Prayers for the Damned Vol. 1, Sixx A.M., Sony Music, 2016.
Nikki Sixx sure isn’t wasting any time. Barely four months after completing Mötley Crue’s farewell tour he’s back at it again, this time with a new studio album with his now-main focus, Sixx A.M. 2016 looks to be a very prolific year for the band with their new album Prayers for the Damned to be released in two parts.
I wasn’t a big fan of the band’s last effort, Modern Vintage (2014). I can appreciate that certain aspects were very experimental and diverse, but Prayers for the Dammed Vol. 1 feels much more like a Sixx A.M album. With it’s heavy, anthemic in-your-face lyrics and attitude, the album is everything a Sixx A.M. album should be
“Rise” is a strong opener and choice of first single. It’s everything Sixx A.M. tries to be; uplifting and powerful. A kick in the face.
“You Have Come to the Right Place” is a heavy fist pumper that packs a punch, I see this song working well in a potential live setting .
“I’m Sick” is one of the catchier songs on the album, featuring a blistering guitar solo courtesy of DJ Ashba.
The title track “Prayers for the Damned” is very slick and modern. The song is carried by James Michael’s passionate vocal delivery and constitutes a high point for the album lyrically.
“Better Man” is my favourite song on the album, it has that depth and raw honesty the band’s best songs possess. It’s slightly more stripped-down than the rest of the album and in that sense it’s effective.
“Can’t Stop” is a good song but it gets lost in the shuffle to better songs.
“When We Were Gods” has one of the album’s best choruses and solid riffing from Ashba, very heavy.
“Belly of the Beast” has an industrial feel to it which adds a different dimension to the album .
“Everything Went to Hell” features some furious riffing, swearing and all-around anger. I feel the passion. Definitely a highlight.
“The Last Time (My Heart Will Hit the Ground)” doesn’t stand out in any way to me, but it has a cool breakdown after the halfway point.
The closing “Rise of the Melancholy Empire” is the longest song of the album at 6:08. It had a soft start and builds up quickly and with interesting breakdowns manages to engage the listener. The first thought that came to mind after listening was how well the title fit. Melancholy indeed.
A few observations:
In my eyes, Modern Vintage was ambitious, but all over the place experimenting and throwing ideas against the wall— waiting to see what sticks. Prayers for the Damned is self-aware, loaded, heavier, loud, bold, and confident. This approach works better for the band.
It’s fantastic to hear Asha let loose on Sixx A.M. album. I always had the feeling he was holding back, here he shreds on multiple occasions. Sixx A.M. was never known for having a whole lot of guitar solos, until now that is. It took me by surprise I must say.
Sixx A.M.’s first official drummer, Dustin Seinke,makes his first studio appearance. I wouldn’t classify the drumming as phenomal, but Seinke does the job well and there are moments where he shines.
The album features a lot of God and Christianity-related themes. Songs like “Belly of the Beast” are a little more obvious with their stances, but it’s a found throughout the album almost as a concept.
Is it a masterpiece that will blow your mind? Unlikely. However, Prayers for the Damned Vol. 1 is a great slice of modern rock that boasts very good songs and has me anticipating Vol. 2. Well done, Sixx A.M. 3.5/5 stars.