Manic Street Preachers and Steps revive ‘90s chart battle as their new albums fight it out for Number 1 on Official Albums Chart

The Stranglers, The Vaccines and Kacey Musgraves are also headed for this Friday's Top 10.

Two 90s chart rivals are once again battling it out for the top spot on the Official Albums Chart, as Manic Street Preachers and Steps face off for the UK’s Number 1 album.

In September 1998, Manics’ This Is My Truth Now Tell Me Yours beat Steps’ Step One to the top spot by a huge margin of 95,000 sales. Fast-forward 23 years and the gap between them is much closer, with just 3,000 chart sales separating the Welsh rockers and pop purists.

On today’s Official Chart Update (September 13), Manic Street Preachers’ 14th studio album The Ultra Vivid Lament leads the way having racked up the most physical sales over the weekend. Should the band’s momentum continue, The Ultra Vivid Lament will become the band’s second Number 1 album and first since that very week they beat Steps.

Meanwhile, Steps currently have the most downloaded album of the week with their seventh studio album What The Future Holds Pt. 2. The record is on course to become their third consecutive Number 2 album since their comeback four years ago, matching the peaks of Tears On The Dancefloor (2017) and What The Future Holds (2020).

MORE: The UK's Official Top 40 biggest albums of 2021 so far

Punk rock legends The Stranglers are in at Number 3 with Dark Matters, their first album in nine years. The set, their first since the retirement of drummer Jet Black and death of keyboardist Dave Greenfield, is on track to be their highest-charting album in 43 years since 1978’s Black & White.

The Vaccines are pacing towards their fifth consecutive Top 5 album with Back In Love City (4), last week’s Number 1 Certified Lover Boy by Drake falls four places (5), and Metallica’s self-titled fifth studio album – known as The Black Album – is in pursuit of a return to the Top 10 for the first time since 1991 following a reissue which includes a companion covers album featuring 53 artists such as Miley Cyrus and Elton John (6).

GRAMMY-winning country/pop star Kacey Musgraves is eyeing her second UK Top 10 album with star-crossed at 7, and a deluxe edition of prog-rock group Marillion’s 1978 album Fugazi starts at 9.

A further five albums currently sit in the Top 20: Comfort To Me by Australian rock group Amyl and the Sniffers (11); alternative dance band Saint Etienne’s 10th studio album I’ve Been Trying To Tell You (14); Hey What, the latest collection for American indie outfit Low (15); Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett’s second LP of 2021 titled Surrender of Silence (16); and Somnia, a potential 17th Top 40 album for psychedelic rock act Hawkwind (20).

MORE: The Official Top 40 best-selling vinyl releases of 2021 so far

A re-release of Spiritualized’s third album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is heading for the Top 40 at Number 21, while French electronic artist Jean-Michel Jarre could pick up his 21st Top 40 effort with Welcome To The Other Side at Number 23.

Arlo Parks is set to return to the Official Albums Chart with her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams following its Mercury Prize win, currently at 26, and the second album from Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams FLOWERS for VASES / descansos is on the cusp of entering the Top 40 for the first time following its vinyl release at 29.

Finally, Northern Irish folk singer Foy Vance is at Number 35 with Signs of Life, and 20-year-old Californian rapper Baby Keem is at Number 39 with his debut album The Melodic Blue.

See the full Official Albums Chart Update Top 100 (from 5:45pm)

View this week's Top 100 Official Singles Chart Update (from 5:45pm)