Sound — 8
While fans ponder whether or not Sixx:A.M. is headed into the studio for another album, it's label Eleven Seven Music has wisely reminded the public that they still have an opportunity to purchase the band's first release, The Heroin Diaries. Originally released in August 2007 as a soundtrack for Nikki Sixx's autobiography of the same name, The Heroin Diaries is now available as a deluxe edition exclusively through Best Buy. Along with the original 13 tracks, you'll also receive a 6-track EP, recorded at various locations from the summer's Crue Fest. While the bonus disk is short and sweet (as all EPs are), it's a nice little addition tacked onto what was already a quality album.
It seems like ages since the first review for The Heroin Diaries, but it wasn't until the last half of 2008 that the single Life Is Beautiful really connected with a widespread audience. It makes sense that the label would want to extend publicity for the album, particularly with the holidays approaching. With or without a bonus EP, The Heroin Diaries features an eclectic mix of tunes that does capture the roller coaster ride of Sixx's life in The Crue and onward. While the sound is perfect for today's musical climate, it still would have been nice to hear some music that did have at least a little taste of Motley Crue in it. That might not be what sells these days, but this is an album that does tell the story of a very different time for Sixx - namely the 80s.
The Heroin Diaries features an extremely capable and talented group of musicians supporting Sixx. Vocalist James Michael is a powerhouse behind the mic and DJ Ashba can easily adapt to any musical genre heard on the record. The EP, which includes songs like Tomorrow, Heart Failure, and X-Mas In Hell, reveals an even more interesting side to Ashba. The guitarist sound amazingly like Mick Mars at several points during the live performances, and you actually hear a more metal side to the band during on the EP.
As deluxe editions go, an EP featuring material you hear on the first disk isn't necessarily the most exciting bonus out there. Quite a few bands throw in-depth DVDs as their bonus material, but I'm not going to knock Sixx:A.M. And the fact that this edition is available only at Best Buy? It's just a sign of the times - particularly for big names, it seems. The deluxe edition of The Heroin Diaries does appear to be less than it's original asking price back in 2007, so that's a nice little perk as well.
Lyrics — 10
Nikki Sixx does provide a few spoken-word songs throughout the course of the album, and those usually end up being the most candid and interesting moments. The entire record is a pretty interesting listen, however, particularly when you realize that Sixx is pouring out his soul. Other bands can walk the line of personal ambiguity in their lyrics, but The Heroin Diaries is as intimate as it gets.
Overall Impression — 8
If you already own the original release of The Heroin Diaries, you don't need to immediately run out and purchase the deluxe edition. Apparently the EP will be released separately (if it hasn't already), so it's probably best to just hold out for that one if you're a diehard Sixx:A.M. fan. The EP is a great listen and the live audio mix is of a high quality, but the band doesn't stray too much from what you hear on the first release. Of course, if you don't own any Sixx:A.M. releases, you should head on over to Best Buy (or it's lovely cyberstore) to pick up a copy. You'll absolutely be getting more for your money.