As a kid I owned a blue Velcro Motley Crue wallet. The faces of all four Crue members were silk-screened on the outer flap. My favorite was Nikki Sixx. He was featured in a seductive pose, throwing up the horns with one hand, with his index and pinkie extended. But his version of the pagan salutation was different. He stuck his thumb out, too. I threw that sign up like I was a newly inducted gangster.
For years I didn't know what it meant, I just thought I was cool like Nikki. I later learned it meant "I love you" and not, "Fuck you, I worship the devil." I didn't understand how a Crue member could do something so gay. An album called Shout at the Devil didn't exactly coincide with expressions of love. Metal is about hatred and evil.
Whatever. I'm trying to block that era of my childhood out of my memory anyway. Which is tough to do, what with Nikki Sixx's new outfit, the Brides of Destruction, having risen from the burned ruins of Los Angeles glam rock. The band features the ex-Motley Crue bassist and ex-L.A. Guns guitarist Tracii Guns. Sixx and Guns! Put that shit together and you got yourself either an arsenal of metal destruction or some solid jail time. But tough names don't necessarily make for good music, and Brides Of Destruction proves this with mathematical accuracy on its debut, Here Come the Brides.
Despite the cheesy cover art (presumably illustrated by a Marshall's raver clothing artist), the album actually has some hard edge to it. Opener "Shut the Fuck Up" starts off red-faced and strong, with an extravagant mix of metal, punk and glam. It leaves no room for polite introduction.
London Le Grand -- not a Starbucks drink, but the frontman of the Brides -- has the perfect early-'90s Sunset Strip glam vocal range. Le Grand is a part-time hairdresser who can squeal like a ninny and roar like a drill sergeant. The second track, "I Don't Care," comes on just as fierce. The tough metal is knocked down a few notches with the chorus, "I don't care what I have to do to love you ... " Don't forget, this is Sixx and Guns here. A tough-love hook in a song from these guys is inevitable.
Pulling some crazy Chris Cornell type chants from out of nowhere, "I Got a Gun" begins similar to a Skid Row ballad, and consequently gets tough as hell. Unfortunately the rest of the album loses its knifelike sting and turns cheesy.
The Brides of Destruction is much better than I could have anticipated, but it still isn't good. Regurgitating an old sound makes me think that Sixx and Guns had their day, and are better off taking up another pastime. Line dancing and sewing maybe.
My Motley Crue wallet is long gone. Perhaps some lucky Sixx fan taxed it from my garbage sometime around '93. And if all is well in this world, this lucky person is to this day throwing up the "I love you" sign with the same regularity as I did when I was a kid. I just hope he doesn't flash it to a homophobic, hearing-impaired Samoan man.
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