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mANICS READY TO PREACH THE HOLY BIBLE AGAIN

Having enjoyed a great 2014, giving us their best album in years with the Eurocentric Futurology, the Manic Street Preachers have decided to end the year on a special note, marking the 20th anniversary of The Holy Bible by performing the album in its entirety for the first time.

Now, while hardcore fans will undoubtedly be delighted at such a prospect, for those who've only dabbled with the band's astonishing catalogue this night out may well come as something of a shock.

By the time the album was released the band had gone from gobby Clash-obsessed upstarts from South Wales to expanding their sound to almost stadium levels on the great double-album debut Generation Terrorists and followed that up in 1993 with Gold Against the Soul, an equally polished collection which didn't quite have the clout of its predecessor but still contained cracking tunes such as La Tristesse Duerra, Roses in the Hospital, Life Becoming a Landslide and From Despair to Where.

Away from matters musical things were as controversial as ever, with co-lyricists Nicky Wire and Richie Edwards always quick to forward a controversial opinion, whether it be about wanting to concrete over Glastonbury or Wire mounting a serious verbal attack on Michael Stipe at the 1993 Reading festival.

However, it was the state of Edwards' mental and physical condition that was causing greater concern. An NME piece following the band on tour to Thailand revealed some alarming behaviour, the sometime rhythm guitarist looking painfully thin, discussing his depression and displaying an increasingly alarming obsession with self-mutilation.

Against this backdrop the lyrics for The Holy Bible were all his and revealed a world of trouble and turmoil. Here were songs about death from anorexia (4st 7lb) and the horrors of Auschwitz (Die in the Summertime) all set in a much harsher musical landscape than previously - The Intense Humming of Evil just about summed up the sonic soundscape.

When they played Dublin's Tivoli Theatre towards the end of 1994 they appeared in cracking form, but at the start of February 1995 Richie went missing from his London hotel and has never been seen again, being declared dead in 2002. The Manics came back with a vengeance, of course, and have been one of the UK's greatest bands ever since but the intensity of The Holy Bible can be overwhelming at times. Wouldn't miss it for the world though.

Manic Street Preachers play the Olympia tonight


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