By John Jeffrey
Just when people started to count them out, SIXX:A.M. returns with possibly their best album yet, with 'Vol. 1 Prayers For The Damned.' Being skeptical myself of what their latest offering would bring, after their 2014 disc, 'Modern Vintage,' while being a solid release, showed the band dabbling with more pop orientated song arrangements and even incorporating disco/R&B flavorings (ala Michael Jackson) into their sound, there was definitely a sense that the band was "losing the plot."
Ye believers of little faith need not worry, as the first installment of "Prayers For The Damned" hits all the pleasure points that fans were missing on 'Modern Vintage' and to some extent on 'This Is Gonna Hurt.' Being the fourth studio album from the trio, this CD represents the band’s most ambitious, complete and adrenaline-soaked effort to date. The album also boasts first-class production and mixing by vocalist James Michael and original artwork from guitarist Dj Ashba, proving that this collection of music is a true labor of passion. One cannot deny how focused and cohesive this album of music is, and this is perhaps due to Dj taking the decision to leave Guns ’N’ Roses and Nikki Sixx wrapping up his touring career with Mötley Crüe. There are no distractions any more and the band definitely appears to be 100% dedicated to SIXX:A.M. now.
Lyrically, 'Prayers For The Damned' sees the trio casting their glance out onto the world we live in more than ever before, as there is still a great deal of the personal introspection the band have come to be renowned for represented here. Musically, 'Prayers For The Damned' includes some of the heaviest songs that band has ever written. As Nikki Sixx puts it, “These 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 eerie overtones that have been missing on the past couple of releases are back as well, as songs like "Better Man" and "When We Were Gods" sound like songs that could have easily been written and recorded for 'The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.'
The bottom line is that SIXX:A.M. are back, swinging with a collection of songs that will fire up both the head and heart in equal measure. SIXX:AM have found their way back to their true sound and are producing art that refuses to be led by anything but their own desires. As Nikki puts it, “This time around we have really found what the voice of SIXX:A.M. is and I hope that when people listen to them they will hear their voice too.” If Vol.1 is any indication of how great Vol.2 is going to be, the future will be incredibly bright for SIXX:AM.
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