I have a habit of believing that anything I'm listening to at the moment is the best album in the world, ever. And so as I was listening to the Manic Street Preachers' "Gold Against the Soul" this morning, that thought crossed my mind.
I first heard the Manics on "Everything Must Go," and I didn't know quite what to think. I really, really wanted to love them—after all, all of the music wonks I was reading on alt.music.alternative  were in love with them, as were all of the people on the Suede mailing list—but I was kind of like, well, they sound like a fucking standard rock band!
Where's the glam? Where's the eye shadow? Where are the fey, androgynous band members?
Oh, right. He disappeared. 
"Gold Against the Soul" was one of the last of their albums that I bought, partly just because I couldn't find it anywhere. This was in 1997 or so, and CDNow just wasn't cutting it for finding out-of-print CDs. I would scour the record stores down in San Jose & Santa Clara for this impossible-to-find album.
And then finally, one lovely day down in Los Angeles, after at least a year of searching, I found it used at Moby Disc. Best. Day. EVAR.
So the funny thing about "Gold Against the Soul" is that, at first listen, it sounds like a very traditional hard-rock album. It doesn't have the punk/metal influences of Generation Terrorists, nor does it have the really dark post-punk sound of The Holy Bible.
But I think it's their best album, and absolutely their most underrated. For a lot of fans—at least, back when I was reading the mailing lists, and the album was just referred to in shorthand as GATS—this semed to be the album that the fans were kind of embarrassed to admit existed.
And the album definitely has its flaws. In fact, frankly, 4 out of 5 tracks on the second half of the album—excepting Roses in the Hospital—are kind of subpar. But the first 5 tracks are incredible. And you know how Manics fans are always going on about Richey's tortured lyrics? These are some of his best: they're just as dark as those on "The Holy Bible," but they're humane rather than nihilistic, (relatively) personal rather than (completely) detached.
And because of that, for me, the album has aged much better than THB. It's one of the few albums I still listen to regularly from my college years. And you should listen to it, too!
 Or, more likely, he killed himself, thus spawning a whole subgenre of pre-LJ emo fan fiction & Richey spottings ("my cousin's daughter's best friend saw Richey in the Canary Islands, and he looked so happy & relaxed! I wish I could just hug him," etc.).