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Sixx: A.M.: The Heroin Diaries

Was Nikki Sixx really in that god-awful band, Brides of Destruction? After listening to The Heroin Diaries the sonic companion to the bassist's best-selling book with the same title it's even tough to remember that he made music as juvenile as "Looks That Kill" with Motley Crue. This is the real deal: a gloomy but thoroughly intoxicating album that defies conventional wisdom, a hard-rock record so intensely personal that it makes listeners feel more like voyeurs.

What Sixx does here is set his book, a harrowing yearlong cycle of heroin use and recovery, to music. Each of the 13 tracks represents a chapter, and Sixx narrates excerpts from the book. The album opens with "X-Mas in Hell," featuring a Sixx soliloquy segueing to a doomsday take on "Carol of the Bells" that sounds like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra gone horribly awry. From there, vocalist/guitarist James Michael takes over, bringing Sixx's lyrics to life on songs that trace his descent into addiction hell (the Savatage-styled "Van Nuys"), relapse (the poignant power ballad "Accidents Can Happen"), the condemnation of childhood (the theatrical "Dead Man's Ballet"), painful withdrawal (the bittersweet "Girl With Golden Eyes") and the acceptance of a higher power (the Meat Loaf-flavored "Permission"). Loops and a handful of other modern production touches lend The Heroin Diaries a modern flair, but many of the melodies aren't too far removed from the Crue and their contemporaries although the arrangments are significantly more complex. The sonic variety comes thanks, at least in part, to Michael, whose production credits include the Crue, Saliva, the Scorpions, Meat Loaf and Hilary Duff. That said, it's a bit odd at first hearing Michael sing Sixx's life story in the first person. But the wrenching and emotional performances he gives on nearly every track are wholly convincing. What's more, Sixx wrote these songs with remarkable candor: Pray for me/Cuz I don't want to/Pray for me/If you love me/Cross your heart and hope that I won't die/Before the best day of my life/Just pray for me tonight." The writing process must have been a horrific (and humbling) one.

Sixx deserves credit not only for recording an album of considerable musicianship with a powerful trio of players that also includes guitarist DJ Ashba, but also for providing a blueprint of a life lived, lost and recovered that could offer a vital message (and dire warning) to others about the nightmares of addiction.


Track Listing
1) X-Mas in Hell
2) Van Nuys
3) Life Is Beautiful
4) Pray For Me
5) Tomorrow
6) Accidents Can Happen
7) Intermission
8) Dead Man's Ballet
9) Heart Failure
10) Girl With Golden Eyes
11) Courtesy Call
12) Permission
13) Life After Death

Added: January 10th 2008
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Official Sixx: A.M. Web Site
Hits: 1766
Language: english

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