Label: Eleven Seven Music Group
Release Date: November 18, 2016
Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur
Back In April, Nikki Sixx, DJ Ashba, and James Michael – collectively known as Sixx A.M. – released Prayers For The Damned Vol. 1 and less than 7 months later they have put out the companion piece – Prayers For The Blessed Vol. 2 and this thing kicks ass, giving the band their second rating of 10 in one year. Disc opener “Barbarians (Prayers For The Blessed)” kicks this disc off with a little noise and attitude… and then the guitars, drums, and bass join the party. This song sets the pace for the disc not only in tempo, but rock quotient. The vocals are perfect and give the song punch through the verse and into the chorus and bridge and back again. “We Will Not Go Quietly” builds on the opening tracks tempo and heavy bottom end with a charging song that features James Michael’s familiar lead vocals wrapped around full riffs and pounding bass and drums. This song brings the band full circle musically, as the groove of this track aligns perfectly with the debut release. “Maybe It’s Time” slows the pace down without losing the intensity of the other songs on this disc. DJ Ashba pulls out the acoustic and rocks it as well as he does the electric on this song giving us a glimpse of just two sides of him as a performer and player. “Catacombs” is an interesting instrumental that allows Ashba to run a little crazy with his fingers across the fret board while “That’s Gonna Leave A Scar” takes us on a furious ride, thanks to the pounding bass of Sixx and thunderous drums of Dustin Steinke. The vocals are some of Michaels’ best and give this song an edge on top of the soaring guitars and controlling rhythm section. “Suffocate” is a mellow track that showcases Ashba’s acoustic prowess as well as Michaels’ vocals. The simple rhythm lines underneath on the verse allow the natural sound of the track to grow and bloom into a full sound at the chorus.
“Wolf At Your Door” is a chugging rocker that leans into heavier territory, even the lyrics and vocals seem darker than a lot of the bands material, but it not only works on this disc, but alongside the rest of the bands catalog. The bass is steady and keeps the pace and tempo locked down from opening note until the final reverb is heard. “The Devil’s Coming” is a slightly different track for the band, as it has a more streamlined rock sound compared to most of the bands material, but the chorus grabs you and showcases Ashba’s guitars, Michaels’ vocals, and Sixx’s bass lines. The verse is tight and the wall of sound vocals takes this track to the next level… and the bridge is killer! “Without You” is an interesting choice for a cover track from this trio, but they make it work. The guitars and orchestration swirl beautifully in the mix and James’ vocals put the Sixx A.M. stamp on this. I would love to hear the guys play this one live. “Riot In My Head” is a cool track that gives this musical landscape a slightly different look. The groove and feel is very Heroin Diaries while the sound takes the various sounds from the bands entire catalog and blends them together, especially on the chorus and bridge. Disc closer “Helicopters” takes us out on a melancholic groove that ties together the collection and allows us to absorb the different sounds and emotions of the songs without overthinking the rock vibe. This song gives us hope for the next disc and the bands growth. These guys have so far avoided being pigeonholed and this tune demonstrates that. Hopefully the next disc is full of great rockers and other sounds we have come to expect and not expect, all at the same time. 2016 truly was the year of Sixx A.M. – hopefully we will get more in 2017!
Tracklisting: Barbarians (Prayers For The Blessed) – We Will Not Go Quietly – Wolf At Your Door – Maybe It’s Time – The Devil’s Coming – Catacombs – That’s Gonna Leave A Scar – Without You – Suffocate – Riot In My Head – Helicopters
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