The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world








 by Kevin Cummins | Faber | 4 December 2014.


Manic Street Preachers were and are just as much about art as rock and so the fact that they have been the subject of more than one photo books recently seems fitting, but it’s hard, as much as you admire the art in here to imagine this appealing to those outside the dedicated fan base. After all we’re not talking real ground-breaking musical history here: this isn’t the Beatles or The Stones, just maybe Wales’ finest Rock act of the last twenty years.

 What ‘Assassinated Beauty’ is though is a compelling largely chronological evolution from ‘Flash Bang Shock Art Rockers’ who visually referenced bands as diverse as  The Clash Guns ‘n’ Roses, New York Dolls and a mash of Glam and it’s bastard child New Romanticism to the more refined casual Indie Art Rock non-glamour of today.
The book collects the work of a number of photographers from the earliest days of the band to date and in doing so the evolution from youthful Glam to older refined cool is akin to looking through your own photo albums over the decades. Author Kevin Cummings was one of the first to shoot them and it is apparent early on that there were two clear camps – the Glam Richey and Nicky (who appear on the cover in one of his early shots) and the more subdued and Gothic pairing of James and Sean.  

Emphasis here though is clearly (by volume alone) on the band’s early days with most shots dating prior to Richey Edwards disappearance in 1995, after which Nicky becomes gradually more pensive and subdued without his partner in crime to perhaps goad him on.

Some of the most striking images are of Richey Edwards after the Japanese knife incident, when a fan requested he cut his chest and he obliged. We also get to see the Bangkok shots with Edward’s at a house of ill repute.
If a picture paints a thousand words and the Manics are more than a passing fancy this is a book that will have you turning the pages constantly looking for answers and remembering the music behind it all.



by Mark Rockpit