The Holy BibleManic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers’ acclaimed third album ‘The Holy Bible’ consists of fast paced, heavy music and dark lyrics. Occasional rhythm guitarist Richey Edwards wrote insane lyrics and that mixed with haunting guitars created an album that truly reflects human nature. It isn’t elegant but that is what makes it so effective. Each track is a poetic masterpiece in itself. The opener ‘Yes’, which is the highlight of the album for me, compares Richey’s life to that of a prostitute and describes the feeling of being cheapened by exploiting your mental health and coping through self-abuse. Being the opening track, it sets the tone for what is a journey into the cruelty of humanity. ‘Ifwhiteamerica...’, mostly written by bassist Nicky Wire, discusses American consumerism and how images of a perfect country contrast with violence and racism. The media’s glorification of serial killers is highlighted in ‘Archives of Pain’ and evokes controversy through its seemingly pro death penalty stance. ‘4st 7lb’ consists of a harrowing tale of a girl who suffering from anorexia and believes that, by starving herself, she is degrading into a purer and better state; this is reflected in Edwards’ own struggle with anorexia. ‘Faster’ examines how Richey lived his life amongst a judgemental society, who did not understand him. The chugging drums in ‘The Intense Humming of Evil’ mirror the train tracks of victims being sent to concentration camps in the Holocaust. ‘Die in the Summertime’ is an intense track reflecting how the narrator wants to die in their youth, the prime of their life (Richey Edwards went missing at the age of 27). It is hard to talk about ‘The Holy Bible’ without mentioning Richey’s disappearance in 1995. Some say ‘The Holy Bible’ is, in a way, a last will and testament for a man who was spiralling into oblivion and couldn’t live with the world around him. His disappearance only makes the album more upsetting to listen to. The music itself, written by drummer Sean Moore and vocalist/guitarist James Dean Bradfield, accentuates the narrative behind the lyrics. Paranoia-filled, intense guitars, a heavy bass and chugging drums perfectly capture Richey’s vision and genius. The audio samples featured in some tracks (such as ‘Yes’ and ‘Mausoleum’) only add to the soul-stirring atmosphere, each fitting the tone of the track flawlessly. It’s unsettling, cruel, heavy, brutal and, at times, difficult to listen to (‘4st 7lb’ for example) but that is what makes this album so perfect. Racism, the death penalty, the Holocaust, anorexia, suicide, prostitution and political correctness are just a few of the topics discussed in just 56 minutes and 17 seconds. Nothing is off limits. This is the greatest album of all time.