Hailed in the UK as worthy rivals, and often the superiors, of Oasis and Blur during the 90's Britpop boom, Manic Street Preachers saw their momentum stumble and stateside potential wither away when troubled guitarist/lyricist/designer Richey Edwards pulled one of rock's most enigmatic vanishing acts in early '95. Their American label then hastily cancelled the US debut of what remains one of the decade's most urgent, riveting albums. This 10th anniversary edition goes a long way towards redressing that error, offering up a now-ironic, three disc "deluxe" package including the original UK album, its heretofore unreleased American edition (featuring a punched-up, mostly successful remix by Tom Lord Alge), and a collection of demos, live cuts and BBC radio sessions. The bonus DVD is filled with television and live performances of some of the album's key tracks (including blistering takes of "Faster" and "Yes"), videos and a full half-hour interview with the band. Edwards' uncompromising, often politically damning lyrics recall a more oblique, artistically accomplished take on the passions of London Calling era Clash, yet tumbling from the sweet, muscular pipes of James Bradfield they bristle with an energy and melodic pop verve that often belies their acid nature. One of post-alt rock's greatest achievements, and an album that sounds more like ten minutes old than ten years-plus. --Jerry McCulley
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STILL BRILLIANT A DECADE LATER
Coleen | Down in the alley | 03/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Easily one of the greatest albums of the 1990's, The Holy Bible has been given the same kind of treatment The Clash's London Calling got on its 25th anniversary. I much prefer what they've done with The Holy Bible. There are just two demos, but they sound great! There are 3 live radio sessions and 4 live concert tracks - all are excellent! There is not a whole lot of difference between the U.K. and the U.S. mixes of the album, but there's enough to notice, and on a few tracks, ("Yes", for example) the U.S. mixes are superior, but the original U.K. mix is the best, and it has been beautifully remastered here. The DVD is excellent, but I admit I was a bit disappointed - I wanted to see more of Richey, and the DVD shows he was very much not needed in the band as a musician - he looks like a spazz playing the guitar, and it's obvious he's not really playing much of anything. His lyrics, of course, are superb! And he is very good-looking. But the boy can not play guitar! Still, I wanted to see more of him in on the DVD, and the main focus is on James and Nicky (not a bad thing!). Otherwise, the DVD is very satisfying in length and content. Overall, an excellent package!!! Couldn't have been done much better. While I have your attention, check out the Manic's latest, Lifeblood (2004), It's a very strong album, very melodic and emotional, and their best since The Holy Bible (though it's nothing like The Holy Bible - NOTHING is!!!)"
Yes, yes indeed.
Cioran Sellers | NYC | 04/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the great albums of the last two decades. Makes Kurt Cobain's shrieks of "a denial, a denial" seem rather middlebrow. I have played this music to um death over the years so the new package was a nice way to revisit...what stuck me most on listening with fresh ears were the dicey politics of some of what Richey is saying. "Archives of Pain" for instance is perhaps the best plea for the death penalty I've ever heard. And his argument is coming from an almost primal place...though ultimately he confesses "I preach extinction" so it's hard to go down this road too far. Take also "Walking Abortion" which seems to be a brutal assault on abortion yet Richey also points out that those who do make it onto "life" are little better than maggots...so again perhaps a moral dead end but that's not the point anyway, this is poetry, raw visions of the world...and who but Richey would dare to put into a song about the holocaust the notion that even if many of those slaughtered by the Nazis had lived their lives might never have amounted to much - and he means this in the sense that most people crawl meekly to humdrum reality. Richey also notes that Churchill wasn't that different than Hitler since both chained the worker to a machine. To say these are provocative points would be the sort of understatement the British might appreciate.
The US mix is well worth hearing. "Yes" with the pumped up guitars may even work better than the original (and the notion talked about on the DVD that this might have been a single is utterly hilarious) and even when it doesn't it's like having another snapshot another way to scale this masterpiece."