The Intense Humming Of All Evil

The Intense Humming Of Evil: 4/Great

US Version

One of the most intense, bleak, terrifying songs ever recorded – it’s difficult to say whether I prefer the original or the US version, one feels more barren and hopeless, the other feels more sinister with its creeping undercurrent of godless whispers. Whichever you choose to listen to, you’ll be subjecting yourself to abject horror as we take an appropriately stark look at the Holocaust, replete with Darth Vader gas mask breathing to supplement the death march beat, hellish vocals, and guitars which range from creeping damned rattles and spectral, ear-piercing shrieks. From the stark, long, quotation opening to the sputtering ending where the beat becomes slower and more faint like a life disappearing, it is a harrowing experience. Yes it is angry, overflowing with guilt and rage almost intangibly so, but it is the horror, the desolate, entirely inhuman nature of it all which will stay with you like watching newsreel footage of an extermination camp or seeing the crushed remains of a person still splayed under the wheels of a car.

Misheard Lyrics: The entire intro

2. I’m not afraid

3. Harvey Casey breathes us sir (?)

4. Pot luck trees

5. Dignity girl

6. Never combat

Actual Lyrics: No, I’m not pasting it here

2. Arbeit Macht Frei

3. Hartheim Castle breathes us in

4. Poplar trees

5. Dignity gone

6. Never counted

Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart

Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart: 4/great

It’s always been a mystery to me why the band never quite hit it off in America, at least from a purely musical perspective. The band released their first albums at the height of grunge and shared many similarities with the leading US guitar bands of the period. They were angry, introspective, sensitive, knew how to shred, and had a political and moral stance. Of course much of their politics was anti-american in some ways, or even (horror or horrors) Communist leaning. When you look back at what bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against The Machine were saying at their peak – they too were rallying against the right leaning US policies of the time, and their fans were loyal to the cause – all the more reason for a band like the Manics to be popular. But no singles were released, they rarely toured, and received little to no exposure. This second track from The Holy Bible is a lyrical mass of politics and morality, a literal barrage of words and references and name-checking that even the most ardent student will struggle to keep up with. Musically it has the militaristic core that runs through The Holy Bible, with machine gun drumming, off centre robotic guitars, vocals that sound like they’re screamed through a megaphone, and a shifting structure that feels like a chaotic, absurd blend of blues rock riffage and heavy metal thrashing.

Misheard Lyrics: 1. A messenger from Santander and napalm.

2. Grenade, a heetee (?), pole in Nick a rock you are!

3. Big Mac, smack, fix our knees

4. Killer Mexico

5. Yeah I do speak so much of the abyss

6. Come down Harlem

7. Morning fine groovy first coffee of the day

Actual Lyrics: 1.Images of perfection, suntan, and napalm

2. Grenada, Haiti, Poland, Nicuragua

3. Big Mac, Smack, Phoenix R

4. Cuba Mexica

5. Your idols speak so much of the abyss

6. Compton Harlem

7. Morning fine serve your first coffee of the day

Ranking The Manics Songs – The Holy Bible

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Well now, what the balls am I meant to do with this. It would be like trying to rank the songs of… no, there is no comparison – this is the greatest album of all time, ranking is futile. There’s really only one song I don’t think is on par with the rest, but it has the quintessential sound and tone of the album so it’s not one I can really drop. I’m going to do that in my own version of how the album should look, but I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. Here is the album ranked in terms of my personal favourites – at least 7 of these could be my number 1 on a different day, three others aren’t far behind, and the last three are still better than anything most bands could dream up:

  1. Faster
  2. PCP
  3. 4st 7lbs
  4. This Is Yesterday
  5. Archives Of Pain
  6. Mausoleum
  7. Yes
  8. Die In The Summertime
  9. Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart
  10. The Intense Humming Of Evil
  11. Of Walking Abortion
  12. Revol
  13. She Is Suffering

As I said above replacing any of these is pointless, and no other songs from the era really fit musically. However, I think they could replace She Is Suffering with Too Cold Here – a version specifically recorded for the album (I don’t believe any such version exists) as it is a much stronger song. Judge Yrself could work better musically, though it’s not great lyrically, some might opt for Sculpture Of Man. I’d nominate Love Torn Us Under over those two, but under Too Cold Here. In any case, it’s perfect as it is.

Let us know your ranking in the comments!

Mausoleum

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

Continuing throughout the caustic middle berth of The Holy Bible, this is one of the heaviest and most violent songs, and is certainly the most dense when the lyrics and music are bunched together. The structure isn’t complex, but it definitely appears that way given how breathlessly, impossibly the lyrics are spat out. There’s a creepy, incessant throng of insidious malevolence, the chorus is a guttural expulsion of anguish and disgust, the whole song feels like an exorcism, a cleansing of the blackest oil, but the sudden end suggests that nothing is resolved, nothing is better, and no amount of primal rage will diffuse the malignant vileness brooding inside.

Mausoleum – 4/Great

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Misheard Lyrics: 1. Your mother’s tea is rotten/Humanity’s another

2. Answers her cries

3. Life bleeds the signs of all the victims

Actual Lyrics: 1. Humanity’s recovered

2. Answers her crimes

3. Life is so silent for the victims

Archives Of Pain

Generic Ratings: 1. Crap. 2: Ok. 3: Good. 4: Great

A truly brutal, horrific song which causes revulsion and has an atmosphere which any number of metal bands try their entire careers to generate and almost always fail. We know the state of Richey’s mind at this point, but the band’s creative powers were at their peak so the blending of music, lyrics, visuals, and atmosphere all comes together to make something charred and ugly, and yet, absolutely flawless. The guitars are particularly crushing, Bradfield’s vocals are those of a hundred widows, while Wire’s bass line may be the most sinister ever committed to tape. Lyrically it’s as you would expect – in that it’s nothing like you would ever expect, the chorus simply a cascading list of the names of serial killers. It also closes with one of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded.

Misheard Lyrics: 1. Kill Yeltsin, Hussain.

2. Not punish us with champagne.

Actual Lyrics: 1. Kill Yeltsin, who’s saying?

2. Not punish less, rise the pain.

Archives Of Pain: 4/Great

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