Three Monkeys Online

A Curious, Alternative Magazine

The Holy Bible – Manic Street Preachers ten years on.

The DVD is a valuable addition for any Holy Bible-era Manics fan who didn't spend the mid-’90s glued to the TV and should also be an eye-opener for those who came to the band later in their career. During the interview James cites as the reason for adding this footage that “[it was] the most definitive period visually as well. We've never been scared to admit that”. The video clips do indeed show a band who look as focused and powerful as they sound, an impression that is underlined by the military uniforms worn by all four during this period. There are live and taped versions of all the singles here, including the infamous Top of the Pops appearance which drew an unprecedented number of complaints from the British public. Not all the footage presents a similar picture of invincibility, notably the clips from the band's performance at Reading 1994 where James, Nick and Sean first played without Richey, who was in hospital at the time.

One facet to the release that is particularly highlighted by the DVD footage and interview is that in as many ways as the re-issue is a celebration of the album it is also a commemoration for Richey. In the featured interview James and Nick both calculate that their disappeared bandmate was responsible for around 75% of the lyrics on the album. Taking into account the extent to which the words influenced the music, and coupled with the fact that both the band's 'look' at the time and the original packaging of the album were designed by Richey, it is fair to say that The Holy Bible was definitely his album. The decision to re-release it indicates that the band is finally able to acknowledge and reminisce about that time after many years of trying to completely distance themselves from everything they were before. It is a gesture that will be appreciated by the many 'old' fans who feel themselves alienated from the Manic Street Preachers in their current guise. What more recent fans may think of it is less certain. In the end though this is the result of a band trying to come to terms with both past tragedy and glory in the form of the album that defined an era for them. The rest of us benefit from being reminded of how, once upon a time, rock bands had something important to say.

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