It started in 2007 with Nikki Sixx’s autobiography The Heroin Diaries – A year in the life of a Shattered Rock star, later that year a soundtrack was made for the book and Sixx: AM were formed. Since then, three more albums joined the airwaves and now we have a fourth.
Another bit of history – so please sit down, relax, switch your phone off or put it on silent. Nikki Sixx is the man behind Motley Crue, the song writer of the band and a man who’s had more lives than a cat. His recovery from addiction, which is a daily reprieve in many aspects, has brought a passion out of Nikki and his new crew. Along with Nikki, guitarist DJ Ashba, who was a member of the ever revolving door that belonged to Guns N Roses, and singer/songwriter, producer and front man extraordinaire James Michael form Sixx: AM.
The first track I heard from this band was “Life is Beautiful”, a no holds barred song about addiction and the light at the end of the tunnel. What makes this real is Nikki Sixx had been through this tunnel and did see the light at the end, many do and millions don’t and they’re in that pine box mentioned in the song.
8 years down the line and we have a fourth album by Sixx: AM; Prayers for the Damned, out April 29th a few days after St George’s Day if you please.
First up is “Rise”, a song about standing up for what you believe in and getting through struggles and rising above negativity. This song gives out a wonderful message and a perfect start to this album.
To narrow down all the great songs I’ll just run through a few, “You have Come to the Right Place” “Better Man” “Can’t Stop” and “The Last Time”. These allow the album to breathe and show how tight Sixx: AM are. James MIchael’s vocals blend beautifully with axeman DJ Ashba, the song writing and basslines from Nikki Sixx mould the band into a continuation of their evolution that is this album.
The highlight of the album is “Belly of the Beast” a powerhouse of a song. The intro would befit a classic movie such as The Warriors when the gang venture to the big meet to hear Cyrus. Even with Mr Michaels announcing ‘I’ve stared in the face of evil, in the belly of the beast…I’ve turned my back on Jesus, in the belly of the beast.’ The emotional strings attached to the vocals coincides Ashba’s impressive guitar playing. And Nikki Sixx writing and musicianship orchestrates the entire album into a theatrical style. “Belly of the Beast” is a perfect record that changes the emotion throughout the 3 minutes 48 seconds of its creation.
If you’ve listened to previous albums you’ll know what to expect. Good classic metal riffs from DJ Ashba, if you listen carefully his guitar skill is like foreplay, it’s that teaser before the money shot, and “Rise of the Melancholy Empire” where the album ends brings that talent to the forefront.
The day after Prayers for the Damned is released, Sixx: AM venture out on a U.S and European tour. They’ll be at the Isle of Wight and Download festival in the U.K later in the year.
You can check out the track “Rise” below, or have a look into the recording of the vocals if the techie side of things interests you.