Prayers for the Damned is the new album from SIXX A.M., released on April 29th via Eleven Seven Music. It is the fourth studio album from the band made up of bassist Nikki Sixx, guitarist DJ Ashba and James Michael, who takes on lead vocal, production and mixing duties. The band are about to begin a headline tour across America in support of the album, and will also play slots at the Isle of Wight and Download festivals in the UK. I’ve been looking forward to hearing this album since the first single taken from it, Rise, was released last month. It’s been on heavy rotation on radio since then and I was hoping it was a sign of how good the album was going to be. I’ve listened a few times now and the verdict is in, this is a bloody brilliant album. Sixx A.M. has always seemed to be relegated into second place, with Motley Crue and Guns n Roses taking Sixx and Ashba’s time, and Michael producing for other acts, but now that Sixx A.M. is the focus for them they can give everything they have to it and it really seems that Prayers for the Damned has had every ounce of creative energy they have poured into it. DJ Ashba himself commented, “We are on a mission to give our fans even more than they could have hoped for, both musically and visually.” In terms of visuals, the cover art for the album is an original design created by Ashba, proving that all aspects of the production process are of equal importance to the band.
The album opens with the single, Rise. It’s a real statement of intent, with a message calling for everyone to rise up and “demand more of ourselves and our leaders,” says James Michael. Perhaps more important than the message within the lyrics though, is the fact that it’s ridiculously catchy. I’ve caught myself humming it more than once over the past couple of weeks. I’m sure the chorus will be roared back at the band on dates across the whole tour. It’s hard rock at it’s best, with Ashba absolutely outdoing himself on guitar. He maintains a ridiculously high level across the entire album, with solo after solo that will send guitar lovers into raptures. That’s the thing that struck me on my first listen to the album, and repeated listens haven’t changed my mind: the band are absolutely on fire. The level of performance, energy and enthusiasm throughout is at supersonic levels. With tracks named I’m Sick, Prayers for the Damned and Everything went to Hell you might expect something melancholy but in fact the album overall feels positive and rocks so hard it’s actually really uplifting. That’s not to say there aren’t quieter, more reflective moments. When we were Gods starts off that way, and maintains its slower pace throughout the verses, but a crashing chorus turns it into another blistering track that, like the rest of the album, will be absolutely incredible live. Belly of the Beast is where Nikki Sixx comes into his own, with a grooving bass line controlling the whole track, working in tandem with Ashba’s slightly fuzzier guitar and Michael’s higher pitched vocal. I could really rave about every track on the album, there isn’t a single one that seems weak. Everything Went to Hell is another favourite, only slightly edged out for Featured Track. The best compliment I can give Prayers for the Damned is that having heard the first single I expected it to be good, but it’s far exceeded my expectations.
Featured Track: Rise. It’s not often the first track on an album is my favourite, but in this case it sets the tone for the whole record. It’s uplifting, exciting and an example of why Sixx A.M. are going to be absolutely huge.
- You Have Come to the Right Place
- I’m Sick
- Prayers for the Damned
- Better Man
- Can’t Stop
- When we were Gods
- Belly of the Beast
- Everything went to Hell
- The Last Time (My Heart will hit the Ground)
- Rise of the Melancholy Empire