Friday, August 29, 2014

the holy bible

The Manic Street Preachers brought the pain from purgatory's circle and recognized truth in acedia's blackest hole.  The Welsh group had made a name for themselves with their earnest and ambitious double album debut 'Generation Terrorists'; but the overly produced followup 'Gold Against The Soul' was considered a compromise of their beliefs.  Eschewing the luxurious Outside Studios where they recorded their second album, the band decided to record their third in the spartan Sound Space Studios in Cardiff, Wales.  The sessions for 'The Holy Bible' featured James Dean Bradfield on lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, and production;  Richey Edwards (Richey James) on rhythm guitar, sleeve design, and production;   Nicky Wire on bass guitar and production;  and Sean Moore on drums and production.  All of lyrics were written by Edwards and Nicky Wire, while all of the music was composed by James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore.

Edwards would recount:  "We started writing it last summer; some of the early songs were written quite a while ago. I think it was a difficult time for everybody really. Especially the way we did it; going to Cardiff every day, I picked everybody up in the morning and we went down and then we went back home. We just kept concentrating on the words, trying to get them like we wanted. Trying to make them better. I don't think it's being a perfectionist, I just think it's trying to hone it down, do it properly. There was lots of things happening outside the band, personally. But I think it's our most complete album, by a long way...Nick had lots going on in his personal life at the time as well. I'm on my own, I'm very selfish. 'Self disgust is self-obsession' - that's the truest line on there, probably...I don't think we've ever made happy records. Maybe we've had uplifting moments, but I don't think lyrically we've ever been particularly joyous. Right from the start. I know what people think about me. But if you look at our lyrics, they've developed and got better, but thematically they're pretty much the same; what's going on in mine and Nick's head...I would like to be able to write, 'I'm feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic', but I just can't do it. I think that it's a brilliant lyric, but whatever ability that is, I haven't got the ability to write that line. I don't feel that way, you know. The last time I felt supersonic was when I was about ten years old, I expect...At the same time, there's lots of bands with angst-ridden lyrics, and I just really can't believe most of them, because they seem so happy when they're singing them on stage. It's like, this is what you're supposed to do. Whatever you think about our lyrics, at least they're true ... The way religions choose to speak their truth to the public has always been to beat them down. I think that if a Holy Bible is true, it should be about the way the world is and that's what I think my lyrics are about. The album doesn't pretend things don't exist."

Wire calls the album "gothic with a small 'g'. It's not Cranes, but it is quite a morbid album. We've rejected our past in a lot of ways with this album. There's a bit of early Joy Division on it, and a few PiL basslines...Last year we visited Dachau, Belsen and the Peace Museum at Hiroshima, and those places had quite an intense influence on us, and on the whole album. Dachau is such an evil, quiet place. There's no grass, and you don't even see a worm, let alone any birds. All you can hear is this humming of nothing."

During the recording of 'The Holy Bible', Edwards was challenged by depression, anorexia, self-mutilation, and alcohol abuse.  During a tour in Thailand, he cut his chest with a knife before a show and had to be hopitalized.  After the album was released, he checked into a psychiatric hospital and then a private rehab clinic:   "If you're hopelessly depressed like I was, then dressing up is just the ultimate escape. When I was young I just wanted to be noticed. Nothing could excite me except attention so I'd dress up as much as I could. Outrage and boredom just go hand in hand ... Gets to a point where you really can't operate any more as a human being – you can't get out of bed, you can't...make yourself a cup of coffee without something going badly wrong or your body's too weak to walk."

The band continued to promote the new album without Edwards and, when he was finished, they did a tour with him that ended in a show at the London Astoria where Edwards initiated the smashing of equipment and stage lighting at the end of their set.  Wire remembers:  "From Thailand to the smashing up of the Astoria, it was hospitalization, no money, drudgery, hateful, miserable, awful.  It felt like Richey was drifting away. I'd just lost him. Couldn't talk about rugby or cricket or football. He'd call you up at strange times about some documentary he'd just seen or something he'd tracked down. It was hard work, it was baffling at times. He was finding it really hard to sleep. When people talk about the wounds or the blood, the only real tragedy is when you lose someone kinetically, someone you've known since he was five, you've done all those things with and you feel you can't communicate. It was terrible. But in the last three weeks, there was a serene calmness to Richey, he was laughing more, the pathos and the irony were back. Maybe that's because he had reached some conclusions and he just felt some inner peace. We did a recording session and came up with some great tracks. So the Daily Telegraph and the Mars bar, I just saw it as a little 'Things are going to be OK'. Which maybe, in his mind, that's what it was.  But different meanings of OK, I guess."

On February 1, 1995 Edwards disappeared just before a US promotional tour.  His car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge two weeks later, leading to speculation that he had committed suicide.  His body has not been found, and, despite reports of sightings around the world, he was declared legally dead thirteen years later.  

'The Holy Bible' only charted at number fifty in Japan and six in the UK; but it has gone on to sell over six hundred thousand copies.  The harrowing personal and political lyrical reflections have led many to consider it the darkest album of all time.

'Faster' performance on Top of the Pops that was controversial for Bradford's military style mask

Manic Street Preachers - Faster (Live on Top of... by marshare


'She Is Suffering'

'The Holy Bible' 
full album:  US mix

1. "Yes" 5:19
2. "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforoneda­yit'sworldwouldfallapart" 3:43
3. "Of Walking Abortion" 4:07
4. "She Is Suffering" 4:57
5. "Archives of Pain" 5:30
6. "Revol" 3:05
7. "4st 7lb" 5:10
8. "Mausoleum" 4:13
9. "Faster" 3:53
10. "This Is Yesterday" 3:58
11. "Die in the Summertime" 3:07
12. "The Intense Humming of Evil" 6:14
13. "P.C.P" 3:57
14. "Die in the Summertime" (demo) 2:26
15. "Mausoleum" (demo) 3:29
16. "Of Walking Abortion" (Radio 1 Evening Session) 3:39
17. "She Is Suffering" (Radio 1 Evening Session) 4:25
18. "Yes" (Radio 1 Evening Session) 4:40

live at the Astoria in 1994
'You Love Us'

0:00 P.C.P. 
3:40 From Where To Despair 
6:54 Faster 
10:27 She Is Suffering 
14:48 La Tristesse Durera 
18:42 Slash N' Burn 
22:16 Motorcycle Emptiness 
28:03 New Art Riot 
31:02 Life Becoming A Landslide 
34:56 Revol 
37:41 4st 7lb 
42:35 This Is Yesterday 
45:23 Motown Junk

No comments:

Post a Comment