THE MANIC STREET PREACHERS released a third album in 1994 seething with savagely uncompromised ideas on prostitution, anorexia, suicide and the Holocaust, just as Britpop’s cocaine-fuelled party arrived – on the very same day (August 29), indeed, as Oasis’s Definitely Maybe. Disgusted at their own self-mainstreaming on ’93’s Gold Against The Soul, they’d recorded not, at their label’s behest, in Barbados, but in Cardiff. Even at two decades’ distance, its fabulously dry, staccato grooves make you feel like you’re being machine-gunned. Of Walking Abortion recalls Killing Joke.
Lyrics were chiefly penned by guitarist Richey Edwards, who, spiralling into alcoholism and self-harm, disappeared in February ’95.
The Holy Bible is such a pure and unflinching statement, its three bonus discs, including a ‘fatter’ US mix, a December ’94 live set (Richie’s swansong), and even a cover of The Faces’ Stay With Me, feel conversely dissolute. For those four-week sessions, however, the Manics were Britain’s only ’90s punk band worth a damn.
Listen to the expanded edition in full below.