Manic Street Preacher Richey Edwards disappeared without trace almost 14 years ago - but he is proving to be the main influence on his remaining bandmates' new record.
The Blackwood trio - James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore - have revealed on the band's website that they are using lyrics left behind by Edwards, who went missing in early February 1995 on the eve of a US tour in support of the critically acclaimed third album The Holy Bible.
A couple of Edwards' lyrics, most notably for the song Kevin Carter, appeared on Manic Street Preachers' triumphant 1996 comeback album Everything Must Go, but the next album, due next spring, looks set to be heavy with his lyrical presence.
"All the songs we are recording are lyrics left to us by Richey. Finally it feels like the right time to use them," says a statement posted by the band on their website at www.manicstreetpreachers.com "Musically in many ways it feels like a follow-up to The Holy Bible but there is also an acoustic side - tender, romantic nihilism."
The album, which will be the band's ninth, currently has two working titles - Journal for Plague Lovers, and I Know I Believe In Nothing But It Is My Nothing. The website statement says it will be released in April or May.
The band have been recording with Steve Albini, whose production credits include albums by Nirvana, Pixies and PJ Harvey, using a back-to-basics approach they describe as "quite scary, daunting and invigorating."
They sign off: "This is a record that celebrates the genius of his (Edwards') words, full of love, anger, intelligence and respect. We have to make this great. Wish us luck."