'This Is Gonna Hurt' is the soundtrack to Nikki Sixx's second book of the same name, follow-up to the bestselling 'The Heroin Diaries'.
A case of judging a book by its cover (but recognize the analogy), the sleeve wreaks havoc on the senses and, indeed, the collective social conscience. A heart full of needles, open up, and if you don't have the stomach to deal with reality, this is gonna hurt.
The selection of photos inside the sleeve, more of which are published in the book, depict those unfortunate enough to be defined as 'freaks': the deformed, the rejects, the scarred. Harrowing stuff. See for yourself.
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But this is not just a social commentary. Nikki takes us through the emotional gamut that he, himself, has experienced as he's travelled from deepest, darkest addiction – a social reject himself - risen through purgatorious detox, and finally emerged the other side a better, cleaner man. Musically, it's an intriguing journey.
Opening with a metaphorical squeal of pain with the infectious industrial title-track anthem, 'This Is Gonna Hurt' then bleeds into the more traditional rock of 'Are You With Me Now' and 'Live Forever'.
As Nikki's story begins to elicit a little sunshine, so the album takes a more saccharine twist with 'Sure Feels Right' and 'Smile', and finally soars to a dramatic conclusion (rising above the odds?) with the truly triumphant, Muse-esque 'Goodbye My Dear Friends'.
Vocalist/producer/all-round good-guy James Michael and guitarist DJ Ashba create a staggeringly effective frontage for Nikki's catharsis, in complete understanding of the bassist's past turmoil and inner conflicts, and the touching social commentary that runs parallel.
Sixx: A.M. have conveyed his battle back to humanity, as evinced through display and acceptance of the socially grotesque (himself? The 'freaks'? Those who cast them aside?), with grace and a generous, easy interpretation.
This is not just a visual assault, but a contagious battering ram of hooks that pound the senses.