Manic Street Preachers – Journal for Plague Lovers

Revisiting the lyrics left behind by Richey could never have been an easy thing for the remaining Manic’s but thank god that they eventually did because they have made an album that stands up to any of their earlier works. Essentially what makes up this record is what made early albums ‘Generation Terrorists’, ‘Gold Against The Soul’ and of course ‘The Holy Bible’ so vibrant, painful and bruised. This is the sound of a band musically raw and punchy, lyrically too clever for the masses and visually exciting with the live shows as well as their choice of artwork. This then is the Manic’s we all initially fell in love with. Gone are the bland pop chart melodies that plagued the last few releases replaced by spiky guitar riffs, thumping drums and bass lines and quotes from ‘The Machinist’. With Steve Albini at the helm the band have recaptured what made them special and stand out from other bands and they have once again made a challenging record which is surely a career highlight. Obviously it has taken a while before the band could even read the words left for them by their band mate and friend before he disappeared but in doing so now it seems to have reinvigorated the band and pushed them in to making something that not only they are proud of but that Richey would be as well. It is not an easy listen, take for example the Nicky sung closer ‘William’s Last Words’ it’s brutal, dark and honest. But that is much of this albums charm; it’s a slow burner that gets under your skin, it doesn’t reveal itself all at once, it stays with you and is a testament to the tortured genius of the lost soul that is Richey Edwards. This has been called ‘The Holy Bible II’ but it isn’t, it’s a stunning record in its own right.

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