Manic Street Preachers
Generation Terrorists



by AliW1993 USER (134 Reviews)
November 8th, 2012 | 14 replies

Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Consciously and undeniably amazing. And bloated as fuck.

It's not at all unfair to say the Manic Street Preachers were a bunch of complete histrionic attention whores upon their emergence back in '91. Doused in a plethora of blood, lipstick and DIY hairspray, the Welsh quartet were a soap opera before they even had a full-length record out, surrounding themselves with slogans, vicious criticisms of other bands and claims their own debut would shift 16 million copies - and that's before we even consider that infamous, flesh-carving "4 Real" stunt. It was the type of stuff press and public usually have a field day over, but contrary to the script this group possessed a wealth of substance to support their antics. Falling somewhere in between the punk-fuelled excess of The Clash and the sonic excess of Guns 'N Roses, their music was ballsy, energetic and genuinely exciting; a fresh-faced melding of grit and glamour far removed in the midst of the Seattle grunge explosion. Their individual credentials weren't bad either. In James Dean Bradfield and Sean Moore they held a duo of wholly competent musicians, while the spirit of the band was conveyed by Nicky Wire and Richey Edwards, who for all their eccentrics were in fact a highly intelligent and literate pairing.

By far their biggest strength, however, lay in the songs they wrote, many of which threatened to make Generation Terrorists a truly classic entrance. Characterised predominantly by Bradfield's guitar prowess and Edwards' deep, razor-sharp lyrical intellect (practically his only contribution, but a potent one nonetheless), they alone were enough to wipe aside any issues of authenticity, and in some cases emitted a thrill which extended far beyond the initial "woah!" factor. That much was obvious from the opening bars of "Slash 'N' Burn," which although not especially innovative contained the kind of irresistible strut most bands never generate the confidence to pull off. The same was true of early single "You Love Us," while closing gambit "Condemned To Rock 'N' Roll" presented an all-out riff-fest any of their '80s heroes would be envious of. "Love's Sweet Exile" and "Little Baby Nothing" meanwhile added a healthy dose of diversity and ambition to proceedings, the latter displaying noticeably poppier tendencies atop a vibrant guest vocal from notorious former porn star Traci Lords.

All of these numbers, however, paled in comparison to this record's crowing moment. At just over six minutes, "Motorcycle Emptiness" was the longest cut on offer, yet was also the one which seemed to pass by fastest. It's star is undoubtedly Bradfield, whose delivery of Edwards' magnificent, heartfelt lyrics was bettered only his soaring and utterly indispensable riff - one he recently declared to be his "Slash moment." It's no exaggeration to call it an all-time great, and although the best song here by a country mile it acted as a trump card even the most avid detractors couldn't deny. An attitude, an image, a pool of great songs and a timeless classic for the ages; here, it seemed, was a new band who literally had it all.

Sadly, there was one missing ingredient - one so crucial it relegated the album from a potential game-changer to a mere side note in early '90s rock. In short, the four-piece lacked any sense of quality control whatsoever, a weakness starkly reflected in a hideously bloated 18 song (!!) tracklist. This would only be a minor complaint if all the material was killer, but that quite frankly wasn't the case, with the second half in particular dragging worse than a turtle's stomach. Was there any need, for instance, to include a second version of "Repeat"" The original, with its industrial bite and echoing cry of "REPEAT AFTER ME: *** QUEEN AND COUNTRY!" was an absolute corker, so why dull the effect with a pointless reprisal" Similarly the likes of "Spectators Of Suicide" and "Crucifix Kiss" represented little more than unnecessary filler, betraying rather than complimenting the overwhelming excellence which populated earlier passages.

There were a handful of other faults. Production-wise the LP was rather over-polished, whilst the thriving grunge movement ensured its glam influences sounded dated upon release, never mind now, 20 years later. That last point more than anything probably explains why it fell so short of the group's own ludicrous sales projection, but despite bombing in that sense Generation Terrorists nevertheless winded up leaving a considerable impression. Even with the excess baggage, it made clear the Manic Street Preachers were an outfit blessed with an abundance of talent, and one which could could make a profound mark once subject to refinement. With that in mind, failure to keep their word regarding a swift breakup came as welcome - if not entirely unexpected - news, and what's more allowed this most divisive of bands a shot at proving their doubters wrong once and for all...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

Decided to write this to tie in with the whole 20th anniversary furor.

If you've never listened to the Manics before don't let the rating put you off. They're a great band and the best songs here (namely Motorcycle Emptiness) are incredible.

November 8th 2012


Good review man, I agree with most of the points you make


November 8th 2012


kool review

band bringz da post-punx

Staff Reviewer
November 8th 2012


I like what I've heard from this band.

Digging: Norman Shores - De L'Ombre Surgit La Lumire

November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

ye maybe is a 3 just never feel like listening any more so gonna keep the 2.5, they certainly got better tho later on, nice review

November 8th 2012


Yoooou loooove ussssss!!

Good review man, being welsh I guess I should POS

November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

there are no welsh we wiped u guys out apart from a few druids left up in anglesey

November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Motorcycle Emptiness is one of my all-time favorites. This song is just undeniably awesome. The rest of the album... not so much. Great review as usual.

November 8th 2012


nice review. Robbaq I love your avatar

November 7th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

""Crucifix Kiss" represented little more than unnecessary filler, betraying rather than complimenting the overwhelming excellence which populated earlier passages."

Awww, Crucifix Kiss is one of my favourite Manics songs. The band themselves say it's one of Richey's best lyrics. Great review otherwise.

December 13th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Motorcycle Emptiness is a jam up there with jammiest of jams

Digging: AL-90 - CODE?-915913

December 13th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0


December 13th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5

Survivals natural as sorrow

June 11th 2014


Album Rating: 2.5

Never liked this album that much...even back in the day. Still think their best record was (and, imo, remains..) 'The Holy Bible'....well, that was an amazing album.

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