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The Heaviest Non-Metal Albums Ever

You don't need to shred to be fucking heavy

Next month Manic Street Preachers play five dates across the UK performing their 1994 album The Holy Bible in its entirety. The last time they played songs from the album this extensively was at a run of London Astoria shows in December of that year. It proved to be not only some of the most chaotic live shows ever seen at the venue, with the band suffering from nose bleeds whilst playing due to sound frequency issues before utterly destroying everything onstage, but the last before guitarist, lyricist and band focal point Richey Edwards disappeared in February 1995.

With this anniversary in mind it seems now is as good a time as ever for fans of dark and heavy music to (re)discover one of the heaviest non-metal albums ever made. And a few that sit equally uneasily in the spectrum of extreme listening. Here are some of the heaviest albums outside of our genre ever recorded...

Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible

A pretty good bet for the bleakest, most nihilistic and tortured album recorded in ANY genre of music ever. The Holy Bible is a supremely disturbing record even when taken away from the now familiar story of its creator. It’s hard to think of any artist that has laid his insecurities as bare as Edwards does on songs like the anorexia fantasy of 4st 7lbs or the suicide poetry of Die In The Summertime. Add to this Edwards' cold, emotionless retelling of the holocaust on The Intense Humming Of Evil and you can see this is a portrait of a man falling apart. The band don’t soften his lyrical approach with their music either. Although the arrangement to a song like She Is Suffering could appear melodic and beautiful it is haunting when coupled with the lyrics, and much of the record is slow, grinding, obtuse and icy cold. When an album's first track talks of buying a baby and cutting off its genitals, as Yes does here, you know it’s no easy ride… And that was released as a single. The Holy Bible is the most damning critique of humanity in the history of music, and is still shocking to this very day.

Atari Teenage Riot – Live At Brixton

On November 29th 1999 Nine Inch Nails headlined Brixton Academy. Being their first UK show in over five years there was palpable excitement in the air as their support band Atari Teenage Riot took to the stage. Twenty six minutes and thirty eight seconds later the mood had changed to one of hatred, pain, frustration and in comprehension. ATR had just imploded in front of the sold-out crowd. As the last night of an overly long and excessive world tour the German techno quartet had reached the end of their tether and decided to go out and make as much white, shapeless noise as humanly possible. 

The results were captured on this album, compromising of one track. To manage your way through it all whilst keeping your sanity is almost impossible. Somewhere buried deep below the frustrated stabs of electronic noise there is something resembling music, finding it may take you a lifetime, though. Atari Teenage Riot always claimed their music was a weapon, on Live At Brixton it’s a noxious gas that is as deadly as a nuclear warhead.

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