Conceived in Finland in 1989, dark rockers The 69 Eyes have come a long way and shaped the genre of ‘Goth ‘n’ Roll’ like no other. With several platinum selling albums like ‘Blessed Be’ and ‘Paris Kills’ released around the millennium, the quintet not only reached #1 of the single and album charts in their home country of Finland, but also plunged the world into their sinful cosmos of love, death and eternal melancholy, outliving any other band emerging from the goth hype of the early 2000s. By developing their sound further into sleaze rock on ‘Devils’ (2004) and ‘Angels’ (2007) and not shying away from pitch black Elvis allusions in singer Jyrki 69’s majestic dark voice and unique dance moves on stage, the band established their worldwide following by relentlessly touring Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
This year marks their 30th band anniversary but the band aren’t slowing down yet as they have now announced their new studio piece ‘West End’ that will be released on Friday, the 13th of September via Nuclear Blast. This 12th full-length record, featuring top notch guest vocalists such as Cradle Of Filth’s Dani Filth, Wednesday 13 and Beastö Blancö’s Calico Cooper.
The title ‘West End’ evokes a dark image – when something dies, something new comes up and we all have to change in order to stay alive, singer Jyrki 69 explains. I feel like this planet is on some turning point. The end of the western world is near and the question is: What is happening when the west ends..? The title has multiple meanings for us… but be assured it has definitely nothing to do with The Pet Shop Boys or London…
30 years of The 69 Eyes and with the release of their new album, West End, it’s clear they’re not planning on slowing down anytime soon. 11 tracks of goth-rock, West End is a sometimes bleak, sometimes dark but always fun listen.
Take the opener, Two Horns Up…a track that has plenty of zip and fire while also sounding like it has always been a goth-rock club floor filler for years. It’s very energetic while retaining the legendary band’s dark roots.
27 & Done follows that with a really modest rhythm that gets catchier and catchier as it goes on. A nice little guitar solo makes a world of difference here. Before Black Orchid brings the tempo back up for a track that serves as a glorious reminder of just how delicious Jyrki 69’s vocals are.
Emotional piano and string melody introduces Change, a lovely track that sees the vocals become even more mournful. Burn Witch Burn is quite different in regards to energy. Whereas Change sapped it, Burn Witch Burn looks to deliver highs. It does this by being bouncy as hell, the riffs and drums sounding out a beat that will gets feet involuntarily moving.
For all its ‘gothness’, credit can be given to The 69 Eyes for really varying West End up. Something that really becomes noticeable more in the second half of the album.
The essence of eye-liner, smokey incense and dribbling candles is there. However, the band are able to mess around with the formula and create peppier rock numbers like the twisted The Last House On the Left and the riffy rocking Outsiders.
Though when they take their foot of gas, it’s hardly a problem. Not when we get such mellow and depressive stuff as Death & Desire. Or the finale of Hell Has No Mercy, a track that conjures up images of the setting sun. Certainly one for the slow dance in the club.
30 years and still going strong. West End is a very worthy addition to the Finnish legend’s back-catalogue.
The 69 Eyes – West End Full Track Listing:
1. Two Horns Up
2. 27 & Done
3. Black Orchid
5. Burn Witch Burn
7. The Last House On the Left
8. Death & Desire
10. Be Here Now
11. Hell Has No Mercy
The 69 Eyes - West End (Nuclear Blast)
The Final Score - 7/10