THE BAND: Vince Neil (vocals), Mick Mars (guitars), Nikki Sixx (bass), Tommy Lee (drums & percussion).
THE DISCS: (2008) Disc-1 is the music disc – containing 13 tracks and clocking in at approximately 44 minutes. Disc-2 is the DVD – containing interviews, concert footage and music videos. Included with the disc is 6-page foldout containing band photos, song titles and website info. This is the band’s 9th studio album (previous album was “New Tattoo” in 2000). Recorded at the Lightning Bolt Garage (Los Angeles). Label – Eleven Seven Music / Motley Records.
COMMENTS: In 2008, the original 4 Crue members are reunited. After almost 20 years, enter a once banished Vince Neil and team sobriety. Following the band’s commercially successful “Dr. Feelgood” (1988), the band remained alive in name, but the members had developing outside interests. Neil – driving race cars, inhaling hot fudge sundaes, and battling his inner demons. Sixx – writing his memoirs, battling addictions, recruiting new bandmates, and releasing a solo album. Mars – flying under the radar and still involved with all things Crue. Lee – busy with solo albums, and reality TV (going to college, and “Rockstar Supernova”). Motley Crue released a few albums with substitute members – receiving only mild success. So being a Crue fan since “Too Fast For Love” (1981), I really wanted to see if the original 4 had something to say. I bought the disc blindly…having heard none of the songs. After dozens of spins, I find myself really surprised with “Saints Of Los Angeles” – in a good way. Sixx remains the main creator behind the songs, though I find it slightly disappointing that many of the tracks are co-written by members outside the Crue (not to mention Mars with only 2 songwriting credits and Lee with 1). This truly makes me wonder how many creative juices are left in the tank. Sixx’s bass guitar, as usual, is solid. Vince Neil is back with a vengeance – though his voice is (still) limited and a bit gruff at times, he still sounds great two-and-a-half decades after their first release. Neil has never been an outstanding singer, but he fits with the Crue and you always knew what you were getting with him belting out the lyrics. Mars’ guitar is loud and crunchy – a warm fuzzy feeling… like you’re back in the 80’s. Tommy Lee, though outspoken at times, is an accomplished hard rock drummer. He still has the licks and beat behind the kit. As for the music… the album starts off with a slow minute-an-a-half Sci-Fi welcome with “L.A.M.F.” – reminiscent of the way “Shout At The Devil” (1983) started out so many years ago. The album proceeds to kick out your front teeth with 12 hard rocking songs that will surely get your heart pumping. The title track is the first hit to be released, and I can see the slow, yet heavy rocker “The Animal In Me” reaching the airwaves in the near future. Other standouts include “Down At The Whiskey” (my favorite on the album), the opener “Face Down In The Dirt”, “Just Another Psycho”, the head-bobbing fist waving title track, and “Welcome To The Machine” (not a remake of Pink Floyd’s classic). Like most albums, there has to a clunker or two… my least favorite tracks include “White Trash Circus” (sounds way too close to a Marilyn Manson song), and “Chicks = Trouble” (with its trite chorus and lyrics). Does one song stand above the rest? Is there a bonified Top 10 hit here? Is there a “Looks That Kill”, “Home Sweet Home” or “Kickstart My Heart” that will win radio stations over for the next year? Probably not. Still, the album as a whole simply kicks ass. Overall – a solid release from the old Motley Crue. Easily the band’s best in any shape, manner or form since the late 80’s. A nice comeback full of attitude and sleaze from one of the best Los Angeles hair bands (4.5 stars).