The Holy Bible


In case you think this is a rant or a post about religion, then its not!! Please read on…This is a blog post about an album of music and art all in one. A musical album which was released in August 1994 and is one of my favourite albums of all time. The band come from Blackwood in Wales (UK). The band are called Manic Street Preachers. “The Holy Bible” is a masterpiece and is my favourite album by them. It was their third album, following “Generation Terrorists” and “Gold Against The Soul” into the UK charts and imprinting a certain darkness on the music scene. The album was the last to feature lyricist and guitarist Richey James Edwards while we knew he was here. 7 months after this album was released, Richey James Edwards disappeared and has never been seen since. However his legacy and genius will live on, mainly through this album “The Holy Bible”, but also through his contribution to further Manic Street Preachers albums “Everything Must Go” and “Lipstick Traces.” These albums contains some lyrics and ideas from Richey, as the other 3 band members decided to continue despite Richey’s departure. Life for Manic Street Preachers has gone full circle again though, with the release of the latest album, “Journal For Plague Lovers.” This album was released two weeks ago, and is the final contribution from Richey to the Manic Street Preachers. All the lyrics on it were left by him from around the Holy Bible era. You could box the two albums together and play them together and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. We look today at part one of that set, “THE HOLY BIBLE.”



When picking up the album itself, it looks rather scary. Using Russian letters and a scary painting of an obese woman, the white covered album gives you the impression that the music will be rough, dark, powerful and perhaps mellow. It isn’t mellow, but it is very dark, depressing, powerful and informative. I say informative because the lyrics mean something, they serve as a history to the world. Discussing issues such as poverty, rape, communism, the holocaust, anorexia, alcoholism and racism in America, I found myself gaining knowledge and history as I went. Lyrics of intelligence and meaning.In between songs and at the start of songs there are also many quotes from famous people. These serve as further bleak moments in an album to bring sombre smiles and to make cheerful people realise life isn’t always fun for everyone. The first track “Yes” discusses prostituion, citing that “everything is for sale” and that in some societies the male is preferred to the female or vice versa as this cruel line specifies, “he’s a boy, you want a girl so tear off his cock…call him Rita if you want.” By the end of the song we have already witnessed solitude as the song fades out on the lyric “these sunless afternoons I can’t find myself.” We are already lost and intrigued by this album. Lyrics like this do not appear anywhere else in my record collection. In the second song “If white america told the truth for one day its world would fall apart” we enter the USA, Cuba and even Nicaragua. The world tour takes us to the White House where Richey ponders the impact of race “vital stats – how white was their skin”, sex comes into it as well “a pimp fucked a priest”, and even “Zapruder – was the first to masturbate.” I recently drew a comparison with “Peeled Apples” from current album “Journal For Plague Lovers” based mainly on the mention of the word “apple” and the impact of both songs as instant. Another spooky thing about this song is the vocal reciting the song name over the actual song itself. Listen carefully and try not to be moved, as James Dean Bradfield cuts it out by mentioning the gun and the fact that “Sam Colt made him equal.” By the time the horror of “Of Walking Abortion” has hit us, we know the Manic Street Preachers are detailing dark times here. Fascist is mentioned vividly the hanging of Mussolini, and the screening of Hungarian leader Horthy are drawn upon in a life where we are responsible, or more directly scream the band “whos responsible? you fucking are.” An interesting end to the track which brings us to radio friendly “She Is Suffering.”



Even this song has us intrigued by its weirdness. Nothing here is normal for your ears. The album is so different to any other album in the UK at that time. There is no happy attitude like “Parklife” from Blur, “Girl From Mars” by Ash or “Slide Away” from Oasis. This is dark. When you hear the base beat of “Archives of Pain” you’re in for a real shock on how gruesome the world is. Coupled with the other song “The Intense Humming Of Evil” these songs detail Russia and Germany, World War 2, the horrors of Jewish extermination, concentration camps and obvious killers. Listen to them and catch the lyrics. A dark bleak one here is “a drained white body hanging from the gallows is more righteous than Hindley’s crotchet lectures.” This is serving as a history of crime as well. You need to research the music before getting up to dance or singing it in work. By the time Russian communism is mixed with modes of sex in the sixth song Revol, you are already in love with the genius here. The song “Revol” itself was somehow a single. Probably the only single in world history to mention Lenin, Che Guevara, Napoleon and Pol Pot all in one. A photo of the deceased Lenin accompanys the scary lyrics in the album sleeve. Revol itself means nothing, it is lover backwards or short for revolution. The music is art and it works though.



Anorexia sufferers will bang on the song that mentions Twiggy and Kate Moss, itself being weighed in its own title, four stone seven pounds. If an adult was really that light, it would almost die.The song is sombre, downbeat and was once performed acoustically for MTV. A true gem to mention taboo-ish subject on commercial TV. The closing line has us all staring into space at our belly buttons, or even our willies for some reason “I’ve finally come to understand life through staring blankly at my navel.” Indeed. This is genius beyond itself. I bet even Richey finds it hard to decipher what exactly he meant. The ruff and rugged “Mausoleum” dangles itself in yet more world history and horror before we are met by track 9, the epic first single, “Faster”, a true representation comercially of how such an album can reach the masses. In a bizarre chorus line we believe that the author is “stronger than Mensa” and by the end of the song we realise how bleak and sad life really is, “man kills everything.” Seriously powerful this band and this album. This song played live gives a raw edge to a happy clappy crowd of “Everything Must Go” lovers. You need your balance though and the Nicky Wire written song “This Is Yesterday” is the Manic Street Preachers at their melancholy best. The song a total night time classic against an ageing sky. “I stare at the sky and it leaves me blind. I close my eyes and this is yesterday.” Even if it isn’t you sometimes imagine it is. I love it. A mellow calm song in amongst all this Nazi, political and sexual references. For balance its needed, especially before a song about death itself. Perhaps Richey penned this around the same time as “William’s Last words” as both songs seem to draw on death, suicide and disappearance. I myself am nobody to shy away from suicide. Even people with money and a good life can get suicidal and sad. It comes down to Maslow’s heirarchy of needs sometimes. People who have nothing can be happier than people with everything. Richey James Edwards had the money from his musical career and celebrity status. He didn’t seem to have happiness however, and the lyrics show this melancholia. “my heart shrinks to barely a pulse” and “i want to die in the summertime” are surely lyrics you wouldn’t find Britney Spears dancing to. Perhaps the reality hits you here. This is life, whether you like it or not, this is real life. Don’t be shy about death or your problems. Face it. In an era where Kurt Cobain wrote “i’m so happy cos today i found my friends they’re in my head” then you know you shouldn’t fake a smile.



After this, two tracks fade the album out having given us a total lesson and lecture on life. I remember the first time I bought this album, I played it constantly for weeks. I never got bored of it and I always wanted to learn more and interpret the lyrics again and again. I still play it loads. Lengthy track “The Intense Humming Of Evil” mentions Nazi Germany and the jewish concentration camps. This darkness is echoed in the music, pipes of horrir appear over a scary guitar riff. Even the drum beat sounds like a walking skeleton who “never mattered” and was “bled to a machine” in places such as Dacchau or Auswitz during Hitler’s regime. An image of the concentration camp message “Arbeit Macht Frei” displays the brutal irony of it all. Even if you don’t speak German/Deutsch you should know that work doesn’t make you free. A comparison with the ensuing single (albeit not until April 1996) can be seen where the line “then work came and made us free” sneaks into the number 2 single “A Design For Life.” Intentionally that album varies, for the darkness of the Holy Bible has to be condemned to the history books. You hardly even notice the A-side track “PCP” at the album’s end. Its probably the least emphatic track on it, and I’m not even going to guess what “PCP” stands for. Its so bizarre to even consider. As is the whole album. It is a total masterpiece. I urge you to buy it.



2004 saw the 10 year anniversary of this album and a special edition was released then, including USA remixes and a DVD of some performances at the time, the most vivacious of which was an appearance on Top of The Pops to play top ten hit single Faster. The band used fire on stage and wore balaclavas in military style. At a time when the IRA were still bombing Northern Ireland and England, it was perhaps not a great idea. The performance of the song though is excellent and the appearance received the most amount of complaints ever in the history of the now dead Top of The Pops. All in all, I just wanted to pay homage to a great album, one which has helped me through depression and continues to do so. It is amazing that the latest album “Journal For Plague Lovers” resembles the bleak, dark vibe that “The Holy Bible” brought about. The Manic Street Preachers are truly back to their best and the genius of Richey James Edwards will never be forgotten. Here’s some facts about the album, followed by some videos and other bits and pieces…


1. YES – LIVE AT GLASTONBURY 1994



Band – Manic Street Preachers


Album – The Holy Bible


Release Date – 30th August 1994


Tracks – Yes. If White America Told The Truth For One Day Its World Would Fall Apart. Of Walking Abortion. She Is Suffering. Archives of Pain. Revol. 4st 7lb. Mausoleum. Faster. This Is Yesterday. Die In The Summertime. The Intense Humming Of Evil. PCP.


Singles – Faster/PCP. She Is Suffering. Revol.


2. IF WHITE AMERICA TOLD THE TRUTH FOR ONE DAY ITS WORLD WOULD FALL APART



3. OF WALKING ABORTION – LIVE



10th Anniversary edition track listing


CD 1: Digitally Re-mastered Original Album + Live Tracks
“Yes” – 5:00
“Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart” – 3:39
“Of Walking Abortion” – 4:01
“She Is Suffering” – 4:43
“Archives of Pain” – 5:29
“Revol” – 3:04
“4st 7lb” – 5:05
“Mausoleum” – 4:12
“Faster” – 3:55
“This Is Yesterday” – 3:57
“Die in the Summertime” – 3:05
“The Intense Humming of Evil” – 6:12
“P.C.P.” – 3:58
“The Intense Humming of Evil” – Live – 4:58
“4st 7lb” – Live – 4:44
“Yes” – Live – 4:30
“Of Walking Abortion” – Live – 3:47


4. SHE IS SUFFERING – VIDEO



CD 2: US mix of album/Demos & Radio Sessions
“Yes” – 5:19
“Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart” – 3:43
“Of Walking Abortion” – 4:07
“She Is Suffering” – 4:57
“Archives of Pain” – 5:30
“Revol” – 3:05
“4st 7lb” – 5:10
“Mausoleum” – 4:13
“Faster” – 3:53
“This Is Yesterday” – 3:58
“Die in the Summertime” – 3:07
“The Intense Humming of Evil” – 6:14
“P.C.P.” – 3:57
“Die in the Summertime” – Demo – 2:26
“Mausoleum” – Demo – 3:29
“Of Walking Abortion” – Radio1 Evening Session – 3:39
“She Is Suffering” – Radio1 Evening Session – 4:25
Yes” – Radio1 Evening Session – 4:40


5. ARCHIVES OF PAIN – LIVE AT READING



6. REVOL – VIDEO



7. 4ST 7LB



DVD
“Faster” – Top Of The Pops
“Faster” – Butt Naked
“P.C.P.” – Butt Naked
“She Is Suffering” – Butt Naked
“4st 7lb” – MTV Most Wanted
“She Is Suffering” – MTV Most Wanted
“Faster” – Glastonbury ’94
“P.C.P.” – Glastonbury ’94
“Yes” – Glastonbury ’94
“Revol” – Reading ’94
“Faster” – US Video
“Judge Yr’self” – Video
“Yes” – New film (made by Patrick Jones)
“Band Interview” (30mins)


8. MAUSOLEUM



Singles


“Faster/P.C.P.” (June 6, 1994) – #16
“Revol” (August 1, 1994) – #22
“She Is Suffering” (October 3, 1994) – #25




9. FASTER – LIVE ON TOTP (many complaints)



10. THIS IS YESTERDAY – LIVE AT GLASTONBURY 2003



11. DIE IN THE SUMMERTIME – LIVE AT GLASTONBURY



12. THE INTENSE HUMMING OF EVIL – LIVE (work is good for the soul)



13. PCP – LIVE AT GLASTONBURY 1994



THE SONG THAT CAME LATER, IN 2003…JUDGE Y’RSELF:

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