Twenty years ago Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers released their ‘difficult’ third album. After the spray-painted sloganeering of their debut Generation Terrorists and the big rock sound of their sophomore outing Gold Against The Soul the band were jaded, looking for a new sound, purpose, and direction. The Holy Bible would prove to be this, and so much more.
Recorded in a back to basics manner, its stripped back sounds were joined by a lyrical intensity that revelled in the darker aspects of mankind and the human psyche. Covering everything from concentration camps to eating disorders, it was not exactly a party album – but what it was one of Brit rock’s finest hours, the band’s first truly classic offering and an era defining recording.
Songs such as Yes, Faster and Revol were as influential on the band as they were on a new generation of musicians who picked up a guitar after seeing James shred his way through Faster in a sailor suit and a balaclava. Many songs remained setlist staples to this day while others have remained excluded, rarely, if ever, getting an airing in the live arena, but this twentieth anniversary tour will see the band play the LP (which also get itself a deluxe re-release, too!) on stage in its entirety for the first time.
Sadly, as Manics lore has it, The Holy Bible became a landmark album in more ways than one, with it being the last recorded with band member Richey Edwards before his mysterious and to this day unexplained disappearance back in 1995.
In the years since, the band have reinvented themselves as a trio – and one without the military fatigues and bravura grandstanding of the Bible’s mid-nineties – and have released nine more albums en route to becoming the elder statesmen of the UK rock scene. These shows will see them revisit their past while celebrating their present. The shows, as The Holy Bible is, are essential.
When: December 15, 16 & 17 / 7pm
Where: Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
Tube: Chalk Farm