Few bands get to write and record that one album that gets to live on in infamy, that is received with such reverence & praise that it becomes something more, it becomes legendary. This was certainly the case with The Manic Street Preachers third album and final with their founding writer and guitarist Ritchie Edwards, The Holy Bible. A journey into the ugly side of the human condition and what could have been a very real cry for help from Edwards.
The Manics released The Holy Bible in August of 1994. It was the follow up to their successful second album Gold Against The Soul, a record that showed their level of ambition to move and evolve their musical output in new way, even more so with the release of Holy Bible. The recording for the album was taxing and arduous, Edwards input on the record other than song writing was said to be minimal due to his escalating alcoholism and fragile mental state, it has been estimated by the band that around 70% of the lyrical content of the album came from Edwards. You have only to look at the lyrical content of Holy Bible to see that Edwards was in an incredibly dark place both internally and with his own low opinion of the world as he perceived it. Suicide, self-harm, anorexia, fascism and American consumerism being only a few subjects touched upon. By the beginning of the next year Edwards disappeared prior to an American promo tour and has not been seen since, it is believed that he committed suicide.
Holy Bible contained an intimidating body of work when looked back upon today. Faster, PCP, Revol, 4st7lbs being amongst the bands strongest work. The subject matter may have been disparate and oppressive and in some cases, uncomfortably inaccessible from a lyrical standpoint, however it remains possibly the finest and most rewarding album the band put out that still stands to this day.