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Review – Sixx:A.M. "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack" (2007) August 28, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2007, Sixx:A.M..
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Written by Andrew

One of the absolute darkest things I have ever heard is a haunting story about addiction to heroin, cocaine, and so many other drugs that it literally corrupts the human soul. It’s eerie to hear how one man’s life can be turned so upside down by harmless-in-appearance white powder or syringes filled with substances beyond compare. It’s even more harrowing to hear how such a person could so very literally die, and somehow luck into a second chance at a life they barely deserve. Such a tale is the life story of Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, who’s drug addiction in the late 80’s was recently brought into great light when he released a year of his maddening diaries last year. But print simply wasn’t enough for Sixx, who ever the musician, formed a band for the sole purpose of telling his story. The result? The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack.

It is almost etherealy frightening how this album begins it’s life. Nikki Sixx recites an excerpt from his book that is already chilling to the core just to listen to this madman as he explains the sad situation his life has become. This intro, fittingly named “X-Mas In Hell” is not strong musically, and why should it be? It serves it’s purpose all too well, introducing the listener to the depressing life of Nikki Sixx, as he puts it “crouched naked under a Christmas tree with a needle in their arm like an insane person…”. “Van Nuys” is the next chapter in this saga, which begins as coldly as as the previous track ended, nothing but a quiet piano slowly playing away. At this point, Sixx becomes James Michael, who handles all the vocals for this album. His soft crooning is an intriguing way to begin the true musical part of the album and it’s not until a good minute and a half in that the emotion of the music bleeds out through his voice. If you weren’t aware that Sixx couldn’t sing to save his life, you’d assume it was him singing based solely on the raw feeling exerted into the lyrics.

“Life Is Beautiful” starts slowly as did the previous track, but is clearly the most mainstream-friendly track of the bunch once it gets going. The riffs are powerful, the drums are frantic, and most importantly, the words are intense. If you’re not sold on Michael by this point, I’m not convinced you have functional ears. Not only is his range pitch-perfect on a song that goes insanely high in such a thing, but again, you’d think it was he who was at one point hooked on the junk. “Pray For Me” sees Michael transform into a new kind of man, the one who sings for She Wants Revenge. The vocal change is shocking at first but fits the powerful tone of the song which emphasizes Nikki’s desperation to quit but is unable to do so. “Tomorrow” keeps up the intensely fast pace of the last two songs and has a chorus that’ll ring in your head for days.

The truly moving “Accidents Can Happen” brings the album back down and is once again propelled by the outstanding vocal work of James Michael. By this point, there’s no more need to emphasize how vocally powerful this album is so I’ll stop name-dropping him at this point. “Intermission” returns us to Nikki’s insanity as he reminds us that we’re only halfway through this insane journey of his, and then sends us into “Dead Man’s Ballet” an oddly paced number that brings out the angry insanity of Sixx better than anything on the album, before evolving mid-song into a chorus of hopefulness and willingness to survive. “Heart Failure” then starts off with another bit of spoken word from Sixx, then hits hard with a blistering chorus.

The highlight of an already spectacular album occurs at this, the 10th track, and it’s name is “Girl With Golden Eyes.” The song is a spectacular metaphor for heroin, but of course, heroin is a girl. “And though I hardly know her, I let her in my veins, and trust her with my life,” Michaels bellows sweetly as the song weaves it’s way delicately in front of you before sliding into a harmoniously beautiful chorus that may just bring tears to your eyes or at least a lump to your throat. The tale of self-pity isn’t lost on the heartstrings, and it gets more intense when Sixx begins to read off his days of rehab. Day by day his insanity thickens as he goes through painful withdrawl, and you truly feel sorry for a man who wrecked his own life. The emotion of the song is everywhere, and makes it powerful enough to even merit it’s own paragraph.

“Courtesy Call” gets the wonderful task of following up the the guy who juggles flaming chainsaws and certainly does it’s best to do so. It’s dark and brooding energy is unlike anything else on the CD, but still remains cohesive with the rest of the songs. “Permission” truly concludes the album as a song of optimism and promise, as it should be. It’s slow but radiant in delivery and may at last bring a smile to your face. “Life After Death” serves as an outro, getting a little more spoken word from the Sixx man himself to send you on you way satisfied.

As far as concept albums go, this one is unreal. The story this album tells is fierce, emotional, depressing, and chilling, and every song is unique but still fits into the tale. I have nothing else to add aside from how very necessary it is for someone to experience this album, not just to listen. Whether you love it or hate it, The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack will certainly stick in your mind, as it rightfully should.

The Point – Sixx:A.M.’s brutal emotion and powerful vocals make this album a treat both musically and in a sense of storytelling.

10 out of 10

Download This – “Girl With Golden Eyes”

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