Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Holy Bible (album)
|The Holy Bible|
|LP by Manic Street Preachers|
|Recorded||Soundspace studios , Cardiff|
|Length||50 min 09 sec|
|Record label||Epic Records|
|Q||4 stars out of 5||link|
|Allmusic.com||4 ½ stars out of 5||link|
|Manic Street Preachers Chronology|
|Gold Against the Soul|
|The Holy Bible|
|Everything Must Go|
The Holy Bible is the third studio album by the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers. It was released on August 30 1994 by Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Records. Their two previous albums had been released by Sony Records on the Columbia Records imprint. It was the band's final album before the disappearance of their lyricist Richey James Edwards on February 1 1995.
The first single from the album, "Faster", was released on June 6 and peaked at #16 on the British singles chart. A performance on the BBC's Top Of The Pops resulted in over 25,000 complaints, due to lead singer/guitarist James Dean Bradfield wearing an IRA-style balaclava as the band had adopted a military image, a la The Clash's Combat Rock-era style.
More than just merely an image change, the bands military fatigues represented a change of attitude and new found intensity that was to leave it's mark on the recording of the album, with James reguarly working in the studio for thirteen hours a day. As well as the recording it self, the period of creativity that ultimately resulted in The Holy Biblewas equally intense. According to interviews conducted with the band members years later, ultimately when the dust had settled on the album and so was easier to understand, Richey was constantly writing during this period as well as reading five books a week, accounting for the numerous obscure references found on the album.
James was also hardworking and very driven when writing the music for the album, with "Faster" requiring approximately thirty six rewrites over a period of three weeks to end up with the final version which, in James words, was "strickening, like parrallel lines with the lyrics".
The videos for the songs three singles, "Faster", "Revol" and "She Is Suffering" (there was no video made for "P.C.P." which was a double A-side with "Faster") also featured the band wearing army and navy uniforms, reflective of the fact that at the time of the writing and recording of the album, lyricist Richey James Edwards was fascinated with Francis Ford Coppola's 1978 Vietnam war movie Apocalypse Now. The band have said since that the reason for this was because they had lost a lot of focus during the Gold Against The Soul era and felt that having a unified, militant image would bring them together again.
The album was recorded at Soundspace Studios, a cheap (£50 a day!) facility in Cardiff, Wales usually used to record demos. It was produced by the band with assistance from little known producer Mark Freegard , whose previous work included The Breeders 1993 album Last Splash. The overall sound of the album is dense but not overproduced. Many tracks begin or end with a spoken word sample and there is increased use of flanger effects on the guitar tracks.
While the lyric writing on previous albums was split fairly evenly between Richey Edwards and the band's bass player and co-lyricist Nicky Wire (Real name: Nicholas Jones ), Wire has said in interviews that Edwards wrote about 70% of the lyrics on The Holy Bible.
Edwards' lyrics took on a poetic nature: Sylvia Plath was one his heroes, and the melodies are highly unusual. Single words are strectched to fill a whole line and some entire sentences are sung very quickly, almost rendering them unintelligible. Many of the songs contain obscure religious, political and literary references. The album also embraced various philosophical mindsets including nihilism ("I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing") and misanthropy ("All I preach is extinction").
Amazingly, on this album Edwards wrote about big weighty themes, such as the Holocaust, in a very ambiguous style that is almost Stream of consciousness. All of the songs do have a meaning, but many lines do appear to be unconnected slogans, proverbs and phrases as well as many highly poetic descriptions.
For example, in the song "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart" (itself a famous quote by Lenny Bruce), the lines "Vital stats, how white was their skin, unimportant just another inner city drive-by thing" are followed by "Morning, Fine, serves your first coffee of the day, real privilege it will take your problems all away." On the surface these lines would appear to be unconnected, but in the wider context of the song it is an attack on the indifference of America's predominantly white, rich classes to the poor living in urban slums. There are many more instances of this abstract and indirect approach to song writing in many of the album's songs, making the lyrics a jigsaw puzzle for the reader/listener to decipher.
"Comfort Comes", a B-side from the previous album Gold Against the Soul, is generally regarded to be the first Manics track to feature the production style and sound of the tracks appearing on The Holy Bible. In interviews Nicky Wire has also said of the track "Judge Yr'Self", released in 2003 on the B-sides collection Lipstick Traces, to be "very Holy Bible. It's the way Richey wanted us to go, very aggressive and automated, not that Richey had a clue musically."
The Holy Bible is regarded by most critics and fans to be the band's most uncompromising album, and indeed as one of the more introspective, dark and impenetrable albums in rock history. It was compared to Nirvana's 1993 album In Utero in almost every review, no coincidence as Edwards had been listening to that album as well as Cranes at the time. The others had been listening to Cranes, Joy Division and David Bowie's Low and Heroes, both considered to be among his most uncommercial work. The Holy Bible is also considered by many fans to be their best album, while the majority of critics appear to prefer their fourth album Everything Must Go.
The album cover is a painting called Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face) by artist Jenny Saville. Underneath the painting is the tracklisting and above it is the band name and album title, all in a style of writing plagiarised from Simple Minds' Empires And Dance album. The back cover features a photo of the band in military uniforms and a quote taken from Octave Mirbeau's book The Torture Garden . Of the album title, Edwards said "In every hotel in the world, the only constant is the Holy Bible."
10th Anniversary Edition
The second CD was the version of The Holy Bible that had been released in America. It had been re-mixed by Tom Lord Alge , who would go on to mix recordings by Marilyn Manson amongst others and is radically different from the UK version on Disc 1. Nicky said of the remix that "it does beef it up quite a bit actually, gives it a bit of American savvy". Sure enough, the US mix sounds more like a rock album than the more uncommercial post-punk sound of the British mix.
The DVD features a 30 minute interview with the band, the Manics playing "Faster" on Top of the Pops as well as an acoustic performance for MTV's Most Wanted. It also includes live performances from the Glastonbury and Reading festivals, 3 tracks from TV show Butt Naked, the American video for "Faster", a new film for "Yes" and the "Judge Yr'Self" video previously only available as a video stream from the band's official website.
- "Of Walking Abortion"
- "She Is Suffering", (October 3 1994)
- "Archives Of Pain"
- "Revol", (August 1 1994)
- "4st 7lbs"
- "Faster ", double A-Side single with "P.C.P." (June 6 1994)
- "This Is Yesterday"
- "Die In The Summertime"
- "The Intense Humming Of Evil"
- "P.C.P. ", double A-Side single with "Faster" (June 6 1994)
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