Prayers For The Damned (Vol. 1)



by Atari STAFF
May 3rd, 2016 | 17 replies

Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An imperfect but vital redemption for Sixx:A.M.

Following the unexpected success of The Heroin Diaries, Nikki Sixx and his crew’s music began a rapid decline down the most overpopulated roads of mainstream rock. The reason for the band’s sudden diminish in quality is no mystery to solve: they’re a band who formed their entire existence around addiction and recovery, so once their story was told on The Heroin Diaries, they simply ran out of anything substantial to write about. That is, until now. The first half of their double album, Prayers for the Damned, finds the band departing from autopilot mode, and rekindling the passion they displayed in spades on their drug-influenced debut.

Not only does it contain a more optimistic vibe than the band’s recent outings, Prayers for the Damned is the first album by Sixx:A.M. since 2007 that feels fueled by passion rather than a label’s persuasive demands. As a whole, it doesn’t live up to their reminiscent and ambitious debut, but it does contain perhaps the strongest streak in quality of the band’s spotty career – beginning with the excitable rocker, ‘Rise’, and ending with the slickly produced title track. Though dressed up with a refined production job and giant choruses to suit radio play, the first four tracks on Prayers for the Damned contain a relentless energy that was absent from the band’s last two efforts; an energy that pushes them beyond the boundaries of generic radio-rock. Simply put, it’s the best Sixx:A.M. have sounded in years, and they’ve injected their newfound focus into an addictive but flawed assortment of sing-along choruses and bold lyricism. ‘I’m Sick’ is contender for the best track on Prayers for the Damned, with vocalist James Michael accepting and even confronting his illness over a colossal chorus: bring on the shame, bring on the pain, yeah I know that I’m sick, give me some more. As if in response to Michael’s demand, we’re treated with some of the tastiest guitar-work on the album as blistering solos escape from guitarist DJ Ashba’s fingers with an unstoppable fury.

On The Heroin Diaries, the band were strictly focused on the process of grief and moving on from addiction. However, hearing them make taunts and jabs at their illness, rather than wallowing in its grip, marks a welcome change from the lyrical approach of the band’s weathered past. They’re still aware of the destructive role addiction plays in their everyday lives, but their latest batch of songs finds the four-piece coming to terms with their afflictions with a new level of acceptance. The end result is an often rousing collection of rock-n-roll anthems that get the job done more often than not.

Unfortunately, the album takes several abrupt dips in quality and unnecessary detours before making a not-so-victorious leap through the finish line. Following the memorable first few tracks, ‘Better Man’ puts itself out on the line as a poignant ballad, but falls flat on its face with unimaginative verses that seem to lazily bleed into the song’s chorus. ‘Can’t Stop’ isn’t much better, as it employs too much effort in trying to sound edgy, but instead sounds incredibly forced as Michael’s repetitive shouts grow borderline grating by the end of the track. These missteps don’t make or break the experience, though. Nearly every uninspired track is cancelled out by a more stimulating and credible number.

Despite the improvements they've made, it’s difficult to accurately critique a mainstream rock band like Sixx:A.M. It's like judging the speed of a turtle on its best day: the sluggish reptile might make a respectable time, but its speed will still pale in comparison to its much quicker peers. Sadly, sometimes the band's very best work is just "good", which makes it difficult to recommend them without any sense of hesitation. Regardless, Prayers for the Damned contains about as much substance as we can expect from the likes of Sixx:A.M. There’s virtually nothing innovative or groundbreaking here, but I’d be lying if I said there’s not a mindless sense of enjoyment to be had; perhaps best suited for a late night gym workout, or those tedious hours at the office. Not unlike The Heroin Diaries, their latest effort suffers at times from inconsistency and filler, but at its very best, it’s a collection of highly engaging anthems that accomplish exactly what they set out to do. For a band that seemed to be on the fast track to their demise, Prayers for the Damned has rejuvenated their sound, and put them back on the right track towards redemption.

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user ratings (46)
other reviews of this album
TristarRules2001 (4)
A solid performance that stands up to their debut pretty well, and at times, surpasses it....

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
May 3rd 2016


you have come to the right place
I'm sick
full album stream

upon first listen I thought this was pretty generic like their last 2 albums, but I've come around to it a good deal. easily their best since the heroin diaries, as flawed as it may be

Digging: Japandroids - Celebration Rock

May 4th 2016


Modern day rock music is too overproduced for my liking. The Beatles made polished music sound cool to an extent, but half the time, it makes you question if you're listening to real instruments or just studio effects. But that's just me I guess.

May 4th 2016


you're a fucking staff member isn't your time even the slightest bit more important than this garbage?

Staff Reviewer
May 4th 2016


eh, it was a slow week for music (and I have a soft spot for The Heroin Diaries)

honestly their last 2 albums were pretty abysmal compared to this. Modern Vintage is just nonstop cringe

May 4th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Glad to hear it's at least better than Generic Borefest-- excuse me, Modern Vintage.

Digging: Soilwork - Verkligheten

May 5th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Debut was really good, at least.

May 5th 2016


Oh boy it's a double album!

Digging: Yves Tumor - Safe in the Hands of Love

May 5th 2016


WOW, did this album bore me.

May 5th 2016


heroin diaries was a great book

Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2016


Still need to read the book but yeah I've heard good things about it

Contributing Reviewer
May 7th 2016


Album Rating: 2.5


That's my biggest problem with this band: it was only meant to be a book and a soundtrack to accompany the book (both are really good). The rest of their discog has left much to be desired imo. Just generic rock. This is probably the best one they've done since Heroin Diaries, though.

May 7th 2016


I like Life is Beautiful and Stars. That's about it.

May 11th 2016


Their album, This Is Gonna Hurt, has some cool jams on it too
One thing I have to say is that this band's album artwork is consistently bad, like really bad. You think someone as influential as Nikki Sixx would be able to find someone to do artwork that wasn't atrocious.

May 14th 2016


awful band

May 14th 2016


Fuck your face, Nicki Sixx

Contributing Reviewer
May 14th 2016


Album Rating: 2.5

"You think someone as influential as Nikki Sixx would be able to find someone to do artwork that wasn't atrocious."

All the artwork for Motley Crue is dire too, no surprise really.

September 12th 2017


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review and agree on the conclusion. It's one of their better albums (don't know if it's an accomplishment), but overall the band's output is mostly generic mainstream arena rock with occasional somewhat cool spots. But it's nice that Nikki keeps himself busy.

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