A feeling of overall sameness pervades

With Mötley Crüe now wrapped up for good, Nikki Sixx has more than enough time to dedicate to this other main musical concern and Sixx:A.M. isn’t mucking around.

This is merely the first part of a double release with the second chapter to follow later this year. Prayers for the Damned Pt 1 kicks off with a bang, opening with the big and brassy rock of ‘Rise’ to get things underway in the right direction.

Next up, the stomping ‘You Have Come to the Right Place’ steals its opening section directly from Royal Blood’s ‘Ten Ton Skeleton’ before stepping out with some of its own bounce and swing and it sounds like the album is gearing up to more than deliver, but that’s precisely when it comes off the rails.

The next three tracks offer little more than standard radio rock blandness, swallowing each other up with their similar pacing and near-identical vocal melodies – ‘I’m Sick’, the title track and ‘Better Man’ are almost indistinguishable from each other.

Things pick up again with ‘Can’t Stop’ but the album suffers from a lack of real variation. Again, ‘When We Were Gods’ and ‘Everything Went to Hell’ are virtually the same song and nothing really scales very great heights. DJ Ashba steps out with some fabulous Slash-inspired soloing but James Michael sings every track the same way.

For a man possessed of such a  strong voice, he really doesn’t do much with it. The production is outstanding – perhaps even too good – and the songs aren’t too shabby as individual tracks, but gathered together as a suite, the feeling of overall sameness that pervades really drags it all down. Prayers for the Damned isn’t terrible, just rather disappointing.

1. Rise
2. You Have Come to the Right Place
3. I’m Sick
4. Prayers for the Damned
5. Better Man
6. Can’t Stop
7. When We Were Gods
8. Belly of the Beast
9. Everything Went to Hell
10. The Last Time (My Heart Will Ever Hit the Ground)
11. Rise of the Melancholy Empire