In early 1995 a few months after his Welsh band released its third and best (to that point) album The Holy Bible Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared; his car was found abandoned near a bridge notorious as a suicide spot. The Manics continued on as a trio with singer-guitarist James Dean Bradford and bassist Nicky Wire at the helm, and steadily moved away from the searing glam-rock and post-punk that characterized their earliest recordings, falling in with the Oasis-led Brit-pop scene as their music went from acerbic to anthemic. Last year, Edwards was officially declared dead, and the trio finally felt okay about using a batch of lyrics their vanished mate had left behind for their new album, Journal for Plague Lovers. Fittingly, the music they wrapped around his words sounds as urgent, raw, and emotionally roiling as Richey-era Manics. For the band, the experience may have provided some closure; for fans, it opens an exhilarating new chapter in the bands sonic history.