Sixx:A.M.
The Heroin Diaries 10th Anniversary Edition


4.4
superb

Review

by Simon STAFF
June 15th, 2019 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist


A few high-profile names have come out in the past to debunk the authenticity of Nikki Sixx’s phenomenally successful book The Heroin Diaries, proclaiming the likelihood Nikki actually documented his days with the girl with golden eyes as slim at best. The retort comes from either their own experiences with the drug or the people they’ve known on the junk, stating that one could barely hold a pen, let alone jot down their own thoughts whilst in the thick of its effects. Some have even noted – missing the point entirely, I might add – that the book glorifies drug use, which in my opinion is an absurd notion to have. Regardless of whether you believe the book to be disingenuous with its factual content, the message is clear: heroin ruined Nikki’s life – even killing him at one point – and the discernible theme throughout is the detrimental effect heroin had on him and the people around him. As for the album itself, there’s no denying it has always proven to be an exaggerated experience with a flair for the dramatics. Like any adaptation, things get stretched, blown up, or skewed to better fit the narrative and keep people engaged. My own viewpoint on this album shows more validity knowing that The Heroin Diaries is being translated into a musical now – a platform I think will benefit it perfectly. The rendition of “Carol of Bells” is a fittingly boisterous opening for the album, and it works immensely well with its poignant acoustic guitar and lamenting spoken word excerpts from the book, narrated by Sixx himself, that sit over it. It’s making sure to set the tone for the entire record and its listener; a journey based around the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance – done in the most epic way possible.

I’ve never rated Motley Crüe and I won’t mince my words here; they’re a band with at best mediocre songs and a singer that’s an… acquired taste to put it politely. Which makes Sixx:A.M.’s first album an eye-widening surprise for anyone with a mild disdain for Sixx’s day job. I won’t pull any punches for saying forget about any album that proceeds this one either – this is the audio partner to the book, and its meaningful journey was always meant to be a one-time project that happened to catch unprecedented success and thus saw a continuation with more albums. I’ve always gravitated towards music with a raw emotion and/or a meaty theme behind it. The Heroin Diaries not only delivers on both counts, but really highlights Nikki’s superb songwriting abilities. James Michael – a former addict himself – fronting the project is a stroke of genius that not only elevates and showcases the great songwriting here, but sees him convincingly embodying the demons as if they were his own. The emotional torment he wrestles with in “Accidents Can Happen” hears him trying to come to terms with either giving in to the addictive urges or beating himself up for already caving into to them. The powerful energy he brings to “Life is Beautiful” puts you in the thick of Sixx’s emotional state of trying to shift away from a nihilistic mindset to realise life is as fragile and sweet as it is horrifying and cruel. The beautiful ballad “Girl with Golden Eyes” lays out thick seductive croons which magnify the deadly hold heroin has; made all the more potent as the song transitions into a section where our narrator reveals Sixx going through rehab and coming to terms with the drug’s deadly kiss. In short, James is imperative to this album’s emotional convictions paying off. It’s a fantastic performance that makes everything and everyone flourish.

Musically, the album is a hard-rock album interspersed with the kind of balladry Meat Loaf would lay down. The mournful piano in “Van Nuys” and “Girl with Golden Eyes,” the grand choir in the penultimate “Permission” and “Life After Death,” or the self-indulgent guitar solos that are scattered around the album, there’s a great array of emotions and moods to draw from on this greatly ambitious record. And since this is the 10th anniversary edition of the album, there’s bonus tracks that reimagine “Life is Beautiful,” “Accidents Can Happen” and “Girl with Golden Eyes” which intensify the grander side of this album’s personality. As I touched on at the start of this review, while it would be somewhat disappointing to know that Sixx’s memoirs were largely fictional daydreams, its positive message holds weight that can’t be taken away by anyone. At the end of the day, it’s no secret Nikki was into taking indulgences to god-tier levels: he was addicted to heroin and he did come off of it to become a better person. It’s a record with a strong narrative and one with an immensely positive message. If you’re not a fan of Motley Crüe, don’t judge this from that standpoint alone – this will surprise you. Sixx:A.M has had a couple of good moments outside of this album, but this is a haunting project that should have stayed a one-time thing. It’s powerful, it’s sad and honest, but most importantly it’s inspiring. This is a record that documents a man at his absolute lowest while he was slumped at the top of success; seeing him crawl through the wreckage of addiction and abuse to become a better person at the end of it all.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶A̶R̶I̶O̶U̶S̶ ̶B̶U̶N̶D̶L̶E̶S̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://www.banquetrecords.com/sixx%3Aa.m/the-heroin-diaries-soundtrack-%2810th-anniversary%29/ESM1972




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user ratings (2)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SteakByrnes
June 15th 2019


15141 Comments


Dope review, I always thought Pray For Me was the best here

This album was my shit in high school

Digging: Auras - Binary Garden

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 16th 2019


15433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Cheers steak.



I’ll be honest, I’ve been listening to this since it came out and it’s only just started to reveal its genius to me 12 years later lol

Digging: Torche - Admission

ItsTheSquirrel
June 17th 2019


226 Comments


I’ve never listened to this but it does sound like something I’d enjoy so I’ll give it a shot at some point. Review was great

TheSupernatural
June 17th 2019


1955 Comments


It's crazy how dramatically better this album is to anything else they've done since. I remember falling in love with it in high school, not really knowing enough about Motley Crue to know how shitty of human beings they are. I initially looked at The Heroin Diaries and saw Sixx as a sympathetic character; as I grew up, I realized that whatever childhood issues you have become your responsibility by the time you're old enough to make money for your drugs. He was an abuser and complicit in others' abuse and the Diaries read far more like a confessional than an apology.

All of that being said, the album is a damn good confessional enters into the realm of apology to other people. I'm not sure how much of a role Sixx played in producing it, but James Michael absolutely kills it. I can't think of another project that sounds this garbage on paper and turned out to be stunningly beautiful.

Fort23
June 18th 2019


3057 Comments


That movie was whitewashed review made me want to check the joint

AgentDeathbat
June 21st 2019


9984 Comments


This edition would be better if the reimaginings weren't so ass

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 21st 2019


25579 Comments


This album honestly rules. "Van Nuys" gets me everytime. I remember seeing these guys live on the first Cruefest. They were pretty great.

StonedManatee
June 21st 2019


174 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Van Nuys, Life is Beautiful, and Pray for Me are the best songs on the album.

TheSupernatural
June 21st 2019


1955 Comments


Yeah the movie's fun but pretty much excuses their behavior as "boys will be boys" garbage.

I think Van Nuys might be my favorite but I'm always surprised by how much I like Dead Man's Ballet

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2019


15433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

The new songs are novel, I wouldn’t say they were bad.



Van nuys is prob my favourite song here, the chorus always hits me in the feels haha

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2019


15433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

Pretty jealous you saw these live tbh spirit. Does James kill it live?

deathschool
June 22nd 2019


24599 Comments


Always hated the singles from this. But not as much as I hate Nikki Sixx.

Digging: Daniel Bjarnason - Processions

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2019


15433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

honestly man, I used to reject anything that came from nikki or motley crue for the longest time, but for some reason i've really grown to appreciate both nikki and this album the last couple of years. old me would be ashamed.

deathschool
June 22nd 2019


24599 Comments


He used to be a radio host back when I had to listen to the radio at work, and he always played his own songs and it was awful. No hate directed toward you though. Just Nikki.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2019


15433 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

he played his own songs? damn. lol

Gyromania
June 22nd 2019


27979 Comments


the version of life is beautiful you linked is vastly inferior to the original imo

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2019


25579 Comments


"Pretty jealous you saw these live tbh spirit. Does James kill it live?"

Yes! He was really great if memory serves. It's been like 10 years since I saw them but I remember leaving happy with their performance.

AgentDeathbat
June 23rd 2019


9984 Comments


i couldnt fuckin do the reimagined versions. they sounded so sterile and lacking in the passion that made them work on the original album.



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