I Know I Believe in Nothing but it is my Nothing...

This is an earlier version of the updated article here

Manic Street Preachers
The Holy Bible – 50 Further Facts
March 2016 (Updated Summer 2020)
Compiled By: Steve Bateman

Having recently added postscripts detailing 'The Holy Bible 1994 Studio Equipment & Recording Sessions Gear' + 'The Holy Bible 2014 Tour Gear' to R*E*P*E*A*T's interview with 'Alex Silva On Engineering/Co-Producing Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible'. I then started thinking about some of the other interesting facts which could perhaps be turned into a timeline-type of feature and act as a companion-piece to that article (which is 5-years-old this month), and although a number of these facts are well-known, others may be surprising or even new to some MSP Fans. The bite-size pieces of information were all written with help from, or sourced from, A Critical Discography, BBC Radio 4 Mastertapes, Dazed, Guitarist Magazine, Manics Promo Materials, Melody Maker, NME, R*E*P*E*A*T, Select Magazine, The Face, Wikipedia and more - a very special thanks to all! Branded as everything from "disturbingly traumatic" to "laceratingly savage" to "a group in extremis" to "a triumph of art over logic" by music critics, here are 50 Further Facts about the dark and divine, one-of-a-kind and acclaimed album that is The Holy Bible.

But just before this, although his best friends and bandmates, James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore, legitimately believe that everything that happened to Richey Edwards, would most likely have eventually materialised in whatever career path he chose to pursue in life. Now older and wiser, they have accurately ascribed the dramatically sped-up disintegration of his personal well-being, followed soon after by his tragic disappearance, to the irrefutable harsh realties, sacrifices and consequences of being a full-time member in a professional touring group. Also putting an enormous part of his rapid decline down to having a creative outlet / emotional sanctuary, whereby Richey plainly and persistently suffered for his art. With both his worldly-wise inspiration and wrath-filled meditations, plus the weight of incessantly and methodically writing erudite / bookish words becoming all-consuming, to the point where sometimes, he was unable to think about anything else.

Crucially though, and against all odds, this unholy outcome didn't hamper or derail the group for long! And by carrying on, thankfully, with the cream of the crop record that is THB, Richey's memory, his heart and soul and his exceptional / captivating highbrow lyrics (bolstered by the tantalising and mesmerising musical handiwork, provided by the other three equally as cultivated, philosophical, sagacious and sincere Manic Street Preachers), shall live on by virtue of a rather significant and all-enveloping LP. Which, remaining in a league of its own, supplies listeners with an unparalleled feast of engaging, exhilarating and enrapturing auditory / mental nourishment. Executed with excellence, attack and immediacy, and bearing all the hallmarks typically associated with a cult classic album. Not only did The Holy Bible raise the stakes with a collection of 13 instantly recognisable songs, when originally released in August 1994, but it is now highly rated as a work of art, as a cultural artefact and as a true masterclass in cerebral rock 'n' roll...

1. Recorded in late 1993 as a b-side for the Life Becoming A Landslide EP, Comfort Comes famously set the tone for what fans could expect from The Holy Bible. The foreboding track was even included on the Japanese Faster CD single, most likely so that listeners could compare the similarities shared by both songs. Also worthy of note and adding a brand new twist to this fact, is that when readying the remastered 2020 Deluxe Edition reissue of Gold Against The Soul, after "tidying his house, going through MSP's archives, moving studios and finding a load of stuff that he thought was lost forever." Nicky told NME: "The b-side, Comfort Comes, is definitely the bridge to The Holy Bible, but interestingly, the demo of the title track of Gold Against The Soul is very The Holy Bible. It’s got some Simple Minds-sampling guitar. When I found that demo and played it to James, he was shocked as well at how it fitted in with our later post-punk ideas."

2. Proof that the Manic Street Preachers certainly considered enlisting Mike Hedges to produce THB, could originally be found in a July 1996 interview with Select Magazine, whereby Nicky elaborates on wanting to "have him for The Holy Bible's more gothic punk side." While in Kieran Evans' devastatingly brilliant and lauded 2016 Everything Must Go feature-length documentary, Escape From History, James confirmed for sure: "We tried to get Mike Hedges to do The Holy Bible, because of The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees etc. He sent us a really nice reply, saying that he would love to work with us but he was booked up."

3. Whereas the plush, opulent and luxurious residential recording environs used for Gold Against The Soul, Outside Studios (later known as Hookend Recording Studios) near Checkendon, Oxfordshire cost £2,000 per day. By comparison, the since demolished, primitive and unheated, 16-track recording facility rented for The Holy Bible, Sound Space Studios situated in the red-light-district of Cardiff (with the area's scuzziness having inevitably seeped into the LP's overall morose make-up), cost a mere £50 per day. Sony did offer MSP the chance to record in Barbados, but the band collectively responded with a resounding: "Fuck off, no way - that's not us!" Now the stuff of legend, they instead dismantled what the group had become, rewrote their rulebook, were focused, well-rehearsed, determined, diligent, dedicated and chose not to use "all the resources at their disposal" - also abstaining from "all that decadent rock star rubbish" - while purposefully staying under the radar. In a rare, archived 1995 American Q&A published on The Quietus, James spoke candidly and straightforwardly about Sony being unaware of the 'new and improved' group's plans after they had used their initiative, as well as how they unfalteringly write songs for themselves first and foremost: "'We've got this album, it's nearly finished. Do you want to come and hear it?' And of course we needed to mix it. But once the record company knew we'd gone and taken control of the situation, and they heard what we were doing, and they heard the directness, the energy and the attitude, they just went for it. They thought: 'Ah well, that's okay.' We took charge of their own destiny and I think they were almost thankful for that. It takes a lot of work off their hands... We do it for ourselves first. There's no prerequisites for what somebody's going to take from you. We just realised at one point that we're in love with failure. Everything we love just completely failed, whether it be an ideology, even religion. I think that's our biggest achievement: we realised we don't want to be in love with failure all our lives, and we want to do something about it." In an interview conducted by PopMatters, when discussing MSP's work shift patterns for The Holy Bible and gaining traction with recording, James divulged: "It was kind of standard practice back in those days. You go to a residential studio and you record a record. Residential studios back then were really lovely places to create and record. But we knew that it was just wrong for the music. Especially with the lyrics that had inspired the music. We knew that it would be a wrong decision to try and create this kind of music, which had threadbare emotions and hard political intent and acute observatory historical references in it. We knew that if we ended up trying to create this music somewhere in Surrey, England, which had four poster beds and every technical specification you could wish for, there would be something slightly off-message about that. I suppose, in our youthful, delusional state, we thought there should be some kind of 'method recording', our version of method acting. We should immerse ourselves in a shitty environment to try and replicate the edge in the music. And that’s what we did. We hired a studio which we had used before in Cardiff, which was kind of in the red-light-area, and had no mod cons. It was a very, very monotone kind of experience. And we decided we wanted that kind of utilitarian vibe to try and rub off in the music, I suppose. It all sounds pretentious and I wouldn’t want to repeat it all now, but we were young." Commuting daily (and starting each new day with engineer/co-producer Alex Silva, by all having morning coffee together in the office next to the studio's control room), Richey - who had just bought a flat in Cardiff Bay which he was decorating and collaging - would pick-up James and Nicky by car, while Sean travelled from Bristol (where his girlfriend was studying) by train. With The Wire treasuring the fact that he could go home to his wife / new house in the valleys every night and watch Sky TV after a hard day's work. Tellingly, with a renewed sense of purpose, a galvanised and revitalised JDB recalled: "I felt alive with something again, whereas before that I was just fearing things - the end of the band, the world not even wanting us to play some shit festival. As soon as we stepped in the studio and started doing these songs, I felt alive with something I hadn’t felt for about six months... It did feel great straight away." "James was the most feverish I've ever seen him work" exclaimed Nicky. With JDB confessing to Uncut in 2011: "The genesis of the record was Nicky’s idea, and the motivation. I really wanted to do a lot of my John McGeochisms, from Magazine. I was getting fed up with trying to ape Slash, because it was obvious the world only wanted one Slash and they didn’t want a five feet two bloke from Wales doing it."

4. Nicky's working title for The Holy Bible was The Poetry Of Death.

5. "Every single morsel of that album is us being in control, for better or worse" once proudly pledged an unbridled Nicky, in adhering to their unassailable beliefs / objectives. And prior to acclimatising to / hunkering down in the back to basics studio, which had minimum production wizardry and was somewhere that the Manics were already familiar with, having previously recorded Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H) plus an assortment of b-sides there, earlier in their career with Alex. In realising Richey's dark visions as songs - who, as a compulsive and prodigious wordsmith, had given great consideration to his educational / illuminating discourse with impressionable listeners, to verse-chorus structures, to lyrical narratives, word selection, syntax, meter, stanzas etc. And now, functioning with an almost innate survival mechanism, was flourishing and reaching the peak of his powers as a compelling songwriter and poet. With unique, profound, stimulating and more thought-provoking, didactic, voluminous and literate lyrics than ever before, which showed a marked progression in the courage, gravitas and genius of his inward-looking and perceptive writing skills. Nicky: "I could tell he was in such a rich vein of this stunning prose and poems. We knew it was going to be pretty special." Although sounding nihilistic, grim and discordant on record - at times, even crude and coarse - most tracks were actually intuitively, meticulously and industriously written and sculpted by James on an acoustic guitar at his Mum and Dad's house, with Sean also writing the verse music for The Intense Humming Of Evil acoustically. And though it may have been seen by scores of composers as a task beset with great responsibility, JDB effused about how his recipe for success was owed to his indefatigable stamina; fusing motivation with his tools of the trade and chipping away at his songcraft. Which in turn, triggered the organic, masterful, awe-inspiring and unmatched sonic actualisation of (his songwriting foils) Richey and Nicky's torrent of words, bound together with his distinctive singing diction / vocal delivery when dispensing lines, his projection, venting and vocal hooks. On being tasked and entrusted with this duty, relying on his acumen and feeling emboldened after imbibing lyrics, he gushed: "I've got total interpretative carte blanche to do whatever I want and that's really a privileged position to be in... I think our music’s just always been led by the lyrics. That’s given credence and truth by the fact that I need lyrics in front of me to write music. Nicky and Richey would always give me lyrics, and 99 percent of the time I would always write music with the lyrics in front of me, and I would try and let the lyrics inspire the music. I was being given lyrics like Yes, Of Walking Abortion and Archives of Pain. Looking at these lyrics, there were twists and turns in there. There’s some kind of indecipherable, fucked up Iambic Pentameter in there, and I knew that these weren’t normal kind of lyrics, they weren’t even normal for us, really. And I just knew that the music had to twist and turn and convulse with the lyrics, as the lyrics were themselves. So it’s really as simple as that. I love the lyrics, and I remember being given Die In The Summertime and I remember being given Yes very early on, and thinking I must follow this muse that Richey created. Richey had written 70 to 75 percent of the lyrics on this record, and I was being given this stuff and I just knew I had to follow his direction. Otherwise I’d be betraying the lyrics themselves... I don’t really think we were reacting against anything. I think we were just so secluded and so self-insulated against what was going on with the start of Britpop and stuff that we didn’t even pay attention to it. Again, it’s that delusional state of just thinking that you’re right, and I think that’s the place we were in. By the time we’d finished mixing Faster, we still thought it could be a Top Ten hit, that’s how fucked up and deluded we were! Everything was led by the lyrics and they still are. On The Holy Bible, despite the nihilism and despite the misanthropic bent, sometimes the lyrics are so pleading to be understood." Much of James' expressive, beckoning and committed playing on THB, was done using his favourite guitar - a 1990 Gibson Les Paul Custom which he has since christened 'Faithful' - although while laying down tracks, Nicky once accidentally snapped the guitar's neck off! When recording, the band also managed to blow-up a speaker and so had to loan some from producer, Greg Haver, who worked in a nearby studio and had first met them while they were rehearsing songs for the LP. On the long player's challenging / cauterising mercilessness and brutal sense of impending doom - with the band beyond doubt that the staccato nature of some of Richey's unpruned lyrics, is what was the catalyst that helped to stimulate their creativity and generate the constituent components of the album's stern musical framework. Severe / streamlined arrangements and jagged post-punk sound, as well as its desolate and dissonant co-ordinates. One writer astutely noted: "In 1994, Edwards’ mind was a dark place and The Holy Bible has come to be seen as the ultimate musical expression of this period in his thinking. Reflections on the darker parts of life had long been a Manics staple, but not like this... A purging of the whole bloodied wreckage of the 20th Century. The words were raw and close to the bone, suggesting a kind of rock that didn’t just return to the band’s punk roots, but invented a whole new soundworld that dripped with a nihilism and menace that histrionic heavy metal pretenders could only dream of. The Holy Bible (seen not only as a work of art by many, but also as Richey's epitaph) would be exposed, like a gaping wound uncovering the ugly sides of humanity." Famously, as a potential follow-up, Edwards expressed a desire to create a concept album which he described as "Pantera meets Screamadelica." However, MSP's musical maestro and sonic architect, Bradfield, has since countered with doubts over whether the group would have produced such an LP: "I was worried that as chief tunesmith in the band, I wasn't actually going to be able to write things that he would have liked. There would have been an impasse in the band for the first time born out of taste."

6. 4st 7lb - the threshold weight below which death is said to be medically unavoidable for an anorexic sufferer - was the very first song to be recorded for THB on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1994. Talking about this ominous track and the complicated time-signature changes, JDB - whose girlfriend had just called off their engagement - articulately observed: "Of all the songs on The Holy Bible, it has the most amount of words (This Is Yesterday is the simplest) and when I looked at the main body of the lyric, I wanted to reflect the frenetic nature of this vanity that keeps analysing itself and keeps trying to find a reason for something which is so irrational. Then, I wanted there to be a resolution in the end, I wanted there to be some kind of defeat, because the lyrics at the end seem to have a self-knowing wry observation about themselves, that they knew they were being irrational but they couldn't stop it. The one song that I didn’t enjoy writing the music to. There are moments of The Bible where I felt as if I was being really precarious about singing the thoughts of other people channelled through Richey, but I felt slightly uneasy doing that song. I was glad when I finished. I felt like I was prying when I wrote it. It was a weird feeling."

7. A state of the nation address, partly comprised of ironic interpretations of USA Patriotism with critical and stinging lyrical sideswipes at the 'Land of the Free' (themes previously touched upon in the Generation Terrorists b-side, Dead Yankee Drawl). Musically, Ifwhiteamerica... was inspired by West Side Story (James jokingly refers to it as "the American Musical gone wrong") and as spotlit by 227 Lears - a blog / web project focusing on The Holy Bible - the gang rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, e.g. the call-and-response chorus: 'Conservative say... / Democratic say...' With its title thought to have come from a quote by controversial US comedian Lenny Bruce. In pre-production rehearsals, the band almost gave up on this song, but Sean said that he knew exactly what to do with it and went onto add one of his most skilful, unrelenting and memorable drum tracks ever! "It’s me trying to be Topper Headon, in a strange sort of way. I remember the quote at the beginning - I did all the samples. Richey would source it and I’d be the one dragging it off old VHS tapes. It’s one of those songs where it just happened, the ideas were there, the little fast tom. I was thinking all the time of London Calling. For us it was the end - third album, everything’s bombing, fuck it, let’s do what we want." Recently, the eagle-eyed 277 Lears, cleverly discovered how the unusual, compressed typography of the track title, Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit’sworldwouldfallapart, might possibly be traced back to a song, Antiamericancretin, by McCarthy. The site goes onto add how McCarthy’s leftist vision of an England ‘bowed beneath a baseball bat / Beneath an ice-cool Cola can’, a country sold on ‘fast-food chains’ and ‘trivial TV’, are echoed in Manic Street Preachers’ breathless attack on the vacuity and violence of American life on Ifwhiteamerica… - a song that in fact takes on American and British nationalism as twin menaces. The well-researched and informative essay, also deconstructs previously undocumented thematic links between Ifwhiteamerica… and Of Walking Abortion, plus how key lyrical inspirations in the acerbic and castigating Ifwhiteamerica... were derived from source material including Paul Gilroy’s study of black identity and national identity, ‘There ain’t no black in the Union Jack’ - noting how the choice of ‘conservative’ (not ‘republican’) and ‘democrat’ (not ‘labour’) contribute to this blurring of the two nations. Yet, America remains the focus from beginning to end. Among many other insightful and intertextual lyrical studies, 227 Lears also explores the article, ‘Gun control in the USA’, written by Kevin Young and published in the November 1993 issue of Living Marxism. In which Young argues against the implementation of the Brady Bill, in a piece of writing that unquestionably shaped Edwards’ contribution on the topic to Ifwhiteamerica... e.g. lyric reference to the line: '"God made men, Samuel Colt made them equal" so says the old Wild West proverb.' 227 Lears also perceptively spotted and pinpointed how other Living Marxism editorials, more than likely impacted Richey's thinking behind Of Walking Abortion ('Who's Next - Hitler?' written by Joan Philips / published in LM No. 61 - November 1993) e.g. lyric reference to the passage: 'A burial took place recently in a small country church in Kenderes, Hungary. But it wasn’t any old burial. For a start, the deceased (Horthy) had been dead for nearly half a century. Even more bizarre, the spectacle was broadcast live on government-controlled television in the manner of a British royal wedding.' And, P.C.P. ('The right to be offensive' written by Unknown / published in LM No. 64 - February 1994) e.g. lyric reference to the line: 'Bans are for bigots and Big Brother.'

8. It is crystal clear that these are not songs of faith and devotion, and that The Holy Bible is an immutable and misanthropic 'Monument To Misery' - with JDB stretching his pronunciation of words and avowing that "matching the sounds with the songs was a very natural effort." For example, the post-punk, metallic and eviscerating rhythmical guitar riff on Of Walking Abortion - which bombards your ears - was influenced by Magazine's The Light Pours Out Of Me: "I just went straight to my memory file: 'If I can somehow have a modified version of the riff...' So I just lengthened it, different notes and that was it." The portentous, mordacious and barbarous song, also takes its name from a passage and lifts one or two additional ideas (i.e. 'The male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage') from the radical feminist manifesto by Valerie Solanas, 'SCUM Manifesto'. Something else also worth touching upon, is how Of Walking Abortion - along with Mausoleum and Faster - all feature several more lines penned by Nicky than he could initially recall from memory, which in preparation for The Holy Bible's 20th Anniversary in 2014, he only rediscovered after reinspecting pages from his and Richey's lyric / ideas notebooks from the 1993-94 time period. With subject matter / imagery overlapping across numerous tracks on The Holy Bible, the idea of hollow consumerism present in Ifwhiteamerica..., can also be found in the incisive Of Walking Abortion lyric: 'So wash your car in your X baseball shoes.' Which, based on convincing suggestions, the MSP website A Critical Discography believes to be a reference to the explosion in merchandising around the release of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X biopic in 1992. ?Of Walking Abortion is even connected to Archives Of Pain, as the lyric: 'Little people in little houses, like maggots, small, blind and worthless' alludes to the ruthless child serial killers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, and is based on a diary entry written by Hindley's 17-year-old brother-in-law, David Smith, who Brady began trying to systematically brainwash and aimed to recruit. Dictated to Smith by Brady, the original line in his diary actually reads: 'People are like maggots, small, blind, worthless fish-bait.' Smith is also the man credited with stopping the killing spree of 'The Moors Murderers', after witnessing the couple’s fifth and final murder in October 1965, before then going to the Police. 227 Lears also called to attention how the Valerie Solanas and Ian Brady quotes had been referenced by the Manics in the past. Firstly, the full Solanas text: 'The male chromosome is an incomplete female chromosome. In other words the male is a walking abortion; aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples', was printed alongside Little Baby Nothing in the Generation Terrorists sleeve artwork. While the Brady line, popped up in a diary entry that Richey wrote while the band were recording their debut long player in late 1991. Published in the February 1992 edition of Select Magazine as 'Seven Days In The Life Of... Richie Edwards Of The Manic Street Preachers', here is an extract from Wednesday: 'Feel depressed. We leave Black Barn tomorrow. There's thousands of pictures to be taken down. Breakfast is always sad on Wednesday though. (Because) The music press arrives. Go back to bed. Stay there until the Six O'Clock News. Rip down my bedroom wall. I don't want to leave Keith, Johnny, Stalin, Flavor Flav, Axl, Liz Taylor to be as maggots. People are like maggots. Small, blind and worthless.'

9. While in the first instance, it was Nicky who unpacked the idea of not using "all the resources at their disposal" and hiring a low-rent studio to record The Holy Bible in, before the Manic Street Preachers distilled their inimitable music into its purest form. He also tried to convince James that She Is Suffering could be MSP's Every Breath You Take (The Police) and a huge 'Transatlantic hit'. Now however, not only would Nicky "definitely take it off" the record, but it is one of the Manics music videos he most despises (the promo clip was directed by Adolfo Doring). Drafting in Generation Terrorists producer, Steve Brown, as JDB simply "didn't know what to do with the track," She Is Suffering has also now become his least favourite song on The Holy Bible (after the Manics maligned Revol for years), who humbly conceded: "That thing of using 'she' and 'beauty' as a metaphor never really sat that well with me. I thought we were a bit out of our depth and I didn't think it was one of Richey's best lyrics (neither did Nicky or Richey). I wanted Ifwhiteamerica... to be the single." Furthermore, The Wire has since aired his own regrets of not going with Ifwhiteamerica... and instead having She Is Suffering as a single choice: "I'm not sure why we chose it now." For its European release, a 2trk and a 4trk tour edition CD single were pressed, which both included the 7" radio edit of She Is Suffering, as well as an exclusive acoustic version taken from a live performance on MTV's Most Wanted. In terms of The Holy Bible as a collection of songs and on people's emotional investment, with heartfelt enthusiasm, James has acknowledged that he's "conscious of how many of the album tracks are far superior and much more loved by fans, than any of the singles released from it" - with the exception of The Bible's vital ingredient and crowning glory, the invigorating Faster. Which ultimately, is what has led to the LP's survival, prosperity and reverence!

10. 'Nothing turns out like you want it to.' 'Don't hurt, just obey, lie down, do as they say.' 'Analyse, despise and scrutinise.' 'Life is for the cold made warm and they are just lizards.' 'I've been too honest with myself / I should have lied like everybody else.' 'The only way to gain approval / Is by exploiting the very thing that cheapens me.' Along with these jolting and transparent key lines and their lyrical thread - words which are brimming with revulsion and revile - plus the unforgiving onslaught of The Holy Bible's dyed-in-the-wool, hell on earth, discontented, resentful and (never once rose-tinted) sour worldview; 'Life is lead weights, pendulum died / Pure or lost, spectator or crucified / Recognised truth Acedia's blackest hole / Junkies, winos, whores, the nation's moral suicide.' Where 'Loser - liar - fake or phoney / No one cares, everyone is guilty' for all that's wrong with the world, which has transformed into nothing more than an unethical and unconscionable 'systemised atrocity.' With a sizeable quantity of The Bible's lyrics using the fallibilities of the past, to illustrate the shortcomings of our present (long a favoured Manics trope); the unwholesome underbelly of society, taboos, having to sell yourself out, geopolitical misdeeds, fragmented hegemony / democracy, capitalism / socio-economic issues, virulent corruption, injustice, American/British nationalism, racism, historical revisionism, political correctness and the inescapable / unrecoverable loss of childhood innocence (the latter of which subject-wise, is more than feasibly the reason why This Is Yesterday and Die In The Summertime were positioned side-by-side, as a pairing, in the final tracklisting). Other gritty, real-life and odious themes also subsumed and saturated in spite on THB, include how anybody - on account of the human condition - has the capacity to commit nefarious sins or evil deeds - a microcosm of the whole record: 'The centre of humanity is cruelty / There is never redemption / Any fool can regret yesterday.' And, exhibiting the lyrical prowess of MSP's conceptualist and lodestar, one of the bravest songs ever penned by Richey, is the chilling, jarring and lurking Archives Of Pain - named after a chapter in a biography of French philosopher Michel Foucault - which seemingly advocates the use of the death penalty for maniacal, fascist war criminals and convicted, unhinged serial killers, who have committed deranged and heinous crimes. Yet are implausibly treated as celebrities by the media, or sinisterly lionised and hero-worshipped; 'Pain not penance, forget martyrs, remember victims.' 'Sterilise rapists, all I preach is extinction.' With JDB adding: "To reiterate the fact, the lyric was about coming from a left-wing perspective, but actually just saying that: 'Despite my political leanings, despite the essence and the core of what I am, I think I believe in Capital Punishment. I believe the punishment should fit the crime.' Our songs are at their best when they're at their most irrational or like three minute well informed news stories... The new album's a lot more dense and obtuse - if it was a book, you wouldn't say there were many sympathetic characters in it. We treated it almost like an essay. We started off with the title, we didn't have one lyric or one piece of music written... We've always been a band who wanted something to believe in, but couldn't find anything and there's one pivotal song on the album, Archives Of Pain. It started out as a riposte to that line in Therapy?'s Trigger Inside ('Now I know how Jeffrey Dahmer feels') and, even though I really like Therapy?, we just couldn't agree with it, so decided to come up with a modern response. It went on to become a Capital Punishment diatribe and by the time we'd finished the song, we sounded like a bunch of right-wing cunts. It's basically O Level Sociology, left and right eventually meet and they become impossible to differentiate from each other. And I thought that's what we'd become, when one side becomes totally fucked-up. We started out as such a traditional working class band, and based all these situations on anywhere we could find a strand of unfilled ideology, but we've drifted further and further sideways. By the end of this song, I realised that we were just a product of our times. We'd believed in so many things only to become disillusioned. That was one of the first songs that we'd finished and it was then that I realised, that the whole album would be quite ambivalent in terms of its morals." And although Archives Of Pain was the track which Nicky and Richey "worried about the most and did the most work on." In the liner notes for the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Holy Bible, the album is described by Keith Cameron as "a triumph of art over logic" which James found flattering: "It’s always nice when somebody else says it, because you can never say that about what you’ve done yourself, because it makes you an arrogant fool if you make such a statement about your own record or book or film or piece of furniture - whatever you’ve created. But I can see some kind of logic in that statement. I don’t really think a band like us, that comes from a very left-wing area and place in history, ever expected to write a song like Archives of Pain, which talks about Capital Punishment and talks about it within a song - openly questions it and openly investigates and doesn’t condemn. I don’t think a band like us, from a working class area in South Wales, were ever meant to write a lyric like Faster, that has ambitions of overcoming everything with the power of your own will and your own self-made intelligence. And I don’t think that would be married to that post-punk influenced music. So there is a natural ridiculousness of us coming from South Wales, from a very working class, proud area; actually doing a record like this was nothing anyone expected. We didn’t either. So I kind of accept Keith’s statement, and Keith is one of the best music journalists Britain ever produced, so I’ll stand by his statement. It’s always better when somebody else says it." With James, Nicky, Richey and Sean taking immense pride in the evolution of the Manic Street Preachers, whenever questioned about treasured tracks, JDB maintains that the apoplectic Archives Of Pain is "one of the most important things we've done." Sonically, this song is also renowned for boasting one of James' premium, undulating and piercing guitar solos, as well as one of Nicky's finest and most pulsating bass lines (his personal favourite), which sounds demonic and like it has crawled out from the very depths of hell wrapped in barbed wire and laced with malevolence! While in a 1999 interview with Rhythm Magazine, Sean chose this particular track as having the drumming performance he's most proud of, recounting: "It's something I wouldn't normally do - it was one of those sudden rushes of blood. Even now I couldn't really play it to you." Notably, JDB frequently "nagged" Sean to put a harmonizer (studio effects processor) on the drums during The Holy Bible sessions, in order to make them sound boxy / claustrophobic and as Archives Of Pain was in the process of being recorded, Blur's poptastic new single Girls & Boys hit the airwaves, causing Nicky to fret: "It might not be our time." Similarly, James has since disclosed: "I remember being in a taxi with Richey and we heard Oasis' Supersonic on the radio. We felt a bit bowed by it, in a strange commercial kind of way." Referring to MSP's more melodic and accessible side, JDB's Mum, Sue, would even later ask him why they no longer wrote "nice songs" akin to Motorcycle Emptiness.

11. In a 2011 NME Poll, the Manics themselves named Faster as their 'Best Single', which was labelled by the longstanding music publication as "The most incendiary tour de force of their career, the band on the point of glorious combustion. It is the dark heart of The Holy Bible that emerges as Manic Street Preachers' Number One of their own Top 40 hit parade. What else? A Molotov cocktail of post-punk guitars powers along one of Richey's most freeform and barbed lyrical displays. The result of one of the most intense compositions of all time and one of the most exhilarating pop songs of all time." While in April 2018, as part of an 18-month long comprehensive, social media 'song contest' run by the Twitter account, Every Manics Song; "All studio tracks pitted against each other (nearly) to decide the most accurate & unofficial complete song chart ever!" With votes coming from genuine MSP Fans, it was announced that out of over 200+ tracks in their back catalogue, Faster was once again in pole position after being ranked and rated as the band's greatest song (The Holy Bible was also the most popular era and LP - with or without singles included - by average track score). Dissecting the furious urgency of the full-throttle Faster, which was the last time that Nicky and Richey "collaborated lyrically on an even keel," Nicky once stated: "A lot of it is all Richey again and he told me it was about self-abuse... I think it's the most confusing song on the album. I added some stuff about the regurgitation of 20th Century culture, and the way that everything's speeded-up to such an extent that nobody knows if they've got any meaning anymore... It's not a post-modern nightmare number, it's more a voyeuristic insight into how our generation has become obliterated with sensations. We could deal with things, but we prefer to blank them out so that virtually every atrocity doesn't have that much impact any more. I don't even know if that's a bad thing, I don't know if we're not on some kind of path to a super-being, where all emotions are lost and everyone finally gets on perfectly because of that... It's probably the first time that we've written a song and not completely understood what we've written... It's my title. I think the outro: 'Man kills everything' is mine. 'If you stand up like a nail...' is a Chinese proverb. So it's a perfect synthesis of everything really. I think 'I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing' is the great catchphrase of The '90s. And for Richey to actually write: 'I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer', it shows an almost heroic self-indulgence. But it makes you great. Because at the time, Blur's Girls & Boys went Top Five and I remember thinking: 'What the fuck are we doing?', just completely ostracised. But then I remember having a moment thinking: 'This is brilliant.' We'd never felt so alone and we really were distanced from everything else. And that's why we were the biggest cult band in Britain. It was one of those moments when you're never gonna do something that good again. You might do something more commercial, more uplifting, which we have done. But the cult-dom of it - I think it was once described as 'a heady mix of Ace Of Spades by Motörhead and Anarchy In The UK.' When Richey gave the finished lyric to James, it had no punctuation whatsoever, who has since categorised this specific song as "One of Richey's soothsaying lyrics. There's a lot of prophesy, in terms of the acceleration of everything - joy, pain, death, consumerism... Also, I can see that Richey perhaps wrote the lyrics for Donkeys, and then shortly afterwards, he wrote Faster. Because where Donkeys is quite self-pitying, I almost felt like he was riposting himself on Faster." Interestingly, the line: 'Self-disgust is self-obsession, honey' was a phrase actually coined by MSP's Press Officer, Gillian Porter, which she used when anatomising Richey's scornful opinion / scathing critique of himself - "That's the truest line on there, probably" he contended. Also echoing the lyrical theme found in Archives Of Pain and the most logical reason why a portrait of Soviet serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, is placed next to Faster in THB's CD lyrics booklet. Picked-up on by 227 Lears, when identifying a lesser known aspect of Faster's message, JDB set forth: "We’re a civilisation where we’re constantly trying to find a cure, cures for death, we’re constantly trying to find cures for diseases. But also, we’re a civilisation that’s grown up with an obsession with death. Or, we’re a civilisation that’s grown up with an obsession with, like, mass murderers. How the hell do we function when we’re obsessed with prolonging life, and we’re obsessed with people who kill? It’s about the strength to believe in life and death." The title is rumoured to have a double-meaning, based around the aforementioned idea of the acceleration of society, as well as fasting, and was also the adopted name for the first recording studio - Faster Studios - that the Manic Street Preachers owned in Cardiff between 2005-2016. In terms of matching the sentiment of the "cold voiced" words with a "disembodied vocal" and sonic enhancements, James with his high level of artistry, wanted the music to sound as if it was regimented, serrated, parallel-lined, compressed, stark and in control of itself, although he "didn't realise that Faster was going to be a single (let alone the lead single) for a long time." And even though it went through 20 reworked overhauls, apparently, the Manics' co-manager Martin Hall was never overly fond of this track at any stage of its development, or indeed the finished version either. The template for this song was Faith No More’s From Out Of Nowhere, with Sean proclaiming: "It's us at our most visceral best, spitting bile. The lyrics weren’t in the form that they ended up in, but just that bit ‘stronger than Mensa’ was enough for us." With JDB admitting: "It was the hardest one to write music to by a million miles (including Sean's drums in the final section). I was worried, as I knew it was the key to everything on the record. So I stomped around, and then put Never Mind The Bollocks on and that was it. Sometimes the way Johnny Rotten’s voice goes down the middle of a song and barely changes, it’s about the twists and phrases and the commitment to the words. And that’s exactly what it needed, that straight line through the middle... It's something that connected with the darker parts of all our selves and it's hard to get a career out of those moments." "It was a defining moment for us. That song laid it all out. It was like a band manifesto" later mused Nicky. Faster was first played live in Thailand at Bangkok's MBK Hall in April 1994 (MSP's first magazine cover feature for The Holy Bible era also took place in Thailand for the NME), and whenever used as the opener in set lists throughout that year, it had an extended intro with James calling out to the crowd: "Hello, hello, hello, hello, hello..." as a nod to John Lydon's greeting on the PiL song, Public Image. At recent THB gigs, the group used Faster (Vocal Mix) as their walk on music - just as they did in late '94 (when they even sometimes had an Air-raid siren). Lastly, for history buffs, The Holy Bible's centrepiece, the adrenaline-charged and primal Faster, was deployed as the lead single on June 6, 1994, which not only officially signalled the start of the promotional campaign for its landmark parent album. But battle ready, also coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy during World War II. It was MSP's very own D-Day. Nicky: "When people got the first taste of Faster and P.C.P. they just felt like: 'Oh, we've got our band back. This is the band we fell in love with, almost even better than before.' I can't remember any negative reaction, really." One music columnist was so taken with the vortical Faster, that he eulogised: "As always, the music was credited to James Dean Bradfield and drummer Sean Moore, but it was Bradfield's contribution which clearly signalled the change in tack: the sheet-metal-cutter tone, the skittish riffing, the new approach to layering and texture, the sharp corners, the brutalism. Forty-five seconds in, it was clear that now the Manics understood that subtlety isn't the opposite of power."? Interestingly, some 8 years later on November 18, 2002, at MSP's 'Carling Homecoming' Cardiff St. David's Hall show (possibly taking their cue from Nirvana's now legendary 'MTV Unplugged In New York' 1993 concert), Faster was reimagined as a much mellower semi-acoustic track. The band continued to perform the song this way during their 2002-2003 Forever Delayed Greatest Hits Tour, and an official live recording of this version can be found as a b-side on the extremely rare, alternative European CD reissue of Motorcycle Emptiness - which was primarily sold in Finland.

12. A first draft of the irrepressible and imposing The Intense Humming Of Evil (the sister song of Mausoleum and some of the earliest Holy Bible tracks to be written, after the band had visited the sites of former German concentration camps during their Gold Against The Soul, European Tour in Autumn '93) was considered insufficiently judgmental by Bradfield, who asked for a rewrite, explaining: "You can't be ambivalent about the Holocaust." Notably, the only member of MSP who can read music is Sean, and for this tense, unnerving and unvarnished composition, his idea was to use the minimalist delineation of modern song structures to make more out of less. Coupled with the propulsive and grinding, looped industrial noises (possibly factory / piston sounds sampled by Sean using his Akai S1000 Sampler, before then being programmed?), it is unlike any other track in the band's entire body of work. As one of his historical "obsessions," Richey was justifiably appalled by reprehensible and intolerable Holocaust deniers, who deplorably and unpardonly attempted to negate the established facts of the Nazi genocide of European Jewry: "It's the most horrific event in world history." The title, The Intense Humming Of Evil, alludes to the sombre, eerie and deafening silence that the Manics noticed while in the grounds of at one-time death camps, where even birds don't fly over (Nicky mournfully remembered: "All you can hear is this humming of nothing.") Something which is also cited in the dour and festering formations of Mausoleum's taught, gloom laden, ravaged and reverberating chorus: "No birds - no birds / The sky is swollen black / No birds - no birds / Holy mass of dead insect." Nicky: "The song was originally going to be dubbed No Birds, but PiL already had a track with the same name. Then, Richey said that he had a much better title, and I concurred, Mausoleum sounded far more scary!" Unveiling to The Quarterly in 2014: "I wrote the original lyric ideas in my hotel room after walking around Belsen. I was struck by the lack of creatures and the silence. There’s greenery and trees, but it seemed to me even nature couldn’t face touching that horror. The first time we went to Japan, we visited the museum in Hiroshima. We’ve always faced up to universal truths as much as is humanly possible and it’s been a good thing for us, because truth’s about the only thing that has kept the band going." JDB: "Touring does have an effect on you because you experience different strains of ideology and failed ideologies." With Richey once phlegmatically declaring that as a band, MSP "haven’t got well-defined ideologies." In 2005, Nicky - who also believes that these experiences may have subconsciously seeped into some of his words for Of Walking Abortion - further elaborated to PopMatters: "I find The Intense Humming Of Evil quite unlistenable. It reminds me of our days off (from touring) Gold Against The Soul, when we visited Belsen and Dachau, the death camps, which was in typical Manic Street Preacher fashion. Most bands, on their day off, would look for a pile of drugs or drink or whatever - we decided to visit the death camps on our days off. We didn’t go there for a laugh. We were driving and we felt we should see this. It’s our idea of forcing humanity to face itself. They were pretty startling days. That was definitely one of the seeds for it, really. In Germany, Gold Against The Soul wasn’t selling many copies, and we were travelling around thinking: 'We’ve got to regain our soul.' We were all on the same wavelength. We knew that regaining control was the main priority. Going back to Cardiff and a crappy little studio was the essence of that, really... I think James just really rose to the challenge at this point. He felt a desire to create something really original: sounds of our youth, and the darkness and the melancholy of Wales, transferring that into all the places we'd visited on tour and the death camps of the Holocaust. I think he just loved the challenge of trying to make those words into tunes." On May 28, 1994, MSP performed at the Anti-Nazi League 'Carnival Against The Nazis'.

13. Revol (lover spelt backwards) and This Is Yesterday (which musically, was loosely based on Ghosts by The Jam) were late additions to The Holy Bible and were both written side-by-side. JDB told NME in 2014: "It was in our pocket for a long time. That's why two other songs got recorded at the end. We'd lived with it for so long that we realised just in time that it wasn't balanced. Well, in its own fucked-up way."

14. Song titles nearly used include: Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'scountrywouldfallapart, Walking Abortions and No Birds (Mausoleum).

15. A differently sequenced tracklisting of the 13 songs (obviously later revised and re-jigged) also appeared on an early pre-release PR information card

16. Sculpture Of Man is the sole b-side dating from this period, all others were recorded later. Nicky called this "The darkest lyric ever!" With James continuing: "That's completely Richey's. But that just shows how bullet-nosed we were."

17. Although the rock-solid, unfiltered and explosive Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart ("one of the greatest titles of all-time" as claimed by Nicky), plus the sedate, sentimental and tranquillising This Is Yesterday. A winsome, tender, moving and fleeting breather amid the mental and emotional bloodletting, which momentarily enables the outlying and unshrinking Holy Bible to transfigure, were long thought to have been the sole work of Wire. When putting together the pristine, exemplary and life-enriching 20th Anniversary Box Set for THB, on closer inspection, he actually discovered that Richey had contributed more to both tracks than he remembered. And, if you were to combine all of Nicky and Richey's traded lines and wide-ranging lyrics together, unbelievably, there are over an astronomical 2,800 words across all of the songs included on the record! With Q Magazine giving its affirmation and adulation by trumpeting: "The Holy Bible is among the most lyrically ambitious albums any rock group has made!" This long player also unequivocally demonstrates and validates 'the power of words' and how they can permeate your mind. But due to the vast amount of pre-internet information, knowledge and wealth of words crammed into THB's unequalled lyric sheets - some of which could even be classified as prose, or as hard-hitting investigative journalism. And encompass everything, from cultural, historical, political and societal connections, to weighty subject matter, to well-read literary references. JDB - sometimes even without a moment to take a breath - recorded far more vocal takes than usual (for comping) so that he sung every syllable correctly, with his astonishing / incomparable voice, vox techniques and outstanding approaches to singing, reacting perfectly to the array of convulsing sonics, abrasive lead / rhythm guitar tones and counter-melodies used on different compositions. Also making The Holy Bible on their own terms, and by now, a well-oiled machine in the studio - when probed about the rhythm section's listening habits, musicianship and contributions, after chewing this over, Nicky marvelled: "It doesn't happen often in a band's career when you all start listening to the same sort of music and reading the same sort of things. With us, it was Wire, Magazine, John McGeoch (PiL, Banshees, Visage) was a big influence on James, Jah Wobble was a big influence on the bass sound and Gang Of Four were a big influence as well. It was all the music we grew up listening to. When we first started, Guns N' Roses came along and changed us for a couple of albums, but this music was our natural habitat. Post-punk was what we listened to the most, because we missed out on punk. Sometimes in a band there is a telepathy and even in the rhythm section, with me and Sean, that was happening on tracks like Ifwhiteamerica... it was just like speeded-up Adam And The Ants! We didn't need to speak about it. We just felt like we were doing the right thing." And on the breakneck-paced, 2000AD & Judge Dredd, 'Be Pure! Be Vigilant! Behave!' (a slogan uttered by Tomas de Torquemada, puritanical and xenophobic villain in Nemesis the Warlock) referencing P.C.P. - a clever song title that refers to Political Correctness (PC), to a Police Constable (PC) and to the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP). Although always much more coil springed, jittery and venomous live than on record, Nicky raved about this track's instant gratification: "You can hear a real joy in our playing!" On a side note, Richey was a die-hard 2000AD & Judge Dredd comic book fan - he even once had a drawing of the character, Ace Garp, published in an issue when he was younger, winning £3. Then, the ultimate dream of any comic book fan, Richey himself was immortalised within its hallowed pages, when the long-running British science-fiction comic anthology satirised the '4 REAL' incident in a story. The character based on Richey was called Clarence from The Crazy Sked Moaners, and in a different story, Zenith, a character named Domino even wore a Manics t-shirt! Although never licensed or used, MSP originally wrote and recorded the fluid and blistering Judge Yr'self, for the 1995 Judge Dredd movie starring Sylvester Stallone (Richey excitedly told his father that a song might be featured on the soundtrack). But out of respect to Richey after he had vanished and not wishing to dwell on this, the track was put on the back burner and wasn't completely finished until its poignant inclusion on the 2003 b-sides, rarities and covers compilation, Lipstick Traces (A Secret History Of Manic Street Preachers). As one of the final songs that the gentle Richey penned before he went missing, lyrically and sonically, Judge Yr'self patently has its foundations in THB (the music video is appropriately included on the 10th Anniversary Edition). In a 2015 Q&A with Ultimate Guitar, when disassembling the LP's splintered and fraught tension, JDB extolled and reiterated about The Holy Bible: "In its own way, even though it's regarded as an album which has a bit of indelible punk spirit in it, it's quite a muso (musician's) album. There are some awkward little time-signatures on there and the drums are very much linked in with the guitars. The bass is very much linked in with the guitars too and the bass is not always on the bass drum. There's a lot of post-punk chords and effected bass on there, which weaves in and out of the music. And it's quite a muso little record really. I'd say it's a post-punk album influenced by bits of Rush. It's a very kind of infused album and there's a hyper-reality about the lyrics."

18. Interestingly, James "never felt completely comfortable as the lead singer of the Manics, until The Holy Bible" – and before then, would have "just preferred to have solely been the lead guitarist, with either Nicky or Richey as the frontman, because they had the cheekbones for it!"

19. In 2004, James unexpectedly admitted to Guitarist Magazine: "Sometimes I've resented putting vocals over the music, especially on The Holy Bible."

20. Carefully sourced by Richey and in-keeping with / highlighting the songs' themes - sometimes adding a menacing and dystopian atmosphere - every dialogue sample on The Holy Bible had to be cleared for usage, in turn, costing Sony a lot of money. In reference to the mercurial and diffusive sample used on Mausoleum, when talking to The Face in '94, Richey expounded: "When J. G. Ballard wrote Crash, he said that what he was trying to do was force humanity to look itself in the mirror, then rub its face in its own vomit. That was what we wanted, too." With Nicky additionally looking to write about the atrocities caused by "the human capability to inflict pain on its own race," and an intransigent Richey reasoning in another interview: "Henry Miller said 'At the edge of eternity is torture, in our mind's never-ending ambition to damage itself.' That's what we would like to write about." Arriving just over 14 months after its predecessor, Gold Against The Soul, when later elaborating on The Holy Bible's concept, or through-line, a perspicacious Nicky cogitated: "There’s an overriding philosophy behind the whole album: evil is an essential part of the human condition and the only way to get over it is recognising all hypocrisies, all evils - recognising it’s in us all - which I guess is not a liberal view."

21. Financially, with all band members existing on a low income at the time - a teeny £250 per month each, later rising to £200 per week - which was an unfathomably minuscule amount of money for an international act signed to a major label. JDB, who "didn’t have a pot to piss in," was still living at home with his parents during the making of this long player, with the others 'clubbing together' so that he could stay in a Marriott hotel one night a week. Notably, part way through recording - after having seen them play live and been magnetised by the Washington DC indie hardcore outfit, later purchasing some of their LPs - one of James' morning wake-up songs and on repeat studio favourites, was Learned It by Girls Against Boys. "I really latched onto that song and I think they had a small bearing in the music I wrote for The Holy Bible, so it’s a good memory for me" he revealed on BBC Radio 6 Music. However, not everyone in MSP recollects Bradfield’s choice of alarm call so fondly. "I remember James' obsession well," laughed a mystified Nicky of hearing the song a lot... "To my pain!" With regard to the unpleasant setting and the seedy side of where Sound Space Studios was located in the red-light-district of Cardiff. Late at night, both JDB and Alex would be aware of prostitutes prowling the streets outside, who even sometimes performed sexual acts with clients in their parked cars.

22. While refining the Manic Street Preachers' sound / twisting melodies into new shapes, and at the same time, managing to make atypical song lyrics scan and rhyme. Although the THB sessions involved long hours for James in the studio, along with engineer/co-producer Alex Silva - 16-hours per day, sometimes more, 7 days a week for 1 month - who also ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, he has described it as "one of the best times of his life." Elaborating: "Brilliant memories. All the dark humour around that time makes it seem happier in retrospect than maybe it actually was. Regardless of the lyrics, I remember Richey as being quite cuddly at that point (who was regularly holed up in the studio's Gaffer-esque office with his Olivetti portable typewriter, typing lyrics, and also went to the odd nightclub in Cardiff with JDB). He didn't seem in the perpetual motions of darkness as the lyrics might imply. It was a happy period, recording that album, even though it was done in bleak surroundings. It felt like we were all pulling in the same direction. I remember thinking if this is our last album, it's a fucking brilliant album to finish on. We felt it was our final riposte." And in spite of the fact that "some bands wouldn't have even used Sound Space Studios to record demos, even though it had an amazing drum room" in the opinion of Nicky - the studio, vicinity, environment and 'method recording' to stay on-message, proved to be advantageous as it fortuitously suited everything about the lo-fi and stylised Holy Bible perfectly! JDB: "Gold Against The Soul was slightly hollow. I think we're a band best following our own lead. We're a band best following an idea or we have a little mini-manifesto before a record. With that record we didn't. We just kind of knew we had to do a second record and keep the momentum going and we fell into that very clichéd trap. I think the record has some good guitar work in it but it's not enough. It's holding up a bit of an empty fortress. The Holy Bible was a rearguard action against ourselves to a certain extent. We knew we'd failed ourselves and fallen into the biggest rock 'n' roll cliché in the world: the difficult second album. So I kind of think to create something that was born of a big idea I suppose. Sometimes you need some creative failure to spur you on. On the first and second album we'd had all the trappings of being a newly-signed act for Sony, we just felt we had to strip ourselves and disavow ourselves of all those trappings of being a signed act to a major record label. It was definitely the best thing we could have done. We actually recorded on smaller tape; we didn't record on conventional tape. We recorded on tape you'd use for demos usually and recorded on very small 16-track decks. Working within those limitations made everything so vital." With The Wire (who habitually wore a football manager-style coat, loaned from his Dad, to keep warm in the "freezing studio") recently reflecting: "It makes you realise the power of youth, feeling fearless and, in blunt terms, not giving a shit. Which obviously dims with age and having kids and responsibilities, and all that. It does make you realise the power of the four of us locked away from mainstream Britain in the early 1990s, and how glorious that feeling was... It just felt like a brilliant environment, to create what felt like some sort of piece of art." James: "I think it's a snapshot of the time and it's a snapshot of Richey to a certain degree as well, in terms of the lyrics and the tone that it set. I associate it with those times and all of the information that Richey was digesting, and then Nick trying to balance things out a bit." DJ Huw Stephens noted: "The album's subject matter didn't darken the mood in the studio, when four friends got together to record what would become one of the band's most celebrated works." Nicky: "At that time, we'd still be sitting down and watching rugby or football as well... We were getting chips from Canton, reading the NME and watching crap telly." James: "It's true, being in the studio wasn't like the Marlon Brando scene from Apocalypse Now or something. It wasn't backlit with shadows everywhere. We were going to Servini's Café in Cardiff and still getting excited about eating half a tuna melt!" At the end of making THB, James, Nicky, Richey and Sean bought Alex a bottle of Champagne, among other gifts, as a thank you for all of his hard work. However, when he arrived home that day, his long-term partner announced that she was leaving him as he'd spent so little time with her! With Alex jesting that the Manics had "left him with a bottle of Champagne and a broken heart!" Also clarifying to Wales Online: "The last day alone was a straight-through 36-hour session and when I got home my girlfriend of five years, with whom I’d just bought a house, said she’d had enough and walked out. That’s still James’ favourite topic of conversation whenever he talks about me - in the nicest possible way, of course." Discussing the mixing stages of The Holy Bible with Mark Freegard, and then, its critical reception, Nicky imparted: "That year in particular, obviously, was the year of Nirvana’s In Utero and everything else - it was a pretty bleak year and it just seemed to all come together at the same time. I remember we were in Britannia Row, which was where Joy Division recorded Closer, we were there when we heard that Kurt Cobain had killed himself. We were mixing The Intense Humming Of Evil, or some other really bleak track. It was a pretty bleak moment - it actually felt like a lot of connections were falling into place... In terms of the press in the UK, I think the difference was that it was the album they’d always wanted us to make. When we first started, I guess they’d been not disappointed, but you know, Generation Terrorists was so cosmetic and glam, and Gold Against The Soul was this cavernous, empty and miserable stadium rock. I think the fact was that the band that they’d wanted to love, all of a sudden they could love. We’d always been a band to cherish critically, but I don’t think we’d ever made the record - maybe with the exception of Motorcycle Emptiness - that people wanted... It's certainly one of those cult albums, that if you liked it, I think you love it forever!" In a Quietus editorial entitled, There Are No Horizons: The Holy Bible At 20, one penman contemplated: "The Holy Bible has what British groups always used to have over everyone else: a kind of mobility, a liveliness, an aversion to wasted space. It's still hard rock, but it's hard rock coarsened and enriched with the urgency of post-punk and the mordancy of metal. Aside from anything else, it suited the band a whole lot better: the Manics were always capable of generating power, in a seething, pummelling kind of way, but in strict stylistic terms they never really rocked. Sean's drumming was too rigid for that, Nicky's bass lines nailed to the beat - they always sounded like punks at heart. The Holy Bible finds a way to harness that and elevate it. They'd never sound this sharp again... Almost all these songs view their subject through a prism of disquiet, but only three or four are purely introspective... The Manics understand their medium so well, they rarely sound less than totally convincing. Out of the babel and the noise comes a truth, or a set of truths, which have seldom been expressed so abstractly yet with such intense immediacy." Also worth mentioning and something which is a little known fact, is how MSP's longstanding producer, Dave Eringa, had a minor role in the making of The Holy Bible. Although uncredited, he did a recall for the final mix of She Is Suffering as Mark Freegard was unavailable: "I wind James up by saying that that means I worked (in however stupidly small way) on The Bible! The song's atmosphere and texture, was created using a synth pad that runs in the background through the entire track." Dave also mixed Faster/P.C.P.'s bone-rattling and driving b-side, Sculpture Of Man, as well as demoing Judge Yr'self in its original form before the final 2003 mix: "We did a more programmed version of Judge Yr'self during the January 1995 demo session. It was the same arrangement, but more electronic in the drums. It was just a case of finding what worked best for the song. We were just demoing as a tester for the Judge Dredd movie, so it's quite normal to try out a couple of different treatments!"

23. After his initial concerns as to whether or not he'd be capable of even turning some of Richey's lyrics into singable songs: "You crazy fucker. How do you expect me to write music to this!?!" As pure year zero and the "most natural thing" that MSP have ever done, JDB later revealed: "Other than Lifeblood, The Holy Bible was the only other time I've had to re-design what I do. That album gave me so much confidence. Once I'd done that, I knew that - in terms of pure musicality - writing a song to whatever words I was given, there was nothing for me to be scared about any more." When asked which Manics lyric has been the hardest to put music to, Sean answered: "Yes was a challenge, hence the time-signature of the song" - with its melody and repeated verse guitar riff / note pattern motif, also rooted in The Penguin Orchestra Cafe's Music For A Found Harmonium, as at the time James was writing the music for Yes, he kept hearing this instrumental track being played on the radio. 227 Lears - a fansite of collected writings about The Holy Bible - even noted how in addition to the television material sampled, the lyrics excerpt fragments from a newspaper article. As Wire indicated in an interview with Metal Hammer in September 1994: "Yes, for example: we had just read this article about prostitutes in Nottingham and it was written around that. Prostitutes are derided by society as a very low form of human life, but most people do the same thing every day of their lives - they just don’t do it in a sexual way. But in all honesty, the lyrics are about being in a band and prostituting yourself every day. It completely is. There’s one line in there, 'There’s no part of my body that has not been used.' We feel like that really, being in a band - there’s not much left with any purity." 227 Lears also unearths how the article, ‘Children for sale on the streets of UK cities’, written by journalist Nick Davies appeared in The Mail on Sunday in November 1993 and could equally have suggested the song’s key opening phrase. Edwards used other elements to help shape his startling vision. Davies first reports on the harrowing activities of two boys, Jamie and Luke, one of whom recounts the first time that he was asked to “T” somebody, explaining that this stands for ‘toss’. Edwards in turn elaborated on this: ‘I “T” them 24/7 all year long’. Later in the piece, Davies quotes a senior official of Notts County Council who says of the difficulties faced in confronting the issue of child prostitution: ‘Our community homes now contain a combination of the most damaged, deprived, depraved and delinquent children, and they are incredibly difficult to work with. And our problem is that we are the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We pick up the pieces when they have been damaged. At best, we may find a remedy. At worst, we are just running a damage-limitation exercise.’ The report also features references to ‘old ladies’, a young girl evading ‘24/7’ watch by her social worker, a child being ‘conceived’ of a pimp and prostitute, a boy being raped ‘on video’.

24. Career-wise and despite having tasted some success, the group still felt like failures, with Richey pondering: "In maybe twenty years we might have an impact on somebody because of what we believe or what we say, but we’re not important now." Placing his first love of penning lyrics way above performing, travelling and doing press - while aware that the extremely high calibre and depth of MSP's vocabulary, was what elevated them to another plane and massively separated them as sui generis, from their peers also operating within the rock sphere. Even postulating in a 1992 interview with Siren magazine: "I can't see any way that music can go forward, we always thought that the only way that rock music could go forward was with the lyrics." Irrespective of people's acceptance or understanding, Richey (who was incapable of 'switching off' and now devouring a book a day / using references that sometimes JDB and The Wire couldn't even grasp), constantly strove "to write a flawless lyric that would scan rhythmically with James' music, and summed-up exactly how he felt about himself and the world around him." Always treating songwriting as an artform and never aspiring to be compared to any other lyricists - he was especially proud of Archives Of Pain and Die In The Summertime. Nicky (enjoying domestic bliss, preferring instead to concentrate more on his bass playing and "not so much on his game" with lyrics and reading, concluding that his songwriting partner's creative flow and contributions were perfect anyway), even perceptively noted that with THB, Richey invented "A new lyrical language." Infused with intent and ideas, and containing a multitude of searingly memorable, honest and endlessly fascinating words, one of the greatest, most quoted and famous lines of them all remains: 'I know I believe in nothing but it is my nothing'. This was also nearly used as the title for the long player that became known as Journal For Plague Lovers, which in many ways, is a companion-piece to The Holy Bible - with some fans and music scribes even affectionately referring to them as 'Richey's albums', or as 'Richey's Old and New Testaments'. Renowned for their love of strong LP and song titles, with regard to tracks on THB, Nicky's suggestions for Yes and Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart, mean that these are some of the shortest and longest titles ever in the Manic Street Preachers' song index!

25. Speaking about trying to connect with, then convey, the complexity of the lyrical content (which refused the brevity typically associated with the concise nature of most song lyrics), James unveiled: "It's just about believing it as much as the author believes it. Sometimes it really was not about questioning anything in the lyric, but just going along with it because you knew there was this militancy here that would only work if you're 100 percent committed to it. For me, it just feels like something that could only ever have been done in Europe. There's a morass of remains. We went through two world wars, and it's man's greatest achievement that we now live in Europe in peace. But the record says that there are ghosts there: it's built on blood, bones and rubble and we still live with those things." Sean has since described the topics tackled in these lyrics as being "as far as Richey's character could go." And even though Nicky has revealed Richey's oft gallows humour, i.e. when handing him the lyric sheet for the macabre Archives Of Pain, how he had a big smile on his face and announced: "Here you go Wire, you'll like this one!" Then, with Revol which covered the sexual peccadilloes of Totalitarian leaders: "You'll love it!" Nicky has still expressed fears that having put so much of himself into his words over the years, that towards the end of 1994, Richey had finally become "an empty shell inside." JDB has even talked about the immense amount of pressure placed on Richey by some people at the time, who after scrutinising the extremities dredged up and ingrained within his lyrics and believing his words to be prophetic, would ghoulishly urge: "If he truly means all of these things, then he'll do something drastic to prove that he is '4 REAL'." When interviewed in '94, Richey was "certain that the group's visit to Belsen, Dachau and Hiroshima, influenced their entire perspective of the role of themselves as individuals and as a band." While James reflected: "The title, The Holy Bible, seems like a very good metaphor for a lot of things. We took the Ten Commandments and realised that they had contradictory failures in Western terms. The album is designed to challenge complacency at all levels. It sounds really pompous and it is, but it gave us a good sounding board for all of the lyrics. It's a sarcastic Valentine to religion itself." However, he was later taken aback after Richey "persuaded him that there's no catharsis in art." "We made the new album without the record company's permission, laid down our own money for it. It's completely uncompromising in every sense, and it's our best album yet. I really hoped Richey would find some kind of redemption in it, but he didn't. And that's upsetting." With regard to Richey's more personal lyrics, when playing Yes live, James is now understandably sometimes unable to sing the tormented line: "I hurt myself to get pain out," which deals with Richey expressing frustrations about his need to self-harm, as he "can't shout, can't scream." With JDB adding: "People will say to me: 'Do you think you did everything you could to stop Richey doing this?' I say: 'Yeah.' Then they'll go: 'Are you sure?' And at that point I just want to fill their faces in." On a lighter note and in relation to the extensive cultural, historical, political and societal signposts + literary references used throughout The Holy Bible, over the years, an inexhaustible amount of MSP Fans, bookworms and English Lit students have all been led to discover a variety of texts, which once caused James to label this long player as "one of the great reader albums." In fact, in February 2017, an unofficial academic book entitled, 'Triptych: Three Studies of Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible' was published. Whereby three authors "reconsider The Holy Bible from three separate, intersecting angles, combining the personal with the political, history with memory, and popular accessibility with intellectual attention to the album's depth and complexity." 2019 will also see the publication of a pair of brand new MSP tomes, kicking off in January with 'Withdrawn Traces: Searching for the Truth about Richey Manic' (which includes a foreword by Rachel Edwards and is the first book written with the co-operation of the Edwards family, testimony from Richey’s closest friends and unprecedented and exclusive access to Richey’s personal archive). Then, in April, the long-running title, 33 1/3 (a series of short books about popular music, focusing on individual albums) will be exploring The Holy Bible.

26. Length-wise, The Holy Bible clocks in at 56:17, with Revol being the shortest song at 3:04 and The Intense Humming Of Evil the longest at 6:12. On completion, JDB was convinced that the record was a "positive" artistic statement and would do well, as although even sometimes 'speaking in tongues', when people did hear the messages in the songs, they would think: "Finally, the truth!" Elaborating: "We're quite an academic band and when we start recording an album, we treat it like an essay almost. We start with the title, then we write the songs. So, the title of the album is like a question for us and then under that title, we try and answer all of the questions - only for ourselves through all of the songs. The inspiration for the title, The Holy Bible, came from this little news bite we read that said: 'There are more holy wars going on in the world one time last year, than at any other time in recorded history.' That kind of set our minds off and we just looked at the Ten Commandments and they have all failed and contradicted themselves in Western terms. If you compare Christianity with Islam, Christianity has failed in its own eyes. Whereas Islam, is still strong in its own people's eyes. I'm not expounding any kind of religion, that's just a fact. So basically, we just thought that we'd try and give our version of the Ten Commandments, or Thirteen Commandments. You know, The Holy Bible, divine truth - well, this is our divine truth! It was just a good framework to work under." James even once summarised the LP as "A Holy Chalice burning through everything it touches." The meaning behind every lyric was also printed in track-by-track notes for journalists (subsequently published in The Holy Bible tour book), with all explanations by Richey and thus further emphasising the ferocity of his mind / intelligence. Echoing James' thoughts, Richey judiciously commented: "If the Holy Bible is true, it should be about the way the world is, and I think that’s what my lyrics are about." Adding: "I went to church for 13-years, I've read most holy books there are, but I don't find much in it apart from cruelty. That's the centre of human existence. It's not a religious album, but the imagery is very important to us." Interestingly, even though Edwards began carrying a book of biblical quotes on tour with him in late '94, when commenting on Richey's fixation with organised religion and his misgivings about the church, Nicky once divulged: "He’s always had this thing about it. I’ve never really talked to him about it, but he’s always made out that it really pissed him off and fucked him up." However, Richey's sister, Rachel, has since gone on record to dispute this theory.

27. The now iconic album cover, designed by Richey while hospitalised, features a 1993-94 oil on canvas triptych by British artist Jenny Saville, depicting three perspectives on the body of an obese woman in her underwear and is titled Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face). After seeing the painting in a weekend Independent Sunday supplement magazine, Edwards contacted the Saatchi Collection to buy it, but was put off by the £30,000 asking price. Saville originally declined the band's request to use the artwork, but changed her mind after a 30-minute phone call from Richey in which he described every track on the record in detail, giving them permission to use it for free. Nicky: "I don't think it was until The Holy Bible, that we probably hit our stride in terms of artwork. We both saw the picture in the Independent Magazine on Sunday first off, and I remember I phoned Richey up and said: 'That's brilliant!' and he went: 'Yeah, I loved it!' He phoned her up the next week and it was a marriage made in heaven. The painting seemed so striking and the album seemed so messed-up at the time." 227 Lears noted how in 2010, Wire reiterated this fact to writer Dan Richards: "I remember the day vividly... because in the magazine, was a special on Jenny Saville - the first time we’d been exposed to her - and we both phoned each other up and said, ‘Those paintings are amazing.’ It was a sort of psychic thing that me and him had." 227 Lears also adds that the article was written by critic David Sylvester and published on 20 January 1994, with Saville explaining to Richards: "The first time I did the Manics thing, I was living in Glasgow. I’d just done the show at the Saatchi Gallery and Richey Edwards called me up and we had a conversation about anorexia and I wasn’t initially keen on doing an album cover but then, after talking to him, I really wanted to do it because we had a lot of interests that were similar - about technology and the body, writers we liked - and he faxed me the lyrics to 4st 7lb and I read that and said: ‘I’ll do it. Use the triptych, you can have it.’" This particular painting showing a confrontational image of obesity, was chosen by the Manics' aesthetes, Edwards and Wire, because of its portrayal of 'beauty in perceived ugliness'. And, as is the case with all MSP artwork and sleeve quotes, it complements the character and lyrical / musical inspiration of the album within - also adding to the total immersive experience. The back cover features a photograph (painted on by the late artist, model and stylist Barry Kamen) of the group in military uniforms and a quote taken from the introduction of Octave Mirbeau's book, The Torture Garden. This long player is also the first instance of the Manic Street Preachers using Gill Sans typeface with a (Cyrillic-style) reversed 'R' in their album art. The font would be reused on later LPs and has become an easily recognised motif of Manics' artwork. The typeface is similar to one used on 1980's Empires And Dance by Simple Minds, one of James Dean Bradfield's favourite records (coincidentally, the band's third LP and also recorded in Wales), with the sleeve's warfare visuals, sophisticated / clean minimal design and white background, another obvious likeness to The Holy Bible's cover. JDB: "Yes, we did plagiarise the sleeve art for The Holy Bible. A little nod." An additional element worth mentioning, is that of all MSP's albums, this is the only one to incorporate the tracklisting on the front (as did each of THB's accompanying singles) - which with sleeve art, is generally quite a rarity in itself! Finally, when originally released in '94, both The Holy Bible's title and its cover, caused controversy due to the religious overtones of the long player's name and the image of the obese woman in her underwear, which some people called "morbid and grotesque." When interviewed by Music Week in April 2018, Nicky ruminated: "Calling our third album The Holy Bible was brave in retrospect, but when Richey suggested it, I didn't even think about it, it just seemed totally natural. I remember there was one territory in Europe that wouldn't release The Holy Bible because of the title - perhaps a Catholic country, I don't know - and that was the first time I thought: 'Fuck me, it is a funny old title.' But at the time, it wasn't a debate at all. Fair play to Sony/Epic, they never said a word. It was a much freer time in terms of artistic license."

28. The CD lyrics booklet (which unusually, has the songs in non-running order) features various images each relating to their corresponding tracks: Of Walking Abortion = A photograph of Margarete Clark, who has a Siamese twin appendage growing out of her belly (originally taken at the James Strates Shows in 1949 and later published in Daniel P. Mannix’s 1976 book, Freaks: We Who Are Not As Others)*. She Is Suffering = An illustration of Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns. Yes = An abstract piece of fine art of a cum shot. 4st 7lb = A picture of an apple. Faster = A painted portrait of Soviet serial killer Andrei Chikatilo - the ‘Butcher of Rostov’ as it appeared in a series of True Crime trading cards, released by Eclipse in the US in 1992*. This Is Yesterday = An illustration of the Sacred Heart (religious iconography). P.C.P. = A photograph of British Police Officers in wartime (WWII) gas mask training. The Intense Humming Of Evil = A still of the gate at Dachau concentration camp. Mausoleum = A plan of the gas chambers at Belsen concentration camp. Die In The Summertime = Photographs of each of the Manic Street Preachers as children. Archives Of Pain = An engraving depicting an execution by guillotine in Revolutionary France. Ifwhiteamerica... = A skewed version of Richey's US handgun image. Revol = A photograph of Lenin's corpse, the first Soviet Union leader who was embalmed in 1924. The booklet also contains black & white portraits of James, Nicky, Richey and Sean, images of crosses / gravestones, album credits and a Buddhist saying from the Tripitaka alongside a dedication to the band's co-manager / publicist, Philip Hall, who had died of cancer on December 7, 1993. In 'Withdrawn Traces: Searching for the Truth about Richey Manic', it is revealed how Edwards had designated A4 folders filled with ideas, pictures and scribbled notes etc. for each MSP album, including The Holy Bible. As well as scans showing design layouts and lyrics being proof-checked by Richey in early July '94, he had also asked Sony's legal department to check for permission to use the Octave Mirbeau, Torture Garden quote. Also of interest, is that at one stage, it would seem that the record was going to be dedicated to the memory of both Philip Hall and to Richey's close friend from University, Nigel Bethune. We even learn how Edwards had penned instructions for James when composing the finish to Of Walking Abortion: 'Maybe end like Rage Against The Machine - Killing In The Name Of?' and how JDB had a revised lyric sheet for The Intense Humming Of Evil, as requested.
*Details courtesy of 227 Lears https://227lears.com/

29. All artwork for the front covers of The Holy Bible singles was licensed (relatively inexpensively) from German artist Martin Kippenberger, and each picture is oil / mixed media collage on canvas dating from 1982-83. Part four of the five-part, Fliegender Tanga (Flying Tanga), was used for the first single and tri-fold Digipack, Faster/P.C.P. Sympatische Kommunistin (Nice Communist Woman), appeared on part one of the two-part single Revol. And, Titten, Türme, Tortellini (Tits, Towers, Tortellini) - credited under its French title, Des tètons, des tours, des tortellini - was the cover artwork on both parts of the two-part, third and final single She Is Suffering. The limited edition part ones for Revol and She Is Suffering (7" radio edit), are housed in Z-cases with spaces to hold CD2, which were released a week later (at one time, a record label tactic to try and keep singles high in The Charts). Both have additional inner and back cover artwork, including a D-Day stamp and a Joanne Celnik painting, Balance, respectively. CD2 for Revol (which has a front cover featuring a live photograph of James performing at Glastonbury '94) and She Is Suffering (which has a front cover featuring sections of Des tètons, des tours, des tortellini, with modified colours in a row of circles), are each packaged in maxi single slimline cases. All CD sets have 'hype stickers'. Notably, an MSP Fan once detected that the sleeve design for the 1961 LP, The Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Further Out, may have possibly influenced Richey's own design ideas for the Revol and She Is Suffering front covers. Opting for a different aesthetic approach on the limited edition numbered 10" vinyls, these instead feature a montage of Manics tour pictures (P.C.P./Faster) and music video stills (Revol, She Is Suffering). Every format - CD, vinyl and cassette - also comes adorned with a customary related literary sleeve quote and has extra tracks. Faster/P.C.P. was the only single to be issued as a 7" and there is also a 3trk 12" DJ promo of The Dust Brothers (now known as The Chemical Brothers) mixes, in a grey sleeve tagged with the sticker 'M.S.P. done & dusted' (a revamped alternate version was issued for RSD 2020). The 1994 UK release dates for The Holy Bible singles were: Faster (June 6), Revol (August 1) and She Is Suffering (October 3). In Europe, only CD1 for Revol and She Is Suffering (available as either the aforementioned 2trk or a 4trk tour edition), were issued and came in maxi single slimline cases.

30. Having first begun to outline their intentions for The Holy Bible, lyrically and musically, to management / reporters from late 1993 onwards - songwriting had already commenced in the summer of '93 with tracks including Yes (the very first song to be written for THB) and Die In The Summertime. The record's title / tracklisting and August release date were officially announced in mid July '94, but on July 19, following a particularly alarming bout of heavy drinking and self-mutilation, after going missing for 48-hours and locking himself away in his flat. A vulnerable and sapped Richey - who had long been prone to bouts of crying - was admitted to Whitchurch Hospital in Cardiff, then to The Priory Clinic in Roehampton on July 28, for 10-weeks of rehabilitation to help him overcome and recover from his self-destructive problems (depression, cutting himself, alcohol dependency, drug use and borderline-anorexia nervosa). While also still mourning the deaths of the Manics' mentor Philip Hall and his best friend at University, Nigel, who had hung himself earlier that year. By this point, he weighed only 6st and was teetering on the edge. James: "Richey's a very academic person, he loves routines and timetables. When we were working he always had timetables that he had to follow. But then we had some time off and he'd spend his time taking drugs and drinking and doing a bit of slashing here and there and that's how it all started really. We've always been a very clinical band because we've always believed in creating some kind of self myth. We've always admitted that, but then it went way beyond that and got to a point where it became really irrational. Before, everything he did was quite rational, he always did things to make a point which we weren't ashamed of. Then he started doing it in private." Long-believing that "There's a certain kind of beauty in taking complete control of every aspect of your life. Purifying or hurting your body to achieve a balance in your mind is tremendously disciplined." Briefly emancipated from this 'redeeming' thought process, with regard to his breakdown, Richey eventually unassumingly elucidated to the NME: "I wasn't coping very well, and I thought my body was probably stronger than it actually was. My mind was quite strong. I pushed my body further than it was meant to go." Though addressed by Hall or Nothing as "nervous exhaustion" in a press release, some supercilious, disrespectful and detestable detractors insensitively and shamefully revelled in reporting this as a suicide attempt or astringently pontificated that it was all part of an elaborate publicity-stunt. But the band, though self-confessed press junkies and appreciating 'dirt dishing' sensationalist scandal, were mortified by the distasteful, flagrant lies and obscene misinformation printed in accusatory, inflammatory, exploitative, unkind, slanderous and harmful stories, which were anathema to both them and to Richey's family. And, although for the duration of The Holy Bible era MSP were the subject of a slew of headlines, column inches and write-ups. Because of his susceptibly to being perceived as a 'tortured artist', music magazines/papers later began to single-out Richey on front covers for his saleability, much to the group's irritation and indignation who took umbrage at this. Amid rampant rumours and growing / gnawing media speculation that MSP wouldn't continue without Richey (who abstained from doing interviews for some time after this), a frustrated and reproachful JDB retaliated: "If he hurts himself then he hurts us too, not professionally but personally. There's certainly more than a 50 percent chance that we would've split up if he'd left the band. From the band side of things that's the only time resentment ever came into it. Actually, it's not really resentment, it's more that now and again I was thinking 'being in a band just isn't any good for him, we should just pack it in' but he didn't want that to happen at all. That was the only time when things became compounded to such a degree that it felt like they were going to explode." Tenaciously soldiering on regardless (thanks to their Protestant work ethic) and playing as a three-piece in the throes of these circumstances, to honour their remaining summer festival commitments - Nicky: "Reading '94 was the peak of anger-worry and disillusionment, but still great" - and to pay for his treatment. After visiting Richey during his stay however, although naturally worried and distressed, James, Nicky and Sean sceptically called into question how beneficial the 'Twelve-Step Programme' treatment actually was to his mental health and well-being. With a despondent Richey, himself even swiftly deconstructing and deciphering its inherent faults, as well as the therapy's over-reliance on, and liberal use of, antidepressants: 'Pass the Prozac, designer amnesiac.' After having spent 6-weeks there, on September 8, Edwards discharged himself early from The Priory Clinic. JDB theorised about his inner-turmoil, emotional oversensitivity and the burden of adulthood: "I think he just feels things so fucking intensely. He always had this vision of purity or perfection, a kind of childlike vision, that became completely obliterated." Adding: "A psychiatrist is always going to pick a target to establish the problem and we were scared that the target would be us. In the end, thank God, it was something else." Later conceding that upon leaving the psychiatric clinic, Richey had "come back a completely different person," even as far as wanting to be called Richard. A riled, disgruntled and dejected Nicky, even accused The Priory Clinic of "ripping the soul out of him." Upon reflection however, with deep-seated antipathy, James bemoaned and vehemently asserted his utter disdain for anyone who judged or denigrated Richey: "The only thing that perhaps pissed me off in terms of what's happened to him, is in relation to the terms that people are gonna view Richey. They'll think that he's a walking capital letter 'I' - all ego. And yet on the new album for me, his two best songs are written from his point of view, but through other people, not himself: Ifwhiteamerica... and The Intense Humming Of Evil. I think he's maybe deflected attention away from the way he can write about other people and turned it all on himself. It's the only thing I'm angry about, because that makes him look very vain." Also speaking in defence of his best friend and favourite lyricist, Nicky posited: "As a kind of physical and internalised hatred and dissection of humanity, The Holy Bible is pretty untouchable... We thought about delaying it until September or October, but Richey was insistent that it should be 'business as usual' and we're just hoping that he'll be fit for the tour." And, although he could have easily corroborated JDB's assumption about his unsung qualities. Instead, not wanting to wallow, an unembittered Richey - who by now, had penned such staggering, heart-breaking and contemplative clear-cut lines as: 'I don't know what I'm scared of or what I even enjoy.' 'The only certain thing that is left about me / There's no part of my body that has not been used / Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame / Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave' (Yes). 'I wanna be so skinny that I rot from view.' 'I want to walk in the snow / And not leave a footprint / I want to walk in the snow / And not soil its purity.' 'Choice is skeletal in everybody's life.' 'Self-worth scatters, self-esteem's a bore / I long since moved to a higher plateau.' 'Yeh 4st 7, an epilogue of youth / Such beautiful dignity in self-abuse / I've finally come to understand life / Through staring blankly at my navel' (4st 7lb). 'Scratch my leg with a rusty nail, sadly it heals / Colour my hair but the dye grows out / I can't seem to stay a fixed ideal.' 'Childhood pictures redeem, clean and so serene / See myself without ruining lines / Whole days throwing sticks into streams.' 'The hole in my life even stains the soil / My heart shrinks to barely a pulse.' As well as: 'I have crawled so far sideways / I recognise dim traces of creation' (Die In The Summertime). Measuredly, modestly and felicitously averred: "I'm not really worried what people think about me. Because I judge myself harsher, and on more strict terms, than they ever could probably... I have a very childlike rage and a very childlike loneliness... I guess I identify with victims." Likewise, the THB era saw the rise of an infamous fan collective / obsessional subculture known simply as 'CoR - Cult of Richey', who themselves identified with Edwards. James: "Around the time of The Holy Bible, it was slightly disquieting the kind of stuff that would be attached to us in terms of some fans. I was never comfortable with that." This period would also later become the marker for Manic Street Preachers' pre / post Holy Bible phases (first act before second act) and fanbases (old fans vs. new fans). Nicky has even termed fixated and loyal THB devotees, who are extremely precious about the long player, as 'Bible Ites'.

31. By way of promotion and based on Rob Stringer's (currently Chairman of Columbia Records) suggestion, every word from every song was reproduced as a centre-spread advertisement in the music press (and the Reading Festival '94 programme), in the lead-up to the release of the album - although all explicit words were blacked out. Mirroring the printed lyrics theme, each single - Faster/P.C.P., Revol and She Is Suffering - also had its own full-page and mini press adverts. NME even gave away a free 4trk flexidisc 7" sampler entitled, 'Verses From The Holy Bible', which was sellotaped to the front cover of their August 27, 1994, issue. The excerpts were: 1. She Is Suffering 2. Yes 3. Archives Of Pain 4. Ifwhiteamericawastotellthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart. The latter song is erroneously titled. Also of interest, is that whereas advertisements, promo, reviews etc. used to remind buyers of new releases out on a Monday, as The Holy Bible's release date coincided with a Bank Holiday Weekend, it was instead available from most record shops on the Tuesday.

32. THB was put out on the same day as Oasis' Definitely Maybe: August 30, 1994, just as Britpop was really starting to take-off. The long player (issued via the Epic label and MSP's "most complete album by a long way" according to Richey), reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart and remained in the chart for 11-weeks, but didn't chart in mainland Europe or North America (as an import). It did however make a tiny dent in the Japanese marketplace, where it was released on September 8, 1994 (with 3 bonus live tracks recorded at Glastonbury '94), peaking at No. 50 on the Albums Chart. Also of note, is that whereas some parts of Europe - including Bulgaria, Poland and Spain - had cassettes produced exclusively for each country. Conversely, as a devoutly religious country, Italy ostensibly refused to sell the LP at all based on the grounds that the title, The Holy Bible, could be construed as deeply offensive or even sacrilegious by Italians. The record also had a small-scale release in Australia (featuring an explicit content warning CD jewel case sticker) and Asia (where unique Indonesian, Israeli and Thai MCs were manufactured for the latter), although in China, was only available as an unofficial bootleg CD. Though widely-praised by critics upon release and having a Sony Music Entertainment Global Marketing Plan, it sold poorly. A 'radio-friendly unit shifter' this was not.

33. Advance Holy Bible promo cassettes, limited edition CD / vinyl picture discs with 'hype stickers' still intact, the UK MC, the aforementioned Japan-only CD, official out-of-print Thai album / maxi single cassettes and an Indonesian MC (all featuring artwork variations). An original withdrawn CD pressing of the US Mix of THB (a small number crept into circulation and surfaced in Canadian record stores in March 1995, but the pushed back date of July for the full, widespread North American release was eventually scrapped). All singles and promos - including the Faster/P.C.P. promo CD which has an infrared coloured sleeve - and live bootlegs. Along with highly-coveted ephemera, such as the above-stated pre-release PR information card, press releases, a Japanese-only promo postcard set, posters, flyers, record shop display standees (including a jumbo reproduction of Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face) by Jenny Saville), tour itineraries, AAA laminates, hand-written set lists, ticket stubs and magazine/newspaper/fanzine clippings etc. Plus of course, any items signed by all 4 members, remain some of the most prized MSP collectibles amongst ardent fans!

34. In America, Faster had an exclusive promo CD featuring an action-packed live shot of James on the front cover, plus an alternate music video cut from live footage filmed at The London Astoria, December 1994. Directed by Tony Van Den Ende, it contains some of the final released footage of Richey and was the last promo video that he would be captured on film for. In relation to other alternate music videos, in early 2008, the director of the UK promotional clips for Faster and Revol, Chris D'Adda, posted 'Director's Cut Versions' for each of these videos on his (now deleted) official YouTube channel, with the supplementary notes: "Faster - The original cut of the video before the record company had their way with it! Revol - Original edit of Revol containing various still images which do not appear in the TV release version. Richey came up with pages and pages of ideas for this video including the two blood drenched girls in UN uniform but as usual, it was all a big compromise mainly due to budget restraints. That snow-drift in the corner is made out of salt by the way and I think I remember the flying over mountains bit being archive footage from one of the Superman films!" Both 'Director's Cut Versions' can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/manicstreetmania

35. While touring in early 1994, the group visited army surplus stores and bought clothing / medals to wear onstage, in homage to The Clash and Echo & The Bunnymen's camo apparel / battledress. This military image / impeccable restyle (which later extended to how MSP's gigs and dressing rooms were lit and decked-out) "represented the control and discipline that they were trying to get back" after becoming too 'rockist', as well as "reaffirming their existence" and symbolising "a metaphorical war against everything around them." Nonetheless, at the time, some music hacks / news correspondents did query the mix 'n' match / mismatched approach to the band's uniforms, and also, the hypocrisy of adopting this new look after they had previously written a song, La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh), which sympathised with the plight of war veterans and featured the lyric: "I sold my medal / It paid a bill / It sells at market stalls / Parades Milan catwalks." Unperturbed, Nicky is confident that this is "the best that any band has ever looked" and has since rhapsodised: "I remember when we had The Holy Bible era, just being able to go to army stores and buy all that military regalia and feeling like it was us against the world. Defined within a uniform, if you like - and James’ sailor suit and stuff. That was really fucking cheap. They used to love us in the Army & Navy stores, especially the one in Cardiff. They’d be like: ‘Oh, here you are, we’ve got some new camo in…’" With JDB disclosing how Sean would inevitably buy the most expensive medals, who himself once joked that rather than being the Manic Street Preachers, they had actually metamorphosed into the Manic Street Army. This attire and strengthening aesthetic was used consistently by the group during the promotion of The Holy Bible, including in their press shots, music videos and television appearances. A sneering and enraged performance of Faster on the BBC's Top of the Pops in June '94, resulted in a record number of complaints - over 25,000 - and was extremely controversial at the time. Even making headlines around the country, including in the local newspaper for Blackwood (e.g. 'MANIC THREAT TO THE NATION'), which thrilled Nicky and Richey, due to the Malcolm McLaren-esque scandal after Bradfield wore a paramilitary 'IRA-style' balaclava. James was absolutely right, Faster was infamous "Top of the Pops Gold" and eyeball spinning, retina searing, whiplash viewing - although the next day, Sony were sent into flurries of panic and warned MSP: "You'll never get on Top of the Pops again!"

36. Talking about wearing the balaclava (which is now a far less intimidating tea cosy at Faster Studio), James later pondered if subconsciously, this was perhaps his own way of "daubing actor's paint" to help distance himself from the personal nature of the lyrics that he hadn't actually penned.

37. Many of Mitch Ikeda's (Manic Street Preachers official photographer) favourite photo sessions and pictures that he's taken of the group date from The Holy Bible era, due to the band's striking look. Visually - and because of the strong symmetry they had onstage with Richey as well - James, Nicky and Sean also believe that this is the Manics at their peak!

38. Beginning in late September 1994, the Manics supported Therapy? in France for 11 gigs, followed by 16 of their own UK / Ireland headline shows (with special guests Sleeper + Dub War) throughout October. Before a further 22 European dates supporting Suede during November and early December - which by all accounts, with a general air of malaise, was somewhat of a tainted and gruelling slog for MSP and their crew (especially as they were having to keep a cautious eye on Richey round the clock). A plaintive, ailing and yearning Nicky, who himself was languishing, aching and underweight due to anxiety, confessed: "It wasn't making me happy anymore. It was a long tour. Nearly breaking point for the band." With JDB lamenting: "It was the first time I'd thought we weren't all reading from the same page. Richey was marking gigs then (having previously marked every day out of ten) and not a lot of them were getting very good marks. We were enjoying them and he was giving them shit marks. I just thought: 'This ain't making him happy.'" And, while Richey would recurrently take naps on the couch at Sound Space Studios as The Holy Bible was in the process of being recorded, touring was a whole different ball game. Nicky: "He just lived in his bunk the whole time, it was like a rabbit hutch. He was on 60 cigarettes a day, 20 cups of coffee and then he'd complain that he couldn't sleep! He'd stand under this vent on the bus just puffing away." Sean: "He was always trying to get me to teach him how to play Come As You Are by Nirvana. He was obsessed by nailing that. Never did, mind." The band were offered an extended run of gigs across Europe by their concert promoter, but due to the strains on their relationship with Richey, his continued self-harm, anorexia, alcoholism, idiosyncrasies and deteriorating mental health. Who surprisingly, was keen to carry on with life on the road and had been practising guitar more / learning new chords, since his stay in The Priory Clinic. It was ultimately decided, that twinned with James, Nicky and Sean's crumbling morale / exasperation and the fact that on the morning of December 1, Nicky found Richey outside the group's hotel in Hamburg, Germany, repeatedly banging his head on the wall with blood streaming down his face, pleading to go home, that this wouldn't be a wise-decision. Therefore, 3 of the Manic Street Preachers' own shows in Linz, Prague and Vienna, which were booked to take place on December 6, 7 and 9 respectively after the Suede tour had finished, were cancelled (the rescheduled dates for February '95 would also later be axed). A moment of comic relief did come one night however before this nix, assuaging some of the psychological unease, when JDB's white sailor suit which he bought because he thought Richey looked amazingly cool in his black one (though later joked that although this annoyed Richey, it wasn't nearly as attractive on himself anyway). After gradually rotting away over the course of the tour and smelling nauseatingly horrid, embarrassingly and revealingly, split all around the crotch area as he was jumping onstage! Favoured cover versions in set lists from this era, included Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head (Burt Bacharach) and Pennyroyal Tea (Nirvana). James: "I think that we perhaps interpreted the song in a different way. It was to do with an old abortion potion, but the way we took it was like a pun on Penny Royalty (Monarchy) because that's the way we've been forced to look at ourselves at times. We've put a bit more into that cover than others we've done. We thought we'd pick something a bit more contemporary, something that's a bit more relevant to us in its essence."

39. After one particular European date with Suede in Autumn '94, well-documented events and pressures with Richey, who, racked with agony and pangs of helplessness / hopelessness, bedevilled by demons and with a storm brewing inside, was becoming a danger to himself and had once allegedly acquired a meat cleaver intending to chop off his fingers, so that he didn't have to play onstage (it was taken away from him). Then, backstage, following a gig at the Amsterdam Paradiso on November 24, cut himself vertically down his chest - an injury which required 36 stitches according to some reports - had taken their toll on an emotionally drained, conflicted and crestfallen Nicky (who even wrote about the ill-fated Thailand trek on the potent 2001 Know Your Enemy b-side, Ballad Of The Bangkok Novotel). To the point where he told James that he could no longer brush these emotions aside / envisage proceeding with this type of lifestyle and wanted to leave the, by now, impaired band. JDB fully understood, but then went out and got drunk later that night and by the next morning, had completely forgotten that this conversation had ever taken place. On that same tour, the acoustic guitar (Fender F-5-12) which most of The Holy Bible was written on was lost. At one time, due to his reservations, a pining Richey did consider not touring anymore but soon changed his mind, as he didn't think that by shirking the toughest part of the job which made being in a group feel like a routine, would be fair on the others. When broaching the subject, James, Nicky and Sean had considerately provided him with other options / "exit routes" and never pressurised him to tour. But although not requisite, as an integral member, Richey didn't want to ever feel that he was betraying the band or letting them down in anyway. In a 1996 interview with the glossy Japanese music periodical, Crossbeat, James recollected: "When his condition worsened, the first thing we told him was: 'We're satisfied to end things here. It's quite dignified, as a band, to end now.' If we were just going to suffer more, we were happy to have The Holy Bible as our last album. But at the time, belonging to the band was something irreplaceable to him, by all means he wanted to remain in the band. So we decided to go on." Around early autumn, Richey also had some new tattoos inked and in 'Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers)', Simon Price clarified: "There were two intricate circular diagrams, one with the words Hemisphere, Jerusalem, Of Land, Of Water, Hemisphere, Hell, and Mount Purgatory (apparently derived from the seven concentric circles of Hell as depicted in Dante's Inferno). The other bearing the Caina, Antendra, Ptolomae and Judecca, with the condemning additions 'Traitors to their Lovers, Traitors to their Guests, Traitors to their Country, Traitors to their Kindred'. Obscure biblical/classical references, and more fuel to the rumour that Richey had found God in the Priory. The third tattoo read 'I'll surf this beach', a quote from Apocalypse Now." This latter inking, was due to the fact that Richey had become obsessed with the iconic war motion picture and in particular, identified with Dennis Hopper's crazed photojournalist character. He even began wearing the same make of one of the cameras (Olympus) used by the actor during filming. Another classic movie name-checked by Richey, owing to its interconnected themes of abject enmity, resentment and repulsion at the black-hearted cesspit of depraved / fiendish vile sickness, and the ungodly putrefaction of a numbed human race 'in these plagued streets of pity.' While at the same time, seeking universal panaceas and wanting to inoculate mankind, waking it from a 'dulling' and diseased 'morality obedient' coma in order to cleanse society and rid all ills, was Taxi Driver. With Travis Bickle's 'June 29th Journal Entry' played over the PA after gigs, as it mirrored Richey's own complete control / self-improvement mindset and strict, disciplined fitness regime which included 1,500 sit-ups a day! Funnily, MSP's Tour Manager always moaned about the weight of Richey's suitcase, as it contained both his Olivetti portable typewriter and dumbbells. Along with his tattoos and newly-dyed ginger hair, Richey also started etching words onto the fingers of his right and left hands, such as LOVE and HUMILITY. Delineating: "I write something on my fingers every day. Mostly LOVE. I never write HATE, because I don't hate anyone. I'm more negative about myself than anyone else. I don't want to waste time. Even though I have terrible experiences with people, I can forget them. I just think 'Fuck off' and that's the end of it." On The Holy Bible's perennially unnoticed positive slant, JDB mulled over: "I think what people miss out, is the actual overpowering sense of victory that you get sometimes when you listen to it. And of course that's overlooked because people think that, with the way things ended for Richey, that there's only ever a negative thing to see. I feel a sense of empowerment. I remember playing it on the road when we were supporting Therapy? in France and I came offstage feeling great every night."

40. Only accepting this offer because they were firing on all cylinders and in such robust, fine form live-wise. Between December 19 - 21, 1994, the Manic Street Preachers played three Christmas shows at The London Astoria, which would be the last time that Richey ever performed with the band - who 'tattered and torn' was unravelling and "peaking in his weirdness" according to Nicky, in turn, adding to the all-embracing, dispiriting and punishing "misery." Having all suffered from spontaneous nosebleeds after soundchecks, due to an unknown problem with the venue's sound system frequencies (every night the crew turned the speakers and monitors down, but there was no change), making JDB, Nicky, Richey and Sean "paranoid that this could lead to brain haemorrhages." On the final night, and as a release of inter-tension (unusually the group hadn't really been getting on for the past few days), the combustible and "edgy" gig ended with the Manics smashing up not just their equipment to smithereens, but also saw them destroying the venue's lighting, causing £26,000 of damage - which could have potentially bankrupted the band! Nicky: "I was so nervous going on every night, that the end was just a relief." And, knowing that they were "on top of their game and stupendously tight" at each of these intoxicating, thunderous and molten shows - MSP in excelsis! In the aftermath of their appetite for destruction at the last gig and laying waste to the Astoria, which "felt brilliant and meant more than any of the songs... until we saw the bill" joshed an emphatic Nicky (who has since unreservedly declared that "much of The Holy Bible era was instinctive"). On that fateful night - as a harbinger of what was to come - he even cannily predicted the symbolic and long-term repercussions: "Something's stopped, something's changed here." In the wise words of Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher: 'The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.' Chatting to The Guardian in 2009, Nicky also reflected: "From Thailand to the smashing up of the Astoria, it was hospitalisation, 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." Whenever quizzed about MSP as a live entity during that time - who were always turned-up loudly and along with their last gang in town mentality / individually assembled army fatigues and combat garb, felt at their strongest onstage - James often wistfully remarks how "powerful, united and unbeatable" the band were. Touchingly adding: "If I can be so bold as to say it was our peak, in terms of the way we looked, it's painful to look back at yourself when you're thinner and you're just younger. It makes you realise that that indestructibility of relative youth, gives you such an armour and it gives you such an identity. People don't actually realise, that it's so much easier to be in a band when you are younger and when you've got the ability to wear certain clothes and not feel like a dick. It gives you an armour plating and it makes everything much easier. You're not just only standing behind the music, you're standing behind an image too! And that makes being in a band much easier, because you feel as if you're part of something and there's more than one answer to all of your questions or your accusations - you've got the way you look to fall behind as well and it's a complete armour coating! So, it's kind of painful sometimes, because it's something you can't reclaim and you've got to let that go with the onward march of age." And, when reminiscing about the shows: "I do remember so much about the actual mood that prevailed at those Astoria gigs. There were just lots of little things that were happening at the time, that seemed to add up to the feeling that you felt as if you were part of a bit of 'a moment in time.'" Also of note, is how photographers Pennie Smith and Mitch Ikeda, captured the final ever images of James, Nicky, Richey and Sean onstage together. JDB: "The pictures of us at our last gig at the Astoria with Richey, are really prophetic. Because obviously, something had broken inside of us at that point and we'd broken everything up onstage that night, and things after that gig, were never quite the same." In a moving and revealing radio documentary interview entitled, 'My Brother Richard' (uploaded to SoundColud on March 27, 2020), Rachel Edwards spoke to Ray Meade about life in the 25 years since the disappearance of Richey. And, when remembering the final London Astoria date on December 21, 1994, she recalled: "I absolutely agree that it was Richey's goodbye, because I found out later that on that gig - unknown to me at the time - he had invited all key people from his life that had meant something to him to that gig. And people that he cared about, he rarely spoke about the band to them, because he didn't - he was a person outside the band. So, for example, he'd invited me, he'd invited a friend he had met in hospital, he'd invited a University friend, all people he would not normally have invited - all to be there that one night! I believe that whatever he had chosen to do, he had already decided. He knew that was the last gig. I had already seen him on that final tour at the Cardiff Astoria, but the fact that he invited us all to that final night on the 21st of December, to me, speaks volumes now. If I'd only known that then. What he had decided, I don't know, but he'd decided."? The London Astoria and Sound Space Studios shall always be entwined with Richey's memory and The Holy Bible, and yet eerily, each building has sadly long since been knocked down. In 2015, James apprised NME: "(Making The Holy Bible) was like the calm before the storm, but we felt like things were changing. So everything is indelibly etched on our hearts and in our minds and in the music that you hear. It's a time that I vividly remember - and more so than any other time in the band, except for the very start you know? It is just indelibly etched on our souls. So in a sense, it is an album that I can still smell, I can still hear it, I can still see the places we recorded it in and that makes it special in it's own way I think... The Holy Bible worms its way into you and gets its hooks into you, and it becomes a challenge to play it in the right manner."

41. A limited amount of temporary transfer tattoos depicting the face of Jesus Christ and the band's logo, were also handed out at these dates to fans queuing outside the venue on a first-come-first-served basis.

42. Other notable merchandise from this period, includes a balaclava, a beanie hat, dog tags, a stunning tour programme and some of the Manics' most popular and enduring t-shirt designs, such as the CCCP soviet logo, the repeated face pattern of Jesus Christ and 'WHO'S RESPONSIBLE? YOU FUCKING ARE'. There are also t-shirts featuring the Faster/P.C.P. front cover artwork with a Faster lyrics backprint, as well as multiple CCCP soviet logo t-shirts that have different backprints. These include the "They are deceived..." 1854 quote from Solomon Northup (as seen in several of Mitch Ikeda's MSP THB press shots), and the rather provocative, 'I AM HYPOCRITE WHORE-STUD SLUT CUNT-COCK ARTIFICIAL PIECE OF C2Oth MOTHERFUCKING SHIT'. Most short / long sleeve garments came in an assortment of colours; black, blue, burgundy, grey, olive green, white etc. and some even have backprints with tour dates. Unofficial bootleg t-shirts mainly used Jenny Saville's painting, Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face) - either as a triptych or as a sole Front Face figure - with Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible for frontprints and the UK Tour advertisement as backprints..

43. Following Faster/P.C.P., Revol and She Is Suffering - which entered the UK Top 40 at No. 16, 22 and 25 respectively, during June, August and October '94. Yes was purportedly set to be the last single lifted from The Holy Bible (with Richey's TSB bank aping 'MSP the band that likes to say YES' artwork, possibly intended for use as the sleeve... perhaps there would have even been a promo video compiled from live footage shot at The London Astoria?). This idea was binned however after the mysterious disappearance of Richey (who'd not long shaved his head as his 17-year-old dog, Snoopy, had recently died and because he also wanted to "shed himself of all vanity"), cementing his place in rock 'n' roll mythology aged 27, on February 1, 1995 - the day he and James were due to fly to the US on a promotional tour. Only leaving behind some personal belongings in his London Embassy Hotel room (Room 561) that gave scant clues as to Richey's whereabouts. Such as a carefully wrapped box of parting gifts for his friend, Jo, which had small quotes stuck to the side and a three word note saying: 'I Love You' (eerily, and arguably symbolically, one of the items contained inside this box was the Russian novella, Novel With Cocaine, whose author M. Ageyev, handed over his manuscript for publication then fled without trace, never to be heard from again). The next day, Martin Hall filed a 'Missing Person Report' on Richey with the Metropolitan Police and Richey's family also placed an advert in their local paper, which ran for three days and read: 'Richard, please make contact. Love Mum, Dad and Rachel.' The events that took place around this time, both in the lead up to and in the aftermath of Edwards disappearing, are well-documented. And, although JDB fulfilled the American promo trip alone, as the weeks went by and fears grew - with everyone accepting that the seriousness of Richey's vanishing may not be resolved in the short-term - this meant that all upcoming North American and Asian shows were cancelled. Having long had a frosty relationship with Sony in the States, who'd previously changed artwork / tracklistings and remixed songs without MSP's consent, much to their chagrin. It was genuinely thought that the buffed and shined - which removes the dank decay but never sounds antiseptic - US Mix of The Holy Bible (how many classic albums can you think of with an alternate mix?), which for once, the Manics were really pleased with. Greater label support and audience-focused alternative radio airplay, plus the ample / lengthy North American dates, would help the group to raise their profile and make serious headway Stateside for the very first time. But spookily, Nicky, who always packed weeks in advance of every Manics tour didn't on this occasion, as something inside him told him that they wouldn't be going. MSP were grilled about this by Crossbeat in '96 - James: "It was supposed to be a huge tour of about 40 dates, but the decision to cancel was an easy one. We reached that conclusion one week after Richey's disappearance." Nicky: "We had no hesitation cancelling it. It was a relief. I didn't want to go to America anyway." James: "I didn't feel any resentment about that at all. But after two months without any contact from him, I started to feel anger. Probably because of the distress his family, and we as his friends went through. But as a band, professionally, there was no resentment. The only anger that surfaced was a personal one, I couldn’t care less about the American tour." In due time, the US branch of Epic then decided to pull the plug on the entire THB release / marketing campaign, citing the Manics' inability to properly publicise the LP by completing their touring commitments as the key reason for this - meaning yet again, that the band were to remain virtually invisible and unknown across the Atlantic. In relation to Richey's vanishing, during the build up to this catastrophic, horrendous and devastating occurrence, he had long been enamoured with the 1970s sitcom, The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin, as well as the 1983 film, Eddie And The Cruisers, whose central characters both disappeared. Edwards was even intrigued by Marlon Brando's reclusive lifestyle. As a voracious reader, Richey had also read numerous books and articles about people disappearing and there were also several links to / parallels with other troubled figures / tragic icons, who he had an affinity with and empathy for. These included some of his favourite writers, Arthur Rimbaud, J.D. Salinger (both famed for living lives of isolation in self-imposed exile) and Sylvia Plath, plus the rock stars, Brian Jones, Ian Curtis (who committed suicide in May 1980 - coincidentally on the eve of Joy Division's US Tour) and Kurt Cobain. Not only did Richey purchase the exact same type of 'Converse One Star' trainers that Kurt was wearing when he shot himself in April 1994. But, giving this notion further credence, he even had death camp-style striped-pyjamas which matched those once worn by Cobain as a stage outfit (Richey was photographed in these and the trainers during his final interview on January 23, 1995, with the Japanese magazine, Music Life). He also had a similar jacket to one of Kurt's - as pictured in Richey's 'Missing People' campaign poster - and Nirvana's In Utero was found in the stereo cassette player of his Vauxhall Cavalier at Severn View (formerly named Aust) Motorway Services, which was reported as abandoned on February 17, 1995, just a couple of days after the South Wales Police had issued a public statement about Richey's disappearance from the London Embassy Hotel. Richey's father, Graham Edwards, had appeared on Cardiff's Red Dragon Radio to appeal to his son to get in touch and the Manic Street Preachers had also released an official band statement. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight however, JDB, with typical integrity, has admitted that himself, Nicky and Sean should have really picked-up on the intensifying anguished content within Richey's words as a warning sign or as a red flag. Indubitably deducing that during the notorious, blood-stained and unsavoury Thailand trip in April '94, MSP caught a 'bug' - figuratively speaking - which symptomatically, they were unable to shake off from that moment onwards. This is also where the cracks first started to show with Richey, who enveloped by darkness, emaciated and scarred, had reached a low ebb and was trying to come to terms with the once latent realisation, that being in a band, along with the non-creative aspects and the ongoing / fatiguing album-tour-album treadmill - which he clearly struggled with, as it was becoming less and less enjoyable and greatly contributing to his blackened mood, chronic insomnia and illness - would never cure any of his plights or his debasing / fatalistic outlook on life. Having also voiced his dissatisfaction with the potential musical direction for some of the Manics' next LP (i.e. "I don't want my words to sound like that" after hearing JDB's demo for Kevin Carter), and with nothing outside of the group / knowing that he wouldn't want to simply live his life as an ex-rock star. Upsettingly then, for Richey - even with medication - it really was a case of from despair to where... If one grain of comfort can be taken from this sad situation and Richey's all-engulfing descent into desperation however - which will always evoke outpourings of grief, as he was a deeply affecting and prolific lyricist whose words continue to be pored over (amusingly, sometimes handing over lyric sheets to James who recalled: "There would be a sly little grin at the corner of his mouth: 'See what you can do to that, ya prick!'") - it's that he once stated: "In terms of the 'S' word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done, in terms of an attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain." JDB: "Towards the end, Richey became very obsessed with some kind of victory over himself. He really didn't want to be a loser." And, although worrying if he ever really knew Richey, or if he even liked the band as friends anymore, Nicky optimistically opined: "Personally, I still think he's alive, although I've got no physical evidence or reason to think that he is. But I do... how can you accept that he's dead, when there's no body, no evidence whatsoever? It's irrational." Compassionately adding: "I can't help thinking: 'Richey, if you could have held on a little longer, maybe then you could have had all these things you wanted. You might have been happy.'" In a detailed 2019 Wales Online editorial entitled, 'The new clues that suggest missing Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards staged his own disappearance.' The website scrupulously covers 'Withdrawn Traces: Searching for the Truth about Richey Manic' and how the book delves deep into Edwards' family tree. Noting how the stories about his Great Aunt Bessie living as a hermit for more than 80 years and his Uncle Shane going 'off grid' for five years, after embarking on a voyage to America in the early '60s to gain his professorship at the University of Austin, Texas, may have influenced his own disappearance. As well as these mysterious figures and other new evidence, insightful discoveries and theories about Richey's obsession with the perfect disappearance, the tome also unearths an early fascination with going missing and starting a new life in Richey's schoolwork. With Wales Online enticingly writing how the hardback "sheds fresh light on events surrounding his disappearance - a story that, 24 years on, still endures as one of the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll mysteries."

44. Shockingly, The Holy Bible wasn't nominated for the 1995 Mercury Prize - which to this day, remains a source of frustration for Nicky in particular.

45. Although in '94, Nicky wilfully wanted to embrace the "freedom of commercial failure" again with a reactionary mindset. By resetting, revamping, refashioning, repositioning and reclaiming what MSP were, the group only discovered as late as 2014, that in the mid-nineties, their record contract was in serious jeopardy and at real risk. Following their rise from obscurity and building a core fanbase from the ground up, 'the biggest cult band in Britain' came extremely close to being dropped by Sony due to The Holy Bible's low sales. But Rob Stringer (at the time, Managing Director of Epic and the reason why THB came out on this imprint rather than Columbia) voiced his belief in the band. And at his behest - confident in both MSP's fortitude and that there was plenty of mileage left in them - with a casting vote at the record company's 'pick up its option' stage, helped to make sure that this didn't happen. Having never once hankered the Manics for radio hits or chart smashes during the making of The Holy Bible - a monolithic, remorseless, energised, splenetic, gripping and unforgettable album that lures you in, and which people are still reckoning with to this day! As an instrumental long-term supporter (they were the first signing of his music career), Stringer fought their corner by arguing: "Sometimes, you've just got to give art a chance." Nicky: "We trusted him as an A&R man and a friend. I couldn’t ask for a better bloke... I don’t think The Holy Bible reflected the consensus. It was the same time as Blur’s Parklife and Oasis’ Definitely Maybe and Britpop. We definitely weren’t part of that. We were delving into something much deeper. Those albums were celebratory, whereas ours was analytical and internalised, and without any celebration at all. Apart from the power of knowledge, I guess. To quote Nick Cave: 'We were kicking against the pricks.'" And, when grilled in 2015 by PopMatters: 'How hard was it to get Sony to release the album in 1994? Was putting it out through a major label a triumph in and of itself?' JDB replied assuredly: "I’d love to give you the usual corny story, where the musician’s saying: 'We fought tooth and nail with our hearts bleeding to get this record out on a major label,' but our experience was nothing like that. Our label, Sony, didn’t question the fact that it was obviously a record that was very dark and that didn’t have any natural singles on it - the lead-off single from The Holy Bible was Faster. The record company didn’t once question that, which is remarkable, really. We’re living in this day and age where record companies are even more conservative than they used to be. If a record doesn’t sell after one album, there’s a very good chance that you don’t get a second shot. This was our third record, and the record company never once questioned the artwork, the content within the lyrics (even 'cunt's' in Yes got through unscathed), the way it was mixed, the way it was recorded - which was in quite a lo-fi way. And a lot of that has to do with our A&R man at the time, Rob Stringer, who is now the head of Sony in America. He gave us complete artistic freedom. So that’s a strange story really. When you’re hearing people talk about such stuff, talk about the battles they go through with the record company, about how there was just some kind of insipid censorship within the record company - but our experience was utterly the opposite. So, there’s no sob story there. It wouldn't happen today, and to be honest, it didn’t happen as much back then either. We just had somebody that was extraordinary in charge of the record label, and that was Rob Stringer. He had a vision for the record too, not just us. Not all band stories are the same, I don’t think." Nicky: "I remember when we brought him down to hear some rough cuts from The Holy Bible, he heard Archives Of Pain and started jumping up and down with excitement. There's a line in it that goes: 'Tear the torso with horses and chains', and he was saying: 'Horses and chains, I love it' - which is kind of insane for a record company guy." Speaking frankly to Select Magazine in January 1999 about MSP's unpredictable and unbowed approach to creating music, which resulted in diminishing returns between the years 1993-94, Nicky insisted: "The one thing that I am proud of about The Holy Bible is that we didn't do it on the back of success. If you look at Pulp and Blur, they've only made an artistic statement after they've had giant success. That isn't quite as good as doing it when Gold Against The Soul hadn't sold much at all and commercially we were at quite a low ebb." Also revealing to NME.COM in 2014: "There was a post-Gold Against The Soul emptiness and a realisation that we hadn’t got as big as we thought we would have. There was a kind of empty hole that needed to be filled... Shortly before The Holy Bible's release though, we realised what we'd made and we had to play it every night. When we'd been making it, it was our own fucking private universe. But then unleashing that onto the world, from then on, it just felt like a long summer of calamity. Things starting to fall apart, and the more exaggerated and more tabloid and bigger Britpop got, the more weak and on the edge we started to feel." JDB agreed with humility: "Suddenly, it went from feeling we were an impenetrable division, to it just starting to drift away. Richey started doubting everything, absolutely everything." However, in reference to the Manic Street Preachers excelling themselves and confounding expectations with their blended alchemy, talents and gifts, to the sheer magnitude of the accomplished, venerated and seminal Holy Bible, to its finessed cohesiveness, to its aggressive careening fury and unyielding rhetoric, to its worshippers and its unsurpassed, ever-growing importance after standing the test of time. Singing their praises, author John Niven once deservedly baptised this impressive, inspired and iconic long player - which bleeds character, has now infiltrated / firmly implanted itself in many people's psyches as a first-class, quintessential '90s rock album and really couldn't be improved upon in anyway - as: "The most extraordinary record of their generation... A record without peer at the time and now widely regarded as a career best." Pertaining to its superiority, and immune to any inhibitions / unafraid in his steadfast stance that this long player outclasses countless others, when alluding to the high-water mark that it set and its elite status, James once spewed: "The Holy Bible pisses over so many albums!" When asked by The Quarterly in 2014, about one of the most talked about and written about records in recent memory, which a combative MSP poured every last drop of themselves into: 'The album’s themes include genocide and anorexia, and everyone from Lenin to Pol Pot is name-checked. Is it the most intellectual album ever made?' Nicky (who has distinguished the defiant and iconoclastic LP as "gothic with a small g" and as "completely other," replied: "I think it is, actually. I wrote about 25 percent of the lyrics and Richey wrote the rest. He was devouring all the culture he could and was really on fast-forward. It’s mind-blowing to think what he could have done in a digital world. As it was, he never had a mobile phone or a computer - he just wrote on an old portable typewriter." Also telling KERRANG!: "He can be remembered in different ways. As a brother, a son, an amazing writer, a forensic intellect and a phenomenal, brilliant rock star, the like of which we simply don't have anymore." Richey will forever be frozen in time. Idolised, unfading, immortal.

46. In addition to Sony Music's 'Nice Price' mid price reissues of The Holy Bible for the UK, European and Japanese markets, the 10th Anniversary CD/DVD set, 2009's Japan-only CD mini replica of the '94 picture disc vinyl LP and 2011's Original Album Classics package. 2014 marked the release of a deluxe / remastered 20th Anniversary Box Set, which included THB on heavyweight black vinyl in a gatefold sleeve for the very first time (also now available separately in a jacket sleeve). The Box Set went onto win NME's 2015 'Reissue Of The Year' Award. For collectors, the first 1000 copies of the 40-page booklet included were autographed by the band, when purchased directly from the Manic Street Preachers' Official Webstore. Also, with these vinyls, the first run has 4st 7lb listed as the last track on Side A on the centre labels, but it is actually pressed at position B7. This alteration was communicated by email to those who had pre-ordered the album: "Information regarding The Holy Bible 20th Anniversary Edition: To improve and enhance audio quality, the song 4st 7lb has been moved to track 1 on Side 2 of the LP. It was a last minute decision, so those lucky people receiving the first run of Holy Bible Box Sets, will be getting a rare collectors edition where the tracklisting shows 4st 7lb as the last track on Side 1 (as per the original 1994 vinyl cut)." From a purely graphic design perspective, another detectable difference with the 20th Anniversary Box Set and vinyl, is how the dots situated in the spaces between the songs on the '94 front cover tracklisting, have all been extracted. However, the unneeded apostrophe in Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'scountrywouldfallapart has stayed put (this conspicuous and oft-spotlighted punctuation mark, was actually erased on the 1999 MiniDisc version of The Holy Bible). All of THB's singles have also been featured on a myriad of music compilations over the years, including MSP's very own Greatest Hits and Complete Singles collections, Forever Delayed and National Treasures. Although even when scrambled across compilations, The Holy Bible's otherness shines through!

47. Interestingly, Jenny Saville's painting, Strategy (South Face/Front Face/North Face), is printed the correct way round on 2014 editions, whereas the image was flipped the other way on all previously-released versions. The only exception, are the paper sleeves that were made to house the promo discs pressed for the 10th Anniversary CD/DVD set, which also have the triptych reproduced exactly as it was painted.

48. A commemorative tour in 2014 and 2015 - which included 11 UK / Ireland dates, 7 North American dates and 1 final date at Summer Sonic Tokyo in Japan - saw the pivotal, impactful and predominantly 5 star and 10 / 10 reviewed Holy Bible being played live in full, for the very first time ever, complete with army camouflage netting stage production and dark, atmospheric lighting (MSP had rejected several lucrative offers in the past to put on THB shows). And when the first batch of UK / Ireland dates for The Holy Bible Tour were announced, fans rejoiced, with a titanic 20,000 tickets being sold in just nine minutes - proof positive that people's attachment to The Bible and their ardour, devotion, fondness, relish and adoration for a record that stands apart, is inextinguishable and undying! Also reviving their military image once again for complete authenticity, James, Nicky and Sean openly acknowledged the technical challenges and heavy emotional burden of performing such bleak, graphic and tortured songs effectively. Doing their homework by listening to the retrieved master tapes from Sony in preparation, in confronting both band and audience when played live, as part of an NME Inside The Live Rehearsals commentary, Nicky brought to light: "I guess the power of it did actually really resonate with me and made me think with a slight tinge of sadness, just as a band, it'd be impossible really to be that brave, with that much conviction, ever again... I don't know if you can ever, for sheer kind of single-mindedness, beat The Holy Bible. Certain records make you feel redundant, like Never Mind The Bollocks and Unknown Pleasures, and it made me feel a little bit like that! It's probably a good thing." JDB also spilled the beans on The Holy Bible's blitzing 'feeling of becoming' and attested: "I think if there ever was a time when we felt we wanted to do this, it would be on the 20th Anniversary; I think that subconsciously seeped into the battered and bruised frontal-lobe readings of our brains, they switched on... I want people to actually think: 'Fuck, these guys can do this a long time after.'" The much celebrated and nostalgic gigs (as documented / preserved in amber in both BBC Two Wales' BAFTA Cymru Award-nominated 2015 Cardiff Castle homecoming TV coverage, and Kieran Evans' 2016 concert film: BE PURE. BE VIGILANT. BEHAVE - which has a deliberately 'lo-fi DIY ethos', with footage filmed over multiple nights and a faithful live sound recording by Guy Massey / audio mix by Dave Eringa) were only booked after much deliberation. "It's a complete state of mind," said Nicky of the band's approach to the shows. "You have to be so well drilled; you have to literally hate your audience." Excitingly, each night before the set started and by way of an introduction, James would say: "We're the Manic Street Preachers and this is The Holy Bible," with a heartfelt dedication to Richey always preceding the concluding song, P.C.P. Statistically, prior to these gigs, the tracks most performed to least played (in order) from THB in set lists were: Faster, This Is Yesterday, Yes, Revol, She Is Suffering, P.C.P., Die In The Summertime, Of Walking Abortion, Archives Of Pain, Ifwhiteamerica..., 4st 7lb, The Intense Humming Of Evil and Mausoleum. Another fact worth noting, is how James affectionately refers to a hardcore contingent of MSP Fans who invariably crave hearing tracks performed from The Holy Bible, as 'sick puppies', and there is also an unfailing bond / transcendental synergy between the group and crowd - who hang on every word - when these songs are played live! On impassioned disciples who have taken THB to their hearts, assimilated its intent and ideas (often going to great lengths to proselytise, popularise and promote the merits of their favourite album), absorbed its aesthetic and still dress-up for shows. Which even now, gives some zealous fans a sense of 'belonging' and without exception, whose effort eternally boosts MSP and they find imperishably gratifying - with oodles of admiration for this fandom, deep connection and special kinship, JDB wholeheartedly proposed: "The Bible is the pinnacle of that tribal aspect." Some brand new memorabilia was also manufactured for THB 20, including a combat cap, a metal cross pin, dog tags, a lanyard, a limited edition lithograph of Richey's US handgun image (which was also printed on a North American tour t-shirt), as well as other t-shirt designs featuring related imagery such as camouflage, crosses, gravestones and rosary beads. On the infinitely transfixing, all-consuming, deeply satisfying and fabled Holy Bible's legacy, which seems to somehow magically get better with each and every listen - from its beloved bookends, Yes and P.C.P., to its singles and deep cuts. To Richey's self-loathing / pervasive world-weariness, to his abhorrent, caustic and lambasting assessment of life, in which lyrically - almost like an exposé - he decries the wrongs of the 20th Century world and our seemingly unchallenged conditioned existence. With wisdom and clarity - and now distanced from the trials and tribulations of 1994-95, which were waning and wilting for all of MSP - Sean pertinently stated: "Playing the songs now, strengthens the belief that we had back then. It shows us the reason why we’re in a band. It’s probably a lot less about the musicality and more about the message. We threw every bit of anger and bile that we had contained in us. It was cathartic in a way, because we were almost cleansing ourselves and putting it on tape. We had a pleasurable experience when recording it. We didn’t feel like we were under any constraints and I think that’s possibly why the album has been revered for its honesty - even the darker elements that are a bit hard for people to digest. But for us, we were just happy with the fact that we could actually express ourselves as truly as we could. We’ve come to terms with a lot of things. This is a celebration of those times in which we felt complete. The sad thing is how the album affected a friend. At the time, you could see him disintegrating and there was nothing you could do about it. So, I think we’ve had enough time to come to terms with those things. As you grow older, you become more understanding - not accepting - but understanding. For us to go back and revisit those things (when aged 24-26), all you can do is appreciate the personal sacrifice of some people and the fact that we were honest as songwriters and that we didn’t hold anything back. There are a lot of chapters that have closed in our story as a group. I think after this, we won’t be revisiting The Holy Bible. This is the reason why we did the full album shows in the UK and North America: to say that this is the end of this chapter and that we won’t be going back and revisiting it in the future. Out of our first three albums, this was the most honest and intense expression of how we felt as young men isolated and alienated in our hometowns and wanting to get out and break free. To have an understanding about ourselves personally, as well as mankind. For me, this album is the antithesis of that particular time." James: "I knew it would be intrinsic to a very large minority of people that the record would connect to, and that it would mean something to them, it would be tangible to them. The album was so locked in to dissecting certain politics, certain events, certain histories, certain psyches, that I knew the record would mean something to somebody out there. For want of a better phrase, I kind of felt as if I was part of something that could become a cult classic, definitely. And then all that kind of rational thinking went out the window when Richey went missing. I stopped thinking about the record after Richey went missing, because it was indelibly connected to something which was quite a traumatic memory. So I think we kind of parked The Holy Bible in our psyches somewhere when we carried on with Everything Must Go, and we kind of tried to protect him, we tried not to touch it. But then ten years later, we realised that The Holy Bible had sold so many more records post-Richey’s disappearance than it did while he was around. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me, but it kind of crept up on us because we tried to protect ourselves from analysing it because it seemed like such a pure thing that we didn’t want to sully it with anything." With Nicky waxing lyrical when concluding: "It is quite uncomfortable, let's be honest, but there is a comfort there, in some respects. Having to play those songs every night... but the reaction of the crowd, really, is what made it easier. Just hearing them sing songs like Mausoleum back to you, three or four thousand people in London just singing those words. Never been a gig like it, really. That kind of communal thing, and of something so dark, made it all worthwhile... When we play songs from The Holy Bible, it feels good those words are breathing. They are a living entity, those words... I think it's true artistic expression, musically and lyrically. That doesn't necessarily mean it's my favourite record, but it's the truest expression of the people we were at that point. It's just so brutally honest. The scary thing is the relevance it still seems to have. And that’s what makes a timeless piece of art, really. And when you’re going through every little detail of it, you realise that its presence is undiminished, and its topics just haven’t seemed to change - they’ve just come ‘round in a full circle. And that’s when you realise that you’ve actually made something really brilliant, that the whole album has taken on this... this life. Sometimes music is diminished or bands’ memories are diminished, but there’s something about The Holy Bible. I think there are certain albums that form part of my life and everyone else's life that you go back to every few years, and I think it has become one of those records. It has become like Unknown Pleasures (Joy Division) which sells copies every year. The Holy Bible sells 5-10,000 copies every year to the same sort of people; the sort of people who are interested in that secret history of finding the cult classic album. That is what it has become and I'm quite happy with that, because I grew up on records like that. Every band needs an album like this. We've really enjoyed the gigantic commercial success that came later, but if a band doesn't have an album like that, it's a hole in their armoury."

49. As part of 2015's 'Record Store Day' (and as a nod to the 1994 12" picture disc), a pair of limited edition Holy Bible 12" picture discs were issued in the UK and North America. Both featured unique designs, with the United Kingdom getting the US Mix and the Original Mix being sold exclusively in North America. The UK release charted at No. 1 on the Official Vinyl Albums Chart.

50. With no commercial concessions - from the artwork to the lyrics to the music - The Holy Bible has reportedly now sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide. A classic album from start to finish and a true masterpiece!


With MSP's other classic album and masterpiece, Everything Must Go, celebrating its 20th Anniversary on May 20, 2016. Here's an extract from Vice's excellent 2015 'Rank Your Records' editorial http://noisey.vice.com/blog/rank-your-records-manic-street-preachers in which James Dean Bradfield ranked the Manic Street Preachers albums in order of importance to him. Sitting at the top of the list was Everything Must Go followed closely by The Holy Bible, with James discussing the creative / recording process for each long player and elucidating how "the biggest influence on Everything Must Go is The Holy Bible"...

2. THE HOLY BIBLE (1994)

You are currently touring this album. How has that been going?
It’s been brilliant. I said to you earlier that the closest we ever got to having Richey back in the band was writing and recording Journal For Plague Lovers. I think there is a misapprehension on other people’s part that in playing this record we will feel like we’re closer to Richey, but that’s not the experience I’ve had. I just enjoy the technicality of playing this record. The Holy Bible is steeped in some kind of proto-punk spirit, but it’s got quite a few different time signatures, everything is interlocked, the musicality is based on being tight and knowing what you’re doing. The amount of lyrics I have to sing on this record means I never get to be carefree up there. A lot of the songs have this push and pull to them. My solos are very atonal and go in different areas, and sometimes the bass is just completely connected to itself and nothing else. So you’ve got to commit to playing the music. You can’t fuck around with it. People ask, “Is it upsetting trying to connect with these lyrics again? Is it upsetting looking to your right and not seeing Richey there?” I’m sorry to disappoint people but I’ve been so busy with the technicalities of playing these songs that I never get wrapped up in those things.

What about when you were recording this album? Was it difficult to sing Richey’s lyrics, considering how dark they were and what he was going through?
For me it was more about the technical challenge. It was more a challenge of trying to match the ferocity of the music as the music was trying to match the ferocity of the lyrics. So once you’ve got the lyrics in front of you and I’ve written the music for the lyrics, and have all of the vocals on top, it really was a physical battle for me. The game kept getting higher and higher. You look at the lyrics and you’re like, “Fuck me!” Then you write the music for them, and you’ve done it. Then you try and record it, and you go “Fuck!” Then you try and sing it, and it’s “Jesus Christ! This is like an endless game of Jenga.” That’s what it was like recording this record. I remember having to ask Richey about some of the references lyrically. There were some things in there that I didn’t get at the time. Especially in a song like “Of Walking Abortion,” which had two names I didn’t know about. So I had to go do my own research. I remember asking for some clarification on some things, but 90 percent of the time it would be our message within. That’s the experience I remember making this record. It was a battle because these songs have so many words in them, but a really cool, sporting battle. The strange thing about us, even Richey, is that we’re all massive sports fanatics, which is kind of an indie transgression to a certain degree. This was like, “Let’s get ready to rumble! It’s time for a fucking fight!” Which was good. I liked it. I liked the sporting element of making a record.

Do you understand the rabid fascination with this record?
I understand it completely. It’s a snapshot of a definite period in time. A lot of people think that the qualifications of a “classic” rock record has got to be that it transcends its time. Well, I disagree. I think that sometimes a classic record is a snapshot of its time. It doesn’t transcend the ensuing years, it just stamps that place and time, and that’s what The Holy Bible does. We were young men coming out of the back end of fucking Reaganomics from across the pond. Ten years before we were fucking obsessed with American politics. There was some pretty terrible stuff going on that we found enthralling to watch from a distance. You’re getting stuff like that in “Ifwhiteamerica…” after the fact, of course. You’re getting stuff like “Of Walking Abortion” that is steeped in post-war American history, which Richey was a particular student of. And you’re getting stuff like “Archives of Pain,” where the left and right throughout 1990s Europe were becoming indiscernible from each other. Just all of those subjects were locked into that time. Some of it might miss its target now, but that’s how we viewed things then. I wouldn’t ever say we’ve made anything as good as The Clash, but the first Clash album never transcends the time that it was made in. That album just sounds brown, it sounds like the 70s. And The Holy Bible has that kind of discordant confusion, that post-ideological fucked-up-ness of the pre-mid-90s. And I really appreciate the fact that it is an album that does that.


I wasn’t sure if you’d pick this or The Holy Bible.
In a strange way, it’s kind of hard to separate Everything Must Go from The Holy Bible. That’s why I put them beside each other. You could say that Everything Must Go was the last record we did with Richey. Obviously you’ve got “Kevin Carter” on there that is quintessentially Richey, isn’t it? You’ve got “The Girl Who Wanted To Be God,” which is half of Richey’s lyric. You’ve got “Small Black Flowers,” which is pretty much all of Richey’s lyrics. “Removables,” which is pretty much all of Richey. And “Elvis Impersonator,” which is at least 50 percent Richey’s lyrics. There are so many ways to look at this record. Would Richey like this record? I’m not sure. I don’t know. But I know that the last song me and Richey listened to together in the basement of the Embassy Hotel on Bayswater Road before he went missing, after we came back from doing demos in Surrey, we listened to “No Surface All Feeling” and “Small Black Flowers.” And as we pulled into the carpark “Small Black Flowers” faded and I asked which was his favorite and he said “Small Black Flowers” by a mile. So I knew that he really liked that song, and there were five songs on that record he was involved with. So there is an argument to say this was the last time we worked with Richey, even though he wasn’t in the studio when we did it.

There’s an abiding, bittersweet feeling to the ensuing success we had with Everything Must Go. There was a bit of serendipity in that even though we weren’t Britpop we got co-opted into Britpop, which I didn’t give a fuck about. It didn’t bother me. To some degree people even saw “A Design For Life” as the epitome of that. But “Kevin Carter” was a song that Richey could have seen how it was possible to be a hit single. Which is a crowning achievement itself: A photographer who killed himself and who actually saw how important real war photography was, and how it led to his destruction. I wish Richey could’ve seen that it was possible to have a hit single with something that traditionally wouldn’t fucking get near the top ten. I wish Richey could have been part of that success and seen that you didn’t have to sell out or whore out yourself to do that.

“A Design For Life” definitely stands in its own right in terms of lyrically wielding how the celebration of class has triumph in it. The first line of one our biggest ever songs is “Libraries gave us power / Then work came and made us free / What price now for a shallow piece of dignity.” There’s no selling out with that lyric. It’s saying what we want to say just in a much more succinct way. And like we said before, the biggest influence on Everything Must Go is The Holy Bible. We decided that we couldn’t go in the same direction as The Holy Bible because we would have fallen into self-parody. It would have been comic abyss, comic gothic. And we knew we had to go somewhere else and let the music breathe. We had to try and say what we meant but with less words. And with some more oxygen in the music and the words. Everything Must Go owes as much to The Holy Bible as it does to any records in our collection.



Extracts from 'BBC Radio 4 Swansong - Stuart Maconie presents the story of The Holy Bible'

Stuart Maconie: "The album pioneered a use of sampling, in a way that was totally distinct from its use in hip-hop. Richey Edwards decided to precede each track with found samples, extracts from TV or film and found snatches of conversations. It immediately gives the album a sense of reaching out beyond popular music, to a broader cultural canvas." Nicky: "I think come The Holy Bible, the idea of using all these snippets to kind of illuminate and illustrate the words, just felt really natural."

Nicky: "I remember Yes specifically, because it was absolutely brilliant and perfect! The sample is just drama and it's the first thing you hear from a band, who have just made their stadium album and then come back with this... I think Yes always felt like an opening track, as it's really energised and poetic!"

Nicky: "The sample on Archives Of Pain scares me." James: "I don't mean this in a black humorous way, but it is probably just about my favourite song off The Holy Bible." Nicky: "Just thinking about that song now, after recording it and then actually listening to it back, I thought: 'I don't know if this is right for the world, really?'"

Nicky: "Maybe the manifestation of Richey's disintegration, was just unbelievable artistry. There's such a long tradition of that and because he was writing so much, you just felt that whatever happens, it may be that he writes the best novel ever - maybe he'll find lyric writing too easy or something? It just felt that his writing had become to such a level and he was writing so much of it, that in that sense, maybe he'd kind of found himself as an artist. It felt like being around a novelist." Keith Cameron: "I think the sheer welter of ideas on The Holy Bible is one of its strongest assets. Its avalanche of ideas and words, is a band finally unleashing themselves fully on the people, on their listeners and on everyone who chooses to listen."

Nicky: "I think 4st 7lb is one of Richey's most truly terrifying lyrics and expresses the internalisation of himself. In a very strange kind of way though, the security of Richey being in control of himself, was less terrifying than what I said about in Thailand with the knives, where he seemed to be out of control." Simon Price: "I interviewed Richey not long after The Holy Bible had come out, and I was really struck by his ability to kind of take a really clear view of himself and to act almost as doctor and patient. You can see that on the lyrics for 4st 7lb." Nicky: "You could say it's written out of gender, but I think it's pretty plainly autobiographical, especially that amazing line: 'I long since moved to a higher plateau.'"

Stuart Maconie: "The cover might've provided a clue to the contents. A triptych by the artist, Jenny Saville, showing three views of a half-dressed, obese middle-aged woman, looking blankly yet challengingly out of the record sleeve. It's about nakedness, surface impressions, notions of beauty and ugliness. At a time when politics was fighting for the attention of 'Mondeo man', here was an album calling out to those on the margins. Those seeking some extremity and passion, amidst the banal regularity of our public space and discourse. It's not comfortable, it's not politically correct."

James: "I think Die In The Summertime is a real personal moment of genius. I don't think I've really ever seen such brutal and acute images of childhood brought into a lyric." Nicky: "The lyric is beyond disconcerting, I find it pretty uncomfortable."

Nicky: "I think it's impossible for us to judge if The Holy Bible was written as the last thing. I'm not convinced and I don't find anything that definite in the album to kind of portray that, because I think the worst was to come, really." James: "In a strange way, it almost feels like the opposite of a swan song for me, because I think as a lyricist, Richey had suddenly reached a peak that he could have stayed at for a long time. In terms of the lyrics on the album, he was looking inward and internalising in a complete focused fashion. But also, when he turned out this view to the rest of the world, it was so vicious and so concise, but so precise as well - it was just everything! So, he could look at inwards and outwards in equal measure and you just knew that he was hitting the target every time. I think he'd just reached that peak for the first time ever!"

Stuart Maconie: "It's impossible with hindsight, not to look back at The Holy Bible and see the seeds of Richey's breakdown. But Nicky Wire chooses to look at a song like Faster and see in it more triumph than tragedy." Nicky: "I find it a really self-empowered song. I love it, because when I read it, I just thought he's kind of defining himself and if no one else is going to define him, he's defining himself as an artist and a writer! I think his acceleration, you can feel it in that song. It's almost like I can devour and 'I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer.' To actually not just read all the books he read, but to come out the other side, use their influences and actually think: 'I'm a match, if not better than them.'" James: "It's arrogant, but it's cool." Nicky: "Yes!"

Simon Price: "The Holy Bible's a rock record and a history lesson. It's actually the sound of a band who've lost all faith in humanity - it was a doomsday judgement and a kind of cold eyed tally of the 20th Century's worst sins." Keith Cameron: "It's a 50-minute rock record, but it's a whole day's worth of the library and that again, is commendable! Especially during the climate of the times in 1994 - it was the year that Kurt Cobain died and there was a certain yearning for escape, I believe, and here come the Manic Street Preachers with a record that challenges people's intelligence."

Nicky: "Obviously, Richey is someone's son and he's people's friend - there's so many facets which never get explored and which are really, deeply saddening in every way. But, if you're just talking about his abilities as a lyricist - I'm not saying he's reached a peak, because I think he could have been even better - but in terms of being in the band, then it's kind of an unrivalled peak that I can think of." James: "As the last piece of work that he did with us, it's something amazing to be judged upon in eternity, definitely!"


Extracts from 'Classic Album The Holy Bible By Manic Street Preachers' - Q Magazine (November 2019)

They recorded at the tiny £50-a-day Sound Space Studios, in a seedy locale near Cardiff's Brains Brewery. "Pete, who owned the place, had this baseball bat," Bradfield later remembered, "because there were always people trying to break in, glue-sniffing, shagging against the door. He would come out with the bat: 'I do not want any fucking discharge on my door!'"

Comfort Comes was a bridge to The Holy Bible. "That song haunts me," said Wire. "It's so fucking minimal and miserable, so bare and raw. And honest."

Late in 1993, they had visited Philip Hall and played him demo recordings of two new songs, Mausoleum and Die In The Summertime... "Oh cheery!" the ailing Hall said. "Thanks for that!" With just weeks to live, their manager approved the new direction. "He was slumped in the corner, and wasn't really with it," Wire recalled. "It was sad. But at the end, he said, 'Yeah, this rock 'n' roll has got to stop - this sounds like you're doing the right thing.'"

The first three songs recorded for The Holy Bible - 4st 7lb, Faster and Of Walking Abortion - were broadly representative of the record's musical and lyrical preoccupations: didactic bulletins from an existential twilight zone. Faster built on Comfort Comes' geometric template, albeit permitting the occasional heroic flash, like cymbals. Bradfield spent three weeks trying to write the music to a lyric that he considered the best he'd been given, finally nailing it at the 21st attempt. "I thought, 'This has got to be a single, it covers so much in one lyric.' So, of course, as soon as I decided that, it wouldn't happen. I was at my mum and dad's house, a Friday night, they were out, my mum was playing darts, and I was thinking I would have to hand this one over to Sean. Then, I just thought, 'Let the lyric speak to you.' I looked at the rhyme and metre of 'I am an architect, they call me a butcher', and thought it's got to be regimented. 'Long live regimentation', that quote from Saul Bellow's novel Dangling Man came into my head. I thought, 'Yes! We can do this!' All the songs were marching towards something, and it just became more aggressive. Straighter. Strycnined. Angular. Colder." With Skids’ Stuart Adamson and Magazine’s John McGeoch his twin post-punk guitar pillars, Bradfield stoked the furnace.

"James was the leader," said Wire. "His musical vision dictated the tone of the whole record. People say it's Richey's album, but James was unbelievably driven. Richey was too, of course, but James seemed the one with the more personal agonies at the time."

Faster would be the last song the pair wrote together: Edwards took six lines from a song Wire had been writing based around the lyric: "So damn easy to cave in / Man kills everything", and finished it off. Nicky suggested the title. "I felt it in him. I remember saying, 'I can't keep up with you, it seems like everything's speeding up in your head...' The acceleration of culture to a point of no return. When he gave us the lyrics to Yes, for example, I said, 'I can't add a single thing to that'. It was a perfect piece of prose. The genesis of Ifwhiteamerica... was mine but we only used four of five lines because Richey's stuff was so brilliant. His masterpiece, 4st 7lb, I didn't touch at all. I looked at that and thought, 'I can't relate to it. I've no experience in those feelings.'"

Although Edwards would be guarded with regard to some of the inspiration for his increasingly internalised writing, he discussed 4st 7lb with Bradfield. "Obviously he's into his personal battle with eating and vanity at this point. He conveyed to me - as the lyric did - the chatter of that vanity as the result of anorexia and bulimia: 'I must pass a mirror without looking at myself', 'Do I look as cool as Johnny Depp?' He was saying to me, 'Yes, it sounds nasty when I say it out loud but it is a genuine thing that goes on in my head and other people's , which leads to a very bad place.' So I wanted the first part of the song to convey the freneticism of that vanity. And then, the resolution was the supposed self-control, the defeat you suffer from getting control over yourself and not eating, that's the coda at the end. I remember doing a couple of heroic guitar bits in the coda and Nick popping his head round the corner of the control room. 'Steady on, Slash! This is not the record!'

For all the material's bleak intensity, the atmosphere in the studio was upbeat. Wire's photographs of the session are full of smiles. When Edwards finished the lyric to Ifwhiteamerica... - Sean Moore's drumming masterclass and a critique of US racism that contentiously advocates more liberal gun laws - he pronounced: "Charlton Heston'll like this one!" "There was genuine good humour recording that album," Wire said. "It was very cohesive, everyone was really gentle with each other. You knew the right things were coming together."

In the pre-internet age, the effort required to research the litany of obscure philosophical and political references in songs like Archives Of Pain and Of Walking Abortion was prodigious. Whenever the band was in London, Edwards would frequent the hallowed Reading Room of the British Museum, following in the footsteps of Karl Marx, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf. He also made regular pilgrimages to Compendium on Camden High Street, the capital's pre-eminent independent bookshop. "Richey must have bought well over 150 books from there, it was a running joke in the band," says Bradfield today. "They also sold academic research papers. He'd have a suitcase on the road, just filled with books."

"By that Suede tour, we were absolutely shit-hot," said Wire. "We only played for 35 minutes each night and we were blisteringly brilliant. But the record was dead as a dodo. No one cared. I was very close to leaving the band. I was having chronic stomach pains. James was pissed out of his mind, you wouldn't see him until the evening of the gig, all the rest of the time he'd be sleeping and drinking. Poor old Richey. I didn't feel I was in the greatest position to be the shoulder to cry on. The only thing that kept us going was knowing we'd made the right record."

Bradfield: "People forget that the album wasn't always associated with Richey's disappearance. It was associated with his being as creatively heightened as you could be."

As a group, the Manic Street Preachers haven’t played any of its songs live since 2015. "The reason is, you can’t fake them," Nicky Wire says today. "They are not entertainment, they are a state of mind - a uniform rejection and examination of humanity. A brutal poetry of disgust."


'The Holy Bible According To Nicky And Richey'
is archived on the R*E*P*E*A*T website here
But, as an extension to this article, in January 2020 an MSP Fan living in Japan - 'J on Twitter' - thoughtfully translated this rare editorial from Japanese to English. 'Richey James Talks About The Holy Bible' - Music Life (September 1994)

The Holy Bible
There will certainly be people criticising the title as blasphemy, to me the Bible is a representation of truth. But looking at organised religion lately, they’re not teaching anything that they should. The Bible is written based on free interpretation. Therefore, this title can be also freely interpreted, at times I feel like we’re even closer to the truth than any other religion. Looking at religion these days, it all just seems very contrived. In Britain there’s a lot of churches that are lavishly built, and it angers me to think it was all paid by the common people’s contributions. You could very well preach at a roadside. The New Testament had no meaning to me, because it's too mild compared to the Old Testament. When I read it at home, I was interested in it in my own way, but when I went to church and heard all of these strange doctrines, I lost interest immediately. The pastor was only forcing his own personal interpretation on us. It’s essential to let the reader have the freedom to interpret. You could also say that about education. There’s no rule saying that an older person is wiser.

“Yes” is the most positive word. Regardless of liking or hating it, people have to work, and continuously buy things, consume, in the endless pursuit of the ultimate “thing”. But they probably never find it. That’s the rule of consumer society. People say all kinds of things about morals, but I think people who do things like spit on prostitutes are disgusting. Misfortunes can happen to anyone. The theme of this song is that people aren't always weak, but they become liars.


The US Constitution is said to be the most liberal in the world, but that is a myth. Only with the assassination of a leader on the level of JFK do they notice something. That is frightening. I think Americans, more than any others, still chase their dreams. For example, when Brits stay at a hotel, at breakfast they just sip their coffee with a blank expression, while Americans are always smiling and wishing you a nice day. That may only be said for politeness’ sake, but they seem to still have some optimism left, probably because the US is still a new country. They still believe in the path to success. In Japan and Europe’s long history, there was a time when they used to say “we’re the best in the world”. But now America is in that time. “We’re the most superior in the world, our morals are above any other”, and that is affecting the world. It’s a threat, because they are powerful. At the end of the song, the Brady Bill is mentioned. Everyone thinks they can be John Wayne because it's a free country, but there weren’t any gun regulations for the last 20 years. However, the times have changed, and as black people have moved into white neighbourhoods, they’re claiming gun control is necessary because the children are unsafe. At a first glance, you may think the Brady Bill is something good, but thinking critically, it’s a bill only made with consideration for the white people feeling they’re unsafe. In other words, the white-dominated society remains unchanged.

Of Walking Abortion
The bleakest song in the album. Fascism is growing stronger in Eastern European countries now. People are despairing about all sorts of things. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, rivalry between nations has not diminished. Every country has to develop naturally, as have western nations, but with the collapse of Soviet Union these countries are about 50 years behind in setbacks. Perhaps it’s obvious that the only one that should be reviewed is the strong-willed Juche ideology. But with the nostalgia that the past was better, fascist ideology is being revived.

She Is Suffering
I went to church until I was 13. There, if you were late even by 5 minutes, they would harshly scold you. I realised that had nothing to do with religious teachings. Also being told off if I wore torn jeans. I always questioned this, shouldn’t they be teaching about the “truth” in the Bible? We never knew anything other than western religion, but when we went to Thailand and Japan, we got interested in eastern religions and picked up some books on it. It was all so simpler and written in a way that was easy to understand than what I was used to. I found it much better than the Christian Bible. According to these teachings, in order to become someone who has the abilities to judge and accomplish things on their own, a person must first start from ‘nothing’. Then, I was thinking about the high rates of divorce in western countries. People are placing more and more value in financial aspects and outward appearances. “I want to sleep with him because he’s good-looking” or “I want to fuck my girlfriend” - there’s no way a relationship can last when it’s based on that. I’ve been single for 26 years, because I know I couldn’t spend my whole life with a partner if there’s no passion.

Archives Of Pain
As western society advances, it’s important to create an appropriate penal system within it. For example, a very 60’s humane thought is that a murderer or someone who commits a particularly cruel crime doesn’t always have to be punished, and I think at times humanity can be very cruel. Long ago, someone said that, “Punishment is extremely necessary. It clearly demonstrates to children that if you do a bad thing, you get sent to prison.” But in Britain today, it doesn’t seem that bad to get locked up. You get a meal every day. I think punishment should be more visible to people. In the past, criminals would get sentenced to public dismemberment. There's also the opinion that sentences should be televised. Jeremy Bentham designed a glass prison, where people could have a look inside. That way, the people inside would realise they’re like caged birds. They would see people walking outside in freedom, instead of being stuck inside a stone fortress, oblivious to outside affairs. In 2 or 3 weeks, people easily adapt to prison life as it is. But if they could see what’s going on outside, I think anyone would want to get out of there. They would regret their actions.

Short for ‘Revolution’. And ‘Lover’ if read backwards. From a democratic perspective, Stalin and co. seem very liberal. But with many failed calls to revolution, each time the people wished for a more extreme leader, and the long history of the world shows that such a leader always appears. For example, Trotsky(Russian politician/revolutionary) was a genius, but his influence on the country was small. Stalin became Lenin’s successor, when in reality it should have been Trotsky. The reason was that Trostky was an ideologue, while Stalin seized that position by force.

4st 7lb

A song about anorexia. The number of people with this condition is growing in the west, maybe it’s also happening in Japan, they become apathetic and even lose perspective on life. It is said that we now live in an era of gluttony, but they refuse food, sometimes so extremely that it ends in death. They have no reason to refuse food. They don’t have to starve to death… When there’s television documentaries about this, most people probably think “that’s silly”. Really, it is excessive vanity. But there are people who have such ideas. For me, vanity does not include death.

Mausoleum & The Intense Humming Of Evil

These are sibling songs, so I will explain them as one. Both were written after I visited concentration camps and Hiroshima. When I saw the concentration camps, I was shocked by how systematic it was, and the way it operates like a typical capitalistic business. When I went to Hiroshima and visited the museum, it was forbidden to take photographs. A reasonable request of respect for the dead. But there were American tourists there who kept saying things like “Hey, look at this dead child’s fingernails”, and applauding. When I saw that, it made me so embarrassed, “Don’t you have any fucking respect?” They had zero interest. I felt the same about the souvenir shops. Also photographing as proof they’ve been there. The people of Hiroshima faced such suffering only 50 years ago. History tells us to ignore anything except for what is fact. There are two levels to history, one is history that’s been made into myth, and the other is the sole truth. People place their opinions within the truth and try to make it mythical. If you ignore the accounts of the Hiroshima victims, then what is the point? It’s so sad we're unable to learn anything from history.


This song is quite complex. I wanted to write about how people control their emotions. So far, I have done so many things and there were times I was called a fool. But I know what I’m doing. If I can’t do what I want, then I have to sit around depressed for days or weeks. I think I’ve become better at controlling my pain, and as much as possible, I try to think positively. If the weather’s bad today, then I'll think it will certainly be better tomorrow. I’d rather not have someone tell me I’m foolish for that. Most people turn to alcohol, but that just shows we haven’t progressed from the Stone Age. Aren’t there other ways to deal with it? Even now, there are times when I still get in a rage, but other than that I know different means I can control my emotions.

This Is Yesterday
Why do we choose to forget things, at all? With drugs or alcohol. Westerners think those are recreational, but the truth is that they do it because they want to forget whatever. Social drinking is a lie. Alcohol is escapism. Just go to any pub, there’ll be people drinking in silence. When they leave the pub, they’re pissed. An extreme action just to forget. Then they hug each other like long-lost friends, or get into fights like enemies. Pathetic, right?

Die In The Summertime

An ageing person in their 60’s or 70’s, wishing they could be a child again, looks back at pictures of their childhood, reminiscing about these times, realising the last time they had fun was when they played in the street. For the last 25 years they have been preoccupied with paying loans, not happy at all. So, this person wishes to see the fallen leaves in autumn and the snow one last time before they die.

Named after a drug and as well as ‘Political Correctness’. Both are related to the working class. PC is essentially the search for and censorship of politically incorrect words. Some people think they can attain power by censoring language. In fact, if you repeat certain controversial words 20 times, they lose their impact. In England there’s page 3 (Editor: “The Sun” newspaper always publishes a female nude model on its third page) being cited as an example of gender inequality, but the biggest example in this country is actually the gender inequality in employment conditions, being male-dominated. Page 3 is merely a visual representation of this inequality. The nonsensical part of PC culture is the torture over insignificant words. What a boring, petty sense of values.




"You're obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretences of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That's the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world."

- Octave Mirbeau (The Torture Garden)