Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers thrive on being confrontational. Having hijacked the sloganeering approach of the early punks, they arrived on the scene timid a blaze of pithy manifestos and power chords.
They were precocious enough to make their debut album a double and following a string of Top 40 hits, really hit the high spots with a cover of the Theme From MASH.
The group's latest album is an abrasive collection which glories in the title The Holy Bible.
"The title seems like a very good metaphor for a lot of things," states guitarist James Dean Bradfield. "We took the Ten Commandments and realised that they had a contradictory failures in western terms," explains the frontman.
The group are prepared for criticism from all quarters. Not least rock's fashion casualties who brand them provincial hicks.
"Out of all the countries - Irish, Scottish or Welsh - being Welsh is the least glamorous," says James. "There doesn't appear to be much romance in Welsh culture. It's all beer bellies, rugby teams and sheep shaggers, basically. Even the music press have taken up lot of tabloid gestures towards us." shrugs James. "I was quite shocked but I've got used to it."
The new album. The Holy Bible. is designed to challenge complacency at all levels.
"It sounds really pompous and it is,' admits James. "But it gave us a good sounding board for all the lyrics. It's a sarcastic Valentine to religion itself."
Richey James, the band's guitarist, has been back touring the continent with the Mimics. Richey suffered a well documented breakdown recently and was hospitalised suffering from anorexia and nervous exhaustion.
The band released She Is Suffering, from the current album, as their new single yesterday. Suede's former guitarist Bernard Butler guests on a couple of tracks on one of the CD formats of the single. Frontman James sums up the band's philosophy when he declares: "We've got a shake 'n' break altitude."