Hair Metal Mansion correspondent DAWN OSBOURNE
checks in with the following:
As the second companion album to Prayers for the Damned, this second album completes the set of songs written over the same period in 2015 by the band. It’s a rockier offering than the first and if anything even better.
‘Barbarians’ while it has rap and influences from Muse has a more driving back end and darker lyrics spat out with venom and expletives give them material a harder and more cutting edge than some of the first album while delivering a commercial hard rock chorus. There’s an anti-establishment feel to the album perhaps best illustrated by the infectious anthem ‘We will Not go Quietly’ our favourite track on the album.
‘Wolf At your Door’ and ‘Maybe it’s time’ are both good songs about overcoming personal struggle and battling through onto the other side from difficulties like personal addictions. ‘The Devil’s Coming’ is a reminder that personal demons are never too far away and has a rallying chorus which should work well live with solid hard rock roots, yet commercial sensibility.
‘Catacombs’ is a short instrumental and an echo of the prog influences from the first album, but also taking influences from the hallowed featured guitar solo of the modern gig it is more direct and arguably less indulgent than the musical interludes on the first album.
Tapping into the zeitgeist of damaged youth ‘That’s Gonna Leave a Scar’ is another great slice of post modern metal with a slightly emo sensibility which should appeal particularly to the post 90s generation. Then the surprise of a fairly faithful version of Harry Nillson’s ‘Without You’ but as it’s one of the best songs ever written we loved it! After this brief nostalgic moment then go straight black to the haunted lives of the post modern generation who having seen the terrors of real life cannot unsee them ever, with lines like ‘While the light from our window fed like flies on our bed’ and ‘you can’t have my child when you’re pregnant with me’ we’re straight back to the obsessed and totally self conscious 21 Century attitudes along with ‘Riot in My Head’ exploring mental health issues the vocals tap very effectively into pain and passion, it’s very effective art and not at all shallow. This track is also definitely influenced guitar-wise in parts by the work of Brian May of Queen always nice for a Brit to see. Final track ‘Helicopters’ is regret about a lost loved one and has theatrical influences while it’s sad it does have a redemptive feel and sound making it the song of a survivor.
Sixx, never one who likes to be comfortable, delivers another album interesting and very different to his old days in Crue. Not wishing to rest on laurels or tried and tested formulas while it’s very far away from the cock rock of his youth, it’s to be appreciated that he is not simply trying to exploit his existing fan base and is looking to challenge and, not denying the realities of life, seeking to see the diamonds in the dust.