James Dean Bradfield has revealed that using missing guitarist Richey Edward's final lyrics on the upcoming Manic Street Preachers album was like being in a "full band" again.
The singer, from Blackwood, said that Journal For Plague Lovers was based around a "booklet" of lyrics left by the missing guitarist "on the eve of his disappearance" 14 years ago.
James, who was 40 in February, said: "For years we haven't felt like we were ready to tackle the lyrics or use them in any songs. But as the time has passed, it suddenly felt that it was right to use these lyrics."
Richey vanished mysteriously on February 1, 1995, after his car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge.
He was declared "presumed dead" in November last year.
James added: "We really enjoyed it, but there was a sense of responsibility to do Richey's words justice.
"I suppose that was part of the whole thing of letting enough time lapse.
"We actually enjoyed feeling as if we were in a band with Richey again." Journal For Plague Lovers is released on May 18