Opening Act: A New Way To Live Forever
Club L.A. in Destin, FL
This was my first concert at Club L.A. out in Destin, Florida. I’m pleasantly surprised that a venue like this exists in a beachtown that likes to project a clean image for the families that visit in the summer. Of course, spring break is an entirely different tale of debauchery but the City of Destin doesn’t want anyone to know about that!
Doors opened at 7:30PM but I didn’t end up getting to the show until a bit after 8PM. I was thinking we’ve might’ve at least missed the start of the opening act but the bartender told us there was an issue with one of their amps so they were going on late. It was probably 8:30 or so when Fort Lauderdale’s A New Way To Live Forever took the stage.
ANWTLF plays in a style that’s grounded in ’90s rock. On their Facebook page, some of the bands they list as being fans of or being influenced by are Sunny Day Real Estate, Nirvana, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and Muse. Although I didn’t keep tabs on their setlist, they played for a good amount of time. I’d imagine probably 45 minutes or so at least and I think they closed with “California Waiting” by Kings of Leon. It was a decent set. This type of rock music isn’t really my thing but there were a few good songs in the bunch. The music of A New Way To Live Forever is definitely worlds away from Ratt ‘n’ roll! They seemed like a cool group of guys though. They hung out after their set for photos and autographs and to sell their CD. They even stayed around to drink beer, shoot pool and watch Pearcy’s set.
But now to the main event: Stephen Pearcy! I haven’t been able to find any info on who the members of his “Ratt Bastards” solo band are other than guitarist Erik Ferentinos. The show was by no means a sell-out. It’s a decent sized club and I’d bet by the time Pearcy played there was maybe 200 people there. As Pearcy said, “It doesn’t matter whether to me whether it’s 10 people or 10,000 people. It’s all a party!” Most of the crowd was as close to the stage as possible for Stephen’s entire set and they were into the show with fists in the air and singing along to every word.
I remember years ago the internet bashing Stephen Pearcy’s live performances pretty bad, posting them on YouTube and whatnot. I personally thought he gave a good performance on Saturday night. Yeah, his voice isn’t as strong as it once was but when you sing in that gritty nasally style that he does and you’re in your mid-50s, you’re not going to sound like you did on Out of the Cellar! Guys like Pearcy, Bret Michaels and Vince Neil catch a lot of flak for their live performances but considering their age and style of music they play, they do fine. It’s rock ‘n’ roll, not opera! It’s the spirit that matters, I don’t care if they can’t hit every note live.
Stephen Pearcy’s setlist:
Lay It Down
You’re In Love
Lack of Communication
Slip of the Lip
You Think You’re Tough
Way Cool Jr.
U Got It
Heading Out to the Highway [Judas Priest cover]
Back For More
Round And Round
As you can see, Pearcy played pretty much all of the hits you’d want if you went to see a Ratt show. I was hoping he’d play “Best of Me”, which was the single from 2010′s Infestation, but I can understand why he didn’t since it’s hard to count that as a “hit” for Ratt. I was actually quite surprised he didn’t throw in any Arcade or solo stuff. His solo material is a bit too industrial & alternative for me but I wouldn’t have minded it at all if he tossed in anything from the first Arcade record. That’s a great album.
For $15, I discovered one decent band and got to see a hair metal legend sing all of his hits from Ratt. Not a bad night at all. Well worth the money if Stephen Pearcy ever comes near your town.
Papa Roach – The Connection
(2012, Eleven Seven Music)
2. “Still Swingin’”
3. “Where Did the Angels Go?”
4. “Silence is the Enemy”
5. “Before I Die”
6. “Wish You Never Met Me”
7. “Give Me Back My Life”
8. “Breathe You In”
9. “Leader of the Broken Hearts”
10. “Not That Beautiful”
11. “Walking Dead”
12. “Won’t Let Up”
13. “As Far as I Remember”
Jacoby Shaddix – Vocals
Jerry Horton – Guitar
Tobin Esperance – Bass
Tony Palermo – Drums
Producer: James Michael & John Feldmann
When Papa Roach crashed onto the scene with their nu-metal bandwagon Infest album, who would’ve thought they’d still be around 12 years later releasing new music? The Connection is the band’s 7th studio album and I have to admit Papa Roach have had quite a respectful career with hit singles, gold & platinum albums and energetic live shows.
The Connection is an appropriate album because even though the band has gone through changes in sound and style over the years (heck, the last album was called Metamorphosis) on this release they attempt to bring it all together. At various times, the band’s brand of rock has been alternative metal, nu metal, electronic rock, rock/pop, rap metal and even ’80s melodic hard rock. Papa Roach isn’t going for a cohesive sound on this album and I mean that in a good way. The band is bringing everything they’ve brought to the table in the past.
“Still Swingin’” is a perfect anthemic example of what Papa Roach has sounded like over the last few releases while “Where Did the Angels Go?” brings back the band’s nu metal/rap influences. “Before I Die” is pure radio ready infectious rock/pop ballad that will probably be released as a single.
Of course, some of the lyrics are overly dramatic and emo and just look at some of the song titles: “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Leader of the Broken Hearts”, etc. It’s like a gloomy 15 year old came up with this stuff. But for the most part, Papa Roach knows how to write a catchy melody and chorus.
I think this album compares favorably to the band’s previous efforts. There’s a bit of everything for everyone.
Highlights: ”Still Swingin’”, “Where Did the Angels Go?”, “Silence Is The Enemy”, “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Walking Dead”
My Darkest Days – Sick And Twisted Affair
(2012, Mercury Records)
1. Sick And Twisted Affair … 3:41
2. Save Yourself … 3:43
3. Casual Sex … 3:16
4. Stutter … 2:45
5. Nature Of The Beast … 3:03
6. Perfect … 3:51
7. Again … 3:38
8. Gone … 3:33
9. Love Crime … 2:59
Matt Walst – Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar
Sal Costa – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Brendan McMillan – Bass
Doug Oliver – Drums, Percussion
Reid Henry – Keyboard, Backing Vocals
John 5 – Guitar (“Casual Sex”)
Barry Stock – Guitar (“Again”)
Producer: Joey Moi
Well, when something is working, why change it? Just like My Darkest Days’ self-titled debut, Sick And Twisted Affair has he same producer (sans Chad Kroeger), guest musicians and dirty catchy club-worthy hard rock numbers that deal with sex.
There is a deluxe edition that features extra tracks a few alternate mixes and the same cover art but colored differently (I prefer the deluxe edition’s color scheme). I haven’t heard the deluxe edition but I’m really loving the fact that there’s only 9 songs on the regular edition. Always leave ‘em wanting more, never overstay your welcome. Helps to cut down on filler too.
Speaking of filler, the only track I would consider to be just that is the band’s cover of Joe & Mystikal’s “Stutter”. I loved their take on Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” on the last album but this one doesn’t work, IMO.
So getting to what does work, let’s start off with the lead single “Casual Sex”. Definitely the follow up to “Porn Star Dancing” and meant to appeal to the club scene but that’s okay because it rocks at the same time (and just like “Porn Star Dancing” there are pop and rock mixes available). With that song and others, I’m noticing keyboards being used a lot more. There’s very much a synth sound found on “Sick And Twisted Affair”, “Love Crime” and “Again” where the band comes across like a sexier version of Orgy (not that orgies can’t be sexy).
More in the typical modern hard rock style there is “Nature of the Beast” which I would place as the weakest original track on the album.
It’s really hard to pick the best tracks because I find myself repeating each song 2 or 3 times. On this day alone I think I’ve listened to this album 6 or 7 times total. Virtually every song will stick in your head and take up space. There’s so much single potential here. “Love Crime”, “Again”, “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are ready for rock & pop stations. “Save Yourself” and “Gone” are the two ballads on the album, great songs and I can definitely see them blowing up big on the pop stations.
As with the debut, this album is going to be one of my favorite of the year. Great collection of hard rock that has broad appeal. If you were a fan of My Darkest Days’ first album, you’re going to be a fan of this one as well.
Highlights: “Sick And Twisted Affair”, “Save Yourself”, “Casual Sex”, “Perfect”, “Again”, “Gone”, “Love Crime”
Zeroking – Kings of Self Destruction (2012, Vanity Music Group)
1. “Dead Rock Star” … 4:49
2. “Forget Vegas” … 4:52
3. “She Said” … 4:52
4. “Showtime Revolution” … 4:04
5. “Southern Lady, Ex-Godiva” … 5:09
6. “Stone Cold Bitch” … 3:54
7. “Love Is Dead” … 4:33
8. “Kings of Self Destruction” … 3:27
9. “Girls of California” … 4:48
10. “The Party’s Over” … 4:32
11. “Black Friday” … 3:53
12. “Valentine” … 4:28
13. “Leaving Los Angeles” … 6:32
14. “Valentine” [Studio Outtake] … 4:37
15. “Stone Cold Bitch” [Acoustic - Live] … 4:04
16. “Girls of California” [Single Edit] … 4:06
Andy Haught – Lead Vocals
Shane Day – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Paul First – Bass, Backing Vocals
Chris Webb – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals
Producer: Steve Riley
Caught somewhere between old school and new school Huntington, West Virginia’s Zeroking are a band that should be all over radio… NOW!!! These guys describe themselves as “a hard rock/metal party” and that’s pretty accurate. Zeroking brings influences from bands like Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue but adds a modern hard rock touch of their own just in the way that Hinder and Buckcherry have done. Any fan of Buckcherry & Hinder should find plenty to like here. The band has found a great middle ground for classic rock and new rock. Zeroking fits modern rock radio stations and fans of Adelita’s Way, Sick Puppies, Sixx:A.M., Skillet and Pop Evil will like these guys.
The band wastes no time by opening the album with “Dead Rock Star”. My favorite track on the album and would be my choice as a single. Very catchy stuff that will appeal to the new old school and old school. ”She Said” is a modern hard rock song that I could also see getting play on radio. “Southern Lady, Ex-Godiva” has a southern rock swagger to it that will draw comparisons to Buckcherry or the last Hinder album. ”Love Is Dead” is another great tune that has single potential with lead singer Andy Haught sharing vocals another Huntington native Stacee Lawson (whose voice reminds me of Stevie Nicks). Through the sleaze & swagger of the rest of the album, the album starts to wind down on a sensitive note with “Valentine”. This is a really good ballad and, again, could be a single. “Leaving Los Angeles” is a great semi-laid back rock rock/pop tune that closes the proper album (the final three tracks are alternative versions) and sounds like Sixx:A.M.
Zeroking are a band that have a lot of things going for them on Kings of Self Destruction. The production is very well done and the songs will appeal to a broad range of hard rock fans. They are old school and melodic enough for ’80s fans yet current enough to grab the ear of fans of the modern rock scene. Check this album out and help spread the word about this great young band.
Highlights: “Dead Rock Star”, “She Said”, “Southern Lady, Ex-Godiva”, “Stone Cold Bitch”, “Love Is Dead”, “The Party’s Over”, “Valentine”, “Leaving Los Angeles”
Drug Under – Forgive and Forget (2012, Down Boy Records)
1. Forgive and Forget
2. I Need To See
3. Borrowed Time
3. Never Again
7. Change My Ways
8. All The Lies
9. It’s Over
Romero – Vocals
Eric Greenwall – Guitars
Pat Searcy – Guitars
Aaron Greenwall – Bass
Mike Crisler – Drums
Producer: Mark Obermeyer, Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner
Never judge a book (or album) by its cover! When this Denver, CO.-based band was first brought to my attention, going by the cover art and knowing that the label is owned and operated by Warrant’s Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner, I assumed Drug Under was going to be the type of hard rock act that drew heavily on ’80s influences. Not so. They are a modern hard rock/metal act that fits right in with the rest of the bands on active rock radio these days.
I can’t say this type of rock that features an alternative influence and crunchy guitars is a favorite of mine but Drug Under has their moments where they really shine. “I Need To See” and “Never Again” have the most commercial appeal, I think, and are my favorites. Very cool songs that should be on radio. “Forgive and Forget”, “Borrowed Time” & “Echoes” all have enough of a hard driving edge to keep those that just want to bang their heads satisfied. “All The Lies” and “It’s Over” are of particular interest to me. There’s some nice melodies in the melancholy moments of both of these rockers that show potential for this band to write some great ballads later down the line.
Forgive and Forget is an album sure to appeal to fans of the modern rock/metal scene and ’90s rock/metal. While I am not going to say that Drug Under knocked it out of the park on this release, it’s still an enjoyable listen that shows this is a talented band that has a bright future.
Highlights: “I Need To See”, “Never Again”, “Change My Ways”, “All The Lies”, “It’s Over”
Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.
2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.
Top 25 Albums of 2011
1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.
Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.
1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]
Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!
All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/
Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/
The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/
Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/
Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/
Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com
Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/
Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/
Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/
Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/
Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/
The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/
Posted in Year End Awards
Tags: Alice Cooper, Alternative Metal, Alternative Rock, Anthrax, AOR, Black 'n Blue, Black Country Communion, Black Sabbath, Black Veil Brides, Blues Rock, Chickenfoot, Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Def Leppard, Edguy, Eric Carr, Foo Fighters, George Lynch, Glam Metal, Glam Rock, Hair Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Hell, House of Lords, Hurtsmile, Ian Gillan, Joe Bonamassa, Journey, King Kobra, KISS, Megadeth, Melodic Hard Rock, Melodic Rock, Metal, Metalcore, Mike Tramp, Music, Myles Kennedy, NWOBHM, Pop Metal, Power Metal, Reckless Love, Riot, Rock, Saliva, Savage Messiah, Scorpions, Sebastian Bach, Sixx:A.M., Slash, Sleaze Metal, Sleaze Rock, Speed Metal, Steel Panther, Stryper, The Last Vegas, The Poodles, Thrash Metal, Tony Iommi, Vains of Jenna, Warrant, White Lion, Whitesnake, Who Cares, Wildstreet
Black Veil Brides – Rebels (2011, Universal Republic Records)
1. “Coffin” … 4:15
2. “Rebel Yell” … 4:38
3. “Unholy” … 3:25
4. “Rebel Love Song” [Extended Director's Cut Music Video] … 6:50
Andy Biersack – Vocals
Jake Pitts – Guitar
Jinxx – Guitar
Ashley Purdy – Bass
Christian Coma – Drums
Zakk Wylde – Guitar (“Rebel Yell”)
Just six months after releasing the glam/metalcore Set The World On Fire album, the Black Veil Brides are back with an iTunes exclusive EP featuring one new original song, two covers and a music video. Truthfully, I couldn’t care less about the music video to “Rebel Love Song”. That seems like it would’ve been better suited to be included as a bonus on STWOF since that’s the album the song comes from.
I recently read excerpts of an interview with lead singer Andy Biersack who made it sound like BVB were looked to spread their wings beyond the metalcore scene. They don’t want to do anything fancy or “mature”, they just want to play & write fun rock songs. “More Motley Crue, less W.A.S.P.” is how Andy put it. “Coffin” will still appeal to their goth & emo Hot Topic fan-base but it’s definitely a song that shifts away from the metalcore sound into a regular ol’ modern metal sound that’s comparable to Avenged Sevenfold.
Just as Avenged Sevenfold’s M. Shadows moved away from the awful screaming metalcore style of “singing”, Andy seems to be doing the same as well. He still screams but it’s not as abrasive as before and certainly sounds in place on Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” and KISS’ “Unholy”.
Yes, the ’80s influence is coming through even more. “Coffin” itself is a good song and stands up to the best from STWOF but if “fun” is what BVB is going for these days — then they’ve far beyond exceeded that with their covers of “Rebel Yell” (Zakk Wylde guests on this one) and “Unholy”. Their versions are great. A very powerful, heavy sound has been given to both and this especially suits “Unholy”.
I am very interested in seeing what is coming on the next album. I have a feeling that just like Avenged Sevenfold once these guys further break away from metalcore, they’re going to be one of the great modern metal bands.
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 (2011, Eagle Records)
1. Been There Lately … 4:34
2. Nightrain … 5:02
3. Ghost … 3:43
4. Mean Bone … 4:01
5. Back From Cali … 3:36
6. Rocket Queen … 9:21
7. Civil War … 8:06
8. Nothing to Say … 7:27
9. Starlight … 5:45
10. Promise … 3:59
1. Doctor Alibi … 3:45
2. Speed Parade … 3:58
3. Watch This … 3:39
4. Beggars & Hangers On … 6:29
5. Patience … 5:45
6. Godfather Solo … 10:30
7. Sweet Child o’ Mine … 6:28
8. Slither … 7:33
9. By the Sword … 4:36
10. Mr. Brownstone … 4:41
11. Paradise City … 9:13
Slash – Guitar
Myles Kennedy – Lead Vocals, Guitar (“Nothing to Say”, “Watch This”)
Bobby Schneck – Guitar
Todd Kerns – Bass, Backing Vocals, Lead Vocals (“Doctor Alibi”)
Brent Fitz – Drums
What’s the full name of this album? And who is the artist? Is it Slash or is it “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy”? I’ve seen a number of websites not including this as a Slash solo album. And is the album’s title Made In Stoke 24/7/11? Some websites are calling it Live In Stoke or just Live. I’ve also seen it referred to as Featuring Myles Kennedy Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 and or even just Featuring Myles Kennedy! The last two just seem odd. Personally, I think the title should be Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11 with the credited artist being “Slash featuring Myles Kennedy”. The date (and its formatting) is a whole other issue, so let’s not even go there.
Title issues aside, this stands as a great live album (which was recorded July 2011 in Slash’s hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England). Slash has said he’s a big fan of live albums because that’s where you get a sense of who the artist really is and I have to say he’s done a fine job putting out his own double disc live album! I don’t really know if he could’ve picked a better singer than Myles Kennedy to handle all these songs. He’s covering a LOT of singers on this album (Axl, Scott Weiland, Ian Astbury, Rod Jackson, M. Shadows, Chris Cornell, etc.) and doing a fantastic job of it. He sounds especially great on the GNR songs. Just put him in Velvet Revolver already!
This album really runs the gamut of Slash’s career. There are 7 GNR songs, 4 songs from the Slash’s Snakepit albums (which I wasn’t expecting at all), 1 Velvet Revolver song (would’ve expected a few more) and 8 tracks from his self-titled solo album. It’s a good mix of everything.
The song choices are excellent. I think the only glaring omission when it comes to GNR material would be “Welcome to the Jungle” but that’s a total Axl song so I understand leaving it off. Besides, “Been There Lately” was a great choice to open the show. It’s one of the better songs from the Snakepit era and it really comes to life when done live. The entire band sounds inspired through the whole show.
This is great live album that never really gets boring thanks to the varied material throughout. If you’re in the mood for some classic live rock ‘n’ roll… this is it.
Highlights: “Been There Lately”, “Nightrain”, “Ghost”, “Rocket Queen”, “Nothing to Say”, “Patience”, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, “Slither”, “By The Sword”, “Mr. Brownstone”, “Paradise City”
Sixx:A.M. – Codependence [single] (2011, Eleven Seven Music)
1. “Codependence” … 3:37
James Michael – Vocals, Drums, Guitar
DJ Ashba – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Producer: James Michael
On the same day the band released 7 (an EP featuring stripped down and rearranged versions of previously released songs) for download, Sixx:A.M. also released the song “Codependence” exclusively through iTunes for FREE. “Codependence” comes from the This Is Gonna Hurt sessions and while it was previously unreleased here in the United States, it appeared as a bonus track when the album was issued in Japan.
Though Japan often gets bonus tracks, sometimes those tracks aren’t really worth listening to in the first place, they’re just filler. Well, that’s not the case this time. “Codependence” doesn’t rate with the very best of This Is Gonna Hurt but I still like it. It’s much more straight forward than most of the tracks from the album making it a bit less memorable whenever James Michael is singing a chorus he can make the song sound like something you should be paying attention to. Even through the self-loathing and moody lyrics a lot of Sixx:A.M. come off sounding like really cool rock anthems and that’s what “Codependence” is to me.
But why take my word for it? It’s FREE. Go download it and listen.
Sixx:A.M. – 7 (2011, Eleven Seven Music)
1. “Lies of the Beautiful People” … 3:58
2. “This Is Gonna Hurt” … 4:46
3. “Life Is Beautiful” … 4:08
4. “Help Is On the Way” … 4:05
5. “Sure Feels Right” … 4:08
6. “Pray for Me” … 4:28
7. “Accidents Can Happen” … 4:09
James Michael – Vocals, Keyboards, Drums, Strings, Guitar
DJ Ashba – Guitar
Nikki Sixx – Bass
Producer: James Michael
One good thing about the digital age of music is how quickly a project can be announced to the public and then released. It was late November when Sixx:A.M. announced an acoustic EP was on its way and just a few weeks later it was digitally released on December 13th. I think it’s an iTunes exclusive but I’m not positive.
I’ve always been a fan of Sixx:A.M. Despite a few odd moments, The Heroin Diaries was good overall and This Is Gonna Hurt (which was released earlier this year) is absolutely fantastic with not a single foul track to be found. They’re a great live band as well. So when they announced they were re-working previous songs into an acoustic EP, I knew it was going to be good.
The whole acoustic thing isn’t really appropriate labeling though. The band has since backed off a bit on calling 7 an acoustic EP, preferring to say the songs are “stripped down”, which is the accurate statement. It’s not as if this is an “unplugged” performance. The production is still here, electric guitars as well, but the arrangements are different and acoustic instruments feature more prominently.
I like how James Michael didn’t lower his voice to a whisper just because the songs are “stripped down” and the tempo has changed. He’s still soaring on these songs when appropriate and he continues to prove himself as one of rock’s best vocalists.
I think “This Is Gonna Hurt” is a particularly beautiful song and stands out the most on this EP. The band has taken it in a completely different direction here and have turned it into a haunting piano-based ballad. Given Sixx:A.M.’s strong sense of melody and dark, emotive lyrics you can pretty much switch any of there songs from rocker to ballad or ballad to rocker and come out with great results.
The final words I have to say is that these were all great songs in their original form. They are all given a twist here on 7 and I consider the whole experiment a huge success. Sixx:A.M. itself has been a huge success in my eyes. They are one of the best bands to come along in the last 10 years and I’m anxious to see what else they have planned.