"The Manics had everything I'd ever wanted from a rock group: Glamour and Politics, Androgyny and Situationism, Intellect and Passion, Introspection and Polemic, Intelligent Lyrics and Great Guitar Riffs. They spoke for and to a nation of people largely ignored and scorned. Those who felt alienated, disaffected, discontented and despairing. Most of all they expressed a righteous anger."
(Melanie R. - quoted in Jeremy Deller, The Uses of Literacy, 1999)
"The Manic Street Preachers are the last honest white band. Seething with questions, doubling back on themselves, changing their minds every which way, thinking things through to a complexity that bewilders and paralyzes." (Neil Kulkarni)
The Holy Bible (1994), described as "post-punk body horror" and "the sound of tungsten under unendurable torque", was the final album to be released by the original four-piece line-up of Welsh band the Manic Street Preachers. No other record, before or after, has been influenced by Dr. Hassan Al-Turabi, the politician who implemented Shariya law in Sudan. Other touchstones: J.G. Ballard, Valerie Solanas's SCUM Manifesto, Yukio Mishima, The Lives of Michel Foucault. Likened initially to Nirvana's In Utero, its songs addressed anorexia, self-harm and extreme depression, and bore titles such as 'The Intense Humming of Evil', 'Archives of Pain', and 'Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart'. At first a commercial flop, this supremely dark and troubled album (its lyricist Richey Edwards disappeared in February 1995 and was declared "presumed dead" in 2008) has since developed cold, hallowed status.
BE PURE - BE VIGILANT - BEHAVE, by long-time Manics collaborator and BAFTA-winning director Kieran Evans, is a document of the Manics' 20th-anniversary tour of The Holy Bible.
KIERAN EVANS is a Welsh director whose films include Finisterre (with Paul Kelly, 2003), From Here To Before (on Vashti Bunyan, 2009), Culture, Alienation, Boredom and Despair (with Robin Turner, 2012), The Outer Edges (2013), and Nowhere Is Home (with Paul Kelly, 2014). His feature film Kelly + Victor (2012) won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.
DANIEL LUKES is the co-author of Triptych: Three Studies of Manic Street Preachers' The Holy Bible (Repeater, 2017), and has written for music magazines such as Kerrang!, Terrorizer and Decibel. He recently edited Conversations With William T. Vollmann (University Press of Mississippi, 2020), and his forthcoming book is Black Metal Rainbows (PM Press).
THE COLLOQUIUM FOR UNPOPULAR CULTURE (est. 2007): falling and laughing...