The Holy Bible
unregistered, on october 27, 2003 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: Rock/Indie, post-punk, political and in your face. // 10
Lyrics: Lyrics are all political for the manic street preachers as any fans will know! This album takes on more of the lyrical genius of Richey James, (the rhythm guitarist who would go missing soon after this album released) and his problems of malicious self-harm and anorexia, as well as the usual paranoid-neurotic things of the manics.
Much better lyrics than 'Generation Terrorists' (debut album) by their heartfelt and close-to-home nature. All are good lyrics apart from the nonsence of 'Revol'. // 10
Overall Impression: In comparison to 'Generation Terrorists' it is a more unhappy, depressed album both lyrically and musically, mainly due to the fact that Richey himself was a miserable person.
When I bought this, about 10 years (lol) after its release, for you see i was very little at the time of release, it was something completely new to me. I had never heard such a fiery band with so much to say. I related to the lyrics and the songs so much.
The most impressive songs on this album are probably all of them, but I would pick out, 4st 7lbs, a song about anorexia.. P.C.P, which is an amazing fiery song.. and well every song except 'revol' which is probably the only weak point in an absolutely amazing album.
I love the whole album to pieces and hate nopthing about it, except for the fact that there aren't any more hours in the day to listen to it in!!
If it was stolen I would straight away buy it again, no matter what.
It's definitely worth buying, if you're into a bit of rocky music with lots of fire, speed, and much post-punk agression which is also a bit political, GO FOR IT!!! // 10
The Holy Bible
Ian_Curtis, on july 26, 2004 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound of this album is surprisingly excellent. With Richey James' incredibly disturbing lyrics, James Dean Bradfield translates them superby and turns them into absolutely great gothic tunes. The greatest part of the sound is James Dean Bradfield's guitar; in this album he gets it completely right, he knows exactly what time to put in a solo here or there and get it the right length as well as knowing when to do the hard rock rhythm aswell. It depicts the theme of the album brilliantly. Stand out tracks for sound are: 'Of Walking Abortion', 'Archives Of Pain' and the incredible 'Faster'. 5 out of 5 for sound. // 10
Lyrics: Well, how do I sum up the lyrics of the most disturbing and bleak album to ever grace the world of music? I'll try and give it a shot. It is well known that shortly after this album Richey James disappeared, and still hasn't been found, and presumed dead. This therefore means that Richey James felt exactly what he wrote, which makes him one dark fucked-up individual. Let me briefly summarise the tracks if you will. The opener, 'Yes' is an exceptional set of lyrics based on the theme of a prostitute, and the lyric 'I hurt myself to get pain out' could be a case for the best lyrics for this album.
The third, 'Of Walking Abortion' is a deeply political song with the title used as a metaphor to explain that we are alienated. 'Archives Of Pain' is a truly demented song which is explaining a history of serial killers. '4st 7lb' is probably the most disturbing track on the album, a song about anorexia, but I find more disturbing because Richey James was actuall anorexic whilst writing this song.
'Mausoleum' is another cracker, and the lyric 'No birds - No birds - the sky is swollen black' is just brilliant. 'Faster' is also excellent; no words are wasted in this song as they all are used to great effect. 'Die In The Summertime' is a more personal number stressing how Richey's childhood was so much more fun than it is now. The only disappointment lyrically is 'The Intense Humming Of Evil' Which is scary as hell musically but doesn't quite match up lyrically. Quite obviously, this is the best album lyrically by a mile. So 5 out of 5 for lyrics. // 10
Overall Impression: As the lyrics section was so incredibly long I decided to comment on James Dean Bradfield's voice here. I think often on this album the reviews talk about how great Richey James' lyrics are, but not even recognition on the voice of James Dean Bradfield. The voice isn't incredible but it isn't meant to be; James Bradfield tries to make it as distorted as possible to match with the dark theme of the album. I also credit James Dean Bradfield with the vocal cartwheels he had to endure due to Richey James' abstractly structured lyrics. He manged this terrifically.
Well, I have said pretty much all I wanted above, but this is the most bleak, depressing dark album ever - there is no doubt about that. (People who are thinking Joy Division-Closer are wrong.) Personally this is my favourite album, but for many it won't be because they cannot take the bottle to listen to all of it - mainly because it is so dark. But this is reality - life mostly is dark, life is mostly depressing. The Manics have taken the reality of life to the extreme, and boy has it made an effect on me and so many other people. This album changed my life, it could well change yours too. Don't knock it until you endure it. // 10
The Holy Bible
unregistered, on june 30, 2005 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: Excellent. 'nuff said. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are a collaboration between Richie Edwards and Nicky Wire, and tend to follow in the vein of Richie's depression. A lot of the songs are disturbing, but the most disturbing song would have to be 4st7lbs - a song about anorexia. Richie was suffering from this at the time. This is, sadly, the last album featuring Edwards. He went missing a few weeks after its release, presumed dead. James Dean Bradfield handles the difficult lyrics very well, and his voice definitely suits their message. // 10
Overall Impression: This is one of very few albums I bought purely on recommendation that I like. I'm stupid, and so a lot of things I've bought on recommendation, such as New Found Glory, Bon Jovi, Deftones and Pixies. None of these agreed with me at all. Not saying that they're bad, I just don't like them. The Holy Bible, however, really is one of my favourites of all time (along with Grace by Jeff Buckely, Ten by Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine and Dirt by Alice In Chains). It just doesn't leave my CD Player, (or more accurately, the 'now playing list' on Windows Media Player). Hey! I'm listening to it right this second! // 10
The Holy Bible
unregistered, on february 14, 2007 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The guitars are raw much like the overall sound, it is very stripped back which was achieved by the band recording in a small studio in Cardiff's red light district. After trying to be Guns n Roses and doing everything on an epic scale the band went to the other extreme, James Dean Bradfield booked them into a tiny studio in Cardiff and the album was recorded with a distinctly underproduced sound in order to give it, its raw and bleak sound. Richie James, the Manic's talismanic guitarist was battling a lot of personal demons at the time, and his dark lyrics reflected this, he gave them to James who (as seen on the dvd) thought 'F--king Hell, how am I supposed to write music for something like that?" The spoken word samples at the start of some tracks add a sense of menace and brooding that is found throughout the album. It is a bleak soundscape that provided the soundtrack to Richie James depression and eventual disappearance/suicide. // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics are dark and disturbed from the outset. Penned by Richie James as he battled against depression, alcoholism, and anorexia it was never going to be a cheerful album. Opener Yes deals with prostitution but in a wider sense it is merely a commentary on how everything in today's world has it's price. The second track Ifwhiteamerica, deals with racism in America as well as alluding to censorship. Of Walking Abortion and She is Suffering are great tracks, Archives of Pain is about the cruelty at the centre of the human race, emphasised by it's chorus; a list of serial killers from history. Revol is often cited by critics as the weak point on the album and lyrically at least it does not have the impact of many of the other songs on the album. 4st. 7lbs. is a masterpiece. It is Richie's account of his anorexia told through the eyes of a young girl, it is a dark lyric that gets across well both the deterioration of the girl in the song (or Richie in real life if you translate the meaning) and also seems to convey the obsessive compulsive, almost desperate need that anorexics feel to just get that bit slimmer. This is far and away one of the two best songs on the album. Mausoleum is possibly one of the bleakest songs ever written, it seems to deal with human cruelty again like Archives of Pain although in subtler terms.
Track Nine (were you keeping count? ) is entitled Faster. It is the album's stand-out track. It deals with Richie's depression, the song is about self-hatred and it is along with Love Will Tear Us Apart one of the rawest songs you're likely to hear. James Dean Bradfield's voice is almost inhuman on the opening verse and it retains some of that quality throughout the song. "Self-disgust is self-obsession honey and I do as I please" is possibly the key lyric on the album. Richie's recognition and statement that self-disgust is just as much self-obsession as any other kind of vanity. Die in the Summertime and This is Yesterday follow faster, and as the two songs on the album primarily written by Nicky Wire rather than Richie they offer a slight respite from the onslaught. Die in the Summertime almost seems to represent life as a cycle, always in motion and never staying the same, This is Yesterday almost seems to be a belated apology from Wire for not being able to save Richie from his demons. This is highlighted by the second verse "Someone somewhere soon will take care of you, I repent, I'm sorry, everything is falling apart." The Intense Humming of Evil is the penultimate track and brims with barely concealed menace. It is in no uncertain terms about the horrors of the holocaust, just another example of human cruelty, recurring theme throughout the album. The final track P.C.P. is a high energy punk rock song, it careers along highlighting the hypocrisy of modern society at large and provides a fitting end to this album. // 10
Overall Impression: This album is, quite honestly, one of the best ever made. With it the Manics reached depths they'd never got to before and never would again. Richie James' lyrics highlight the worst humanity does to itself and to others. With his disappearance, and likely suicide (sorry conspiracy theorists) the Manics had to completely change their attitude. For their next album, which received widespread acclaim and had more chart success they became a softer band. The Holy Bible was in reality Richie's last will and testament if not, his extended suicide note. The most obvious comparisons are to Closer (Joy Division) and In Utero (Nirvana). The former matches The Holy Bible for despair, desperation and ultimately for it's honesty, both albums were written by men (Ian Curtis & Richie James) who were feeling exactly what they wrote, and both men would unfortunately take their own lives. In Utero matches The Holy Bible for it's sheer, blistering punk energy, both albums are raw documents, nothing is there that wasn't needed. With Kurt Cobain also succumbing to his demons, the biggest tragedy from a music lovers point of view is that we will never know how good they could have been. Though both In Utero and Closer can match aspects of The Holy Bible neither can match it's overall quality. The most impressive songs on the album are Faster, which is the album's key track, 4st 7lbs, Richie's account of anorexia, and personally Yes and P.C.P. just for their sheer pace and energy. If this were stolen or I lost it I would definitely buy it again, specifically the 10th anniversary edition, for the extra dvd, if not the American mix, which I didn't think that much of. Lists in music seem to be commonplace, with Q Mag having one at least every other month, however next time you see a list of the hundred greatest albums being publicised, just remember that they're all battling out for number two, The Holy Bible is the greatest album ever made. // 10