry?

Very. I'll get to the anger in a minute, but first - a bit of backstory...

This is the third Manics album, recorded and released in 1994. It sees the band mark a return to their roots of being an angry little punk band. "Gold Against The Soul" was too 'stadium rock', apparently - I've never heard it but a quick scoot around the interwebz shows that's what a few reviewers at the time reckoned. This album was the last to feature Richey Edwards who disappeared in 1995 and is - at the time of doing this blog - still missing, although it's presumed he committed suicide. It's a well-documented case and one could argue that this album is a window into the fellows mind at the time - and it doesn't look good. Plagued by depression, alcoholism, self harm and eating disorders, he even had a stint in The Priory (The detox place, not the shit TV Show) before the tour that promoted this album. It was also commented by band members that his contribution at the recording sessions was to get drunk, cry then fall asleep. Mind, Edwards wrote the vast majority of the lyrics for this album and they're incredibly bleak. The music itself it very stripped down with a harsh, raw production, reminiscent of early punk albums, maybe even post-punk! But, it's perfect and compliments the lyrics perfectly. One of the songs off this album ('Faster') actually caused a bit of a kick-off when the band performed it on Top Of The Pops (A really shit UK music show which would play the Top 10) as the singer, James Dean Bradfield, wore a SAS mask with his first name written on it and the rest of the band wore military fatigues. Not sure exactly how or why that caused a furoe, but there you go.

When I first started listening I didn;t think I'd like it as the first two songs are in my opinion, nothing special. Mind, "ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart" is a fucking great song title! Once we get to 'Of Walking Abortion' then it all kicks off, big style. Everything between that song and PCP (The final track) is a goddamn fucking masterpiece and a work of art. 'Archives Of Pain' is possibly my favourite song off the album - it sounds like the sound of a mental breakdown (Which I guess it was, kind of...). '4st 7lbs', 'She Is Suffering', 'Archives Of Pain'...all of them. I cannot find the words. It's a shame that I missed out on this album at the time, mind I probably would've hated it as I was listening to Sepultura, Pantera, Biohazard and stuff like that back in '94. It's also a shame that we'll never find out what happened to Mr Edwards as one thing is for sure: When he left the Manics, everything that made them great - the fury, the fire, the passion, the anger, the bite, the venom, the balls the sense of urgency in their music - all left with him. Not bad for a guy who was practically miming when he strapped on a guitar,

9/10 - Almost perfect. Almost...

You can buy this album on iTunes.

Buy on Amazon

(For some reason, probably legal, Youtube won't let us post the official videos for any Manics songs off this album so here is the aforementioned TOTP performance of 'Faster').

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