REVIEW: SIXX:A.M. – “Prayers for the Damned, Vol. 1”
Full-blooded, headbanging supergroup Sixx:A.M. is collectively made up of Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue), Dj Ashba (Guns N’ Roses)and James Michael. The band hit the ground running upon their formation in 2007, and have since showed no signs of slowing down, even between their (then) other respected projects. Now, Sixx:A.M. have returned with their latest effort ‘Prayers For The Damned, Vol. 1’, and with Sixx having just wrapped a Motley Crue farewell tour and Ashba exiting Gun N’ Roses, the band’s sole focus has been on this record, and it would be fair to say they are pretty excited about it!
‘Prayers For The Damned, Vol. 1’ is all kinds of good fun. From the infectious, anthemic sing-alongs found in “You Have Come To The Right Place”, “Prayers For The Damned” and the emotional powerhouse ballad that is “Better Man” , it’s already clear that this album will translate brilliantly in a live setting. These are songs meant to be shared with the crowd, which is no surprise, as Nikki Sixx has said that the tracks found here are “the songs that are designed to get a reaction from a live crowd as much as they are going to sound brilliant over your stereo.” The talent for producing such material is one Sixx has had for the better part of his career, and further proof can be found in the belting “I’m Sick”, which arguably has the strongest chorus on the album.
However, it is in tracks like “I’m Sick” where the albums weaker areas reveal themselves. The intro to the song as well as parts of other tracks, although subtly different rhythmically, are a dead ringer for Sixx:A.M’searlier work “Life is Beautiful” from 2007’s ‘The Heroin Diaries’. In this instance, this brief revert is all too easy to forgive. As would most listeners of this band however, I expected from such household names. Similarity follows suit as this influence begins to bleed through on tracks like “Rise” and “Can’t Stop” where it would come as little surprise to learn that either Five Finger Death Punch or Motionless in White (or both!) donated some time to the making of this record. Elsewhere, ‘Prayers …’ feels lined with some filler tracks at best. “When We Were Gods” and “Belly Of The Beast” fall by the wayside among others, but it would be unfair for that to be the final word.
Taking into account the hectic lives and mega-groups this band found themselves in, Sixx:A.M’s members have admitted that it is only recently that they, since their departures from other projects, have now begun to really focus on Sixx:A.M. as a “real band”, and with that, the benefit of the doubt should not be denied. A project they and their fans love may very well only be really getting started now.
‘Prayers For The Damned, Vol. 1’ is a strong, honest and vibrant record. It does suffer, unfortunately, as its eclectic range of influence and at times a sense of reverting backwards, comes across heavily throughout. The album is so busy trying to be too much of everything and not enough of something that you feel this band is still finding its way.
Does this take away from it being a really great rock record? No, there are moments here when Sixx:A.M. are all their own, and there are others when there is a perhaps a subtle reverence to their current influences. If you are looking for the next rock record that will shake the Earth, you probably won’t find it here. However, if you are looking for some more great Sixx:A.M. tracks that will give crowds more great shows, you have come to the right place.