Monday, April 27, 2015

CD Review: SIXX:AM - Modern Vintage

I have never been completely enamored with SIXX:AM. I thought that their first album was too whiny, tainted with themes about feeling sorry for drug abusers. I understand the struggle more than most, but I don’t have much empathy for the “feel sorry for me” crowd. On their second album, This Is Gonna Hurt, SIXX:AM tried to discover their identity, but missed the mark. And while that disc contains one of the greatest hard rock songs I’ve ever heard, “Lies Of The Beautiful People,” overall the album was subpar. So why on Earth would I want to get their latest record, Modern Vintage?

Simply put, Metal Eddie convinced me to attend their concert at the Starland Ballroom and I wanted to familiarize myself with their new material. I don’t like to attend concerts and not know a majority of the songs, so I took a chance. I am certainly glad that I did. Modern Vintage is the album that finds this band hitting their stride. It is certainly the best record they released by far, and while it contains one or two less than stellar tracks, the work as a whole is exceptional.

Lead track “Stars” is a modern rocker filled with exceptional guitar riffs from the extremely talented, but highly underrated, DJ Ashba. James Michael’s voice is strong and powerful adding depth to the song. And the lyrics are typical of Nikki Sixx, whose strongest suit has always been his ability to write song lyrics. Sixx is one of the best songwriters in the industry, and that talent shines on Modern Vintage.

Other notable tracks include “Gotta Get It Right,” an 80s metal influenced track complete with a rock scream to open, and a chant along chorus, “Hyperventilate,”  a fast moving, funk riffed, fun filled tune, and “High On The Music,” showcasing Sixx’s talent with words once again.

SIXX: AM also tried something completely different with their cover of the classic Cars song, “Drive.” And while I personally feel they failed in their effort to reinterpret this fine song, I have a feeling it will be a big hit for the band. It can be very challenging to remake such a classic song. I commend the band for taking on the challenge and trying something different, but their version of “Drive” fell short in my opinion. Perhaps in time it will grow on me, but after a few listens, it’s just not there yet.

Overall, Modern Vintage, is a terrific album and definitely the finest work released by this band to date. A combination of classic rock, hair metal, and modern edge, Modern Vintage is appropriately named. The album combines the right amount of classic and new elements and proves that Sixx will have a great life after Motley Crue. If you’re looking for a hard rock record to kick off your spring, get yourself a copy of Modern Vintage. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a long road trip to anywhere.

Ryo’s Rating: 8 (out of 10)

Gotta Get It Right
Get Ya Some
Let’s Go
Give Me A Love
High On The Music
Before It’s Over

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