Motley Crue has had a storied past. Tommy Lee became a “porn star,” Vince Neil was convicted of manslaughter, Mick Mars’ was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and Nikki Sixx’s literally died for two minutes before being resurrected, all indirectly leading to one of the greatest rock albums of the ’80s; Dr. Feelgood.
Saints of Los Angeles is the first studio recording from the Crue in eight years, and it’s worth the wait, although this isn’t your older brother’s Motley Crue. While some of the songs still reflect the old days, there are also signs of growth and maturity (as well as age) from the wildest band in the Decade of Decadence.
Standout tracks such as “Saints of Los Angeles,” “The Animal In Me” and “Down At the Whisky” show that despite Mick Mars’ condition, he can still shred better than anyone today, while tracks like “Chicks = Trouble” and “Face Down In the Dirt” bring back what was great about hair metal; fast beats, guitar riffs that fly and a hard living lifestyle.
That lifestyle may also be one of the downsides of the album. Vince Neil, although still an amazing vocalist, has lost that high-pitched scream and found a little more of a growling yell. It works for many of the songs, but some sound as if old Vince could have made them better.
Another downfall is that the album feels like a modern heavy-metal tribute to ’80s hair metal, as if Motley Crue made a tribute album to themselves. Sometimes it works, other times, the songs sound confused.
All in all the album is a stellar release from a band that has softened over the years, what with half the Crue having done Vh1 reality shows and one having written his memoirs. Saints of Los Angeles shows you why the Crue are gods of rock.