Nikki Sixx is back with a new album that's part of his side-band, Sixx AM, which also contains former Guns 'n' Roses guitarist DJ Ashba. I've not heard these guys before, but a quick scan of the internet shows they've been going since 2007 when they released an album called "The Heroin Diaries: Soundtrack" which was based on the book of the same name. Not having heard or read either, I cannot really comment but there are good reviews for both.
As we know, Mr Sixx is well known for his work with Motley Crue which earned him and his band-mates a lot of success due to their catchy brand of glam metal (which seemed to have more of a kick to it than most bands of their ilk). Things went a bit tits-up in the 90's when they went grunge but they managed to pull it back (except for Tommy Lee when he formed that shit band Methods Of Mayhem or whatever the fuck they were called). The Crue truly hit their peak with 1989 album "Dr Feelgood" which was unlike any album they'd released up to that point - there was zero filler and what was there was some excellent hard rock. Not so much glam as before. As to whether this album will be as good as that is unknown to me at this time as I haven't heard it yet, but I am about to find out.
This album is touted as the first half of a double-album with the second part due out later this year. Kind of like a "Kill Bill" situation - which means I'll probably prefer the first one over the second one. Still, let's go...
1) Rise - A multi-layered multi-tracked vocal intro does not fill me with confidence. Neither does launching into somewhat pedestrian hard rock music. It sounds like an arena-rock anthem for a band that probably won't fill an arena. Maybe a big theatre, but not an arena.
2) You Have Come To The Right Place - Doesn't sound like it. Well,if the right place has another song that's as pedestrian as the first, then I guess I have came to the right place. I suppose I'm being a bit harsh, but seriously, despite some good riffs, the song just doesn't go anywhere. What's the point of having really good riffs and not putting them to good use? Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear...
3) I'm Sick - Despite having two incredibly dull songs to kick things off with, we've now got something that sounds like it's going to slow the pace even further. To give them their due, they try tempo changes in order to freshen things up a bit and it almost works. I'm also getting the impression we're attempting to bridge the gap between alt-rock and stadium rock. Nah, not feeling this one,
4) Prayers For The Damned - Sounds like the shit from a Superbowl half-time show, Fucking hell, to think the guy who wrote fucking "Kickstart My Heart" is playing on some discount-Nickleback shite...heartbreaking. This is totally aiming for the rock fan who doesn't actually like rock but will listen to the watered down radio shite instead such as the 'N' band and possibly Godsmack.
5) Better Man - One of the lyrics in this is 'what the hell happened to me, when did I turn so damn afraid?' I'm beginning to wonder that myself as we're now onto some utter mawkish shite that frankly doesn't do a thing for me and has less balls than a bus full of eunuchs. Even as a ballad it's awful as it doesn't tug at the heart strings or invoke any other emotions - except for disgust, maybe. It seems to me we've got a whole bunch of radio friendly unit shifters here. Are we going for one last grasp for stardom?
6) Can't Stop - Yes, about time we had a decent song! Well, in truth it's about average but given the sonic anal prolapse we've had so far, it's an improvement. The main riff is very good and sounds menacing. The rest of the song...well, it tries it's best and that's all I can say about that. It doesn't outstay it's welcome.
7) When We Were Gods - Another example of a really good riff on a song that like a one-legged man with his foot nailed to the floor, goes nowhere fast.
8) Belly Of The Beast - Not a cover of the Anthrax classic although that would have been more interesting. Actually, no. They'd probably have fucked that up too. Mind, this doesn't sound too bad so far, electronica-type intro before sliding into a meaty riff. The electronica stuff reminds me of the scores from John Carpenter movies, and that's good. In fact, this is a good song and I'm not just saying that. Why the fuck is this song track 8? Why aren't there more songs like this on the album? This is easily the best thing on here yet it's buried away like an embarrassment. It's a shame, really.
9) Everything Went To Hell - Mid paced rocking number which echoes sentiments in my synopsis of the last song. Why the fuck is all the good stuff towards the end of the album? It's the damnedest thing...usually, albums tend to be front-loaded, which is understandable as you want the best stuff front and centre but until now, I've never heard a rear-loaded album!
10) The Last Time (My Heart Will Hit The Ground) - Another good song! Nice, swaggering rock song with some great riffs. Great solo too. Can understand why he was in Guns 'n' Roses for so long. This album has been crazy.
11) Rise Of The Melancholy Empire - Bit of a slow, atmospheric one to finish the album with. It's very good. Nice mixture of keyboards and guitars to lend an almost epic feel to the song. Another great solo. Chanty-echo-fade outro which is nice too,
Despite the last four tracks making a bigger U-turn than David Cameron when he remembered exactly how much he benefited from that offshore fund, this album has been, for the most part, fucking awful. None of the first seven songs have had any passion behind them, instead sounding like they were churned out as part of some kind of photo-copy machine on overdrive or something. Still, the last four songs have managed to raise the score of this album up from Brokencyde levels of awfulness, which is something at least. The second part of this album is out later this year. You're on your own with that one. I'd recommend trying this album before buying it as you may enjoy it more than me. Just to clarify, I'm quite partial to a bit of non-metal music too, but not when it's done this pedestrian and autopilot. Maybe it was a one-off, I dunno, but I for one am not in a rush to hear this band again.
2 - If only there was some quality control.
Top Track: Belly Of The Beast.
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This album is available on iTunes.