The 69 Eyes



by Steerpike USER (24 Reviews)
October 12th, 2006 | 13 replies

Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great soundtrack for the Gothic blockbuster that was never made.

Finland’s own Helsinki Vampires, The 69 Eyes have a cut swath through the European music scene for over a decade, playing their own particular blend of glam rock and Goth. They first cracked the US market in 2005 with the overseas release of their seventh studio album titled Devils, a work that they have boasted is their best to date. Can they back up that boast?

The very name of the album conjures up images of elusive and sinister figures dancing on the edge of your vision and playing with reality. Which makes it a very accurate label for the songs therein. The 69 Eyes show a diverse palette of songwriting approaches, while still keeping their catchy choruses and hooks to make the music easy to consume for a larger crowd. In effect, they blend the atmospheres of Goth rock with the sensibilities of their glam predecessors. Bet you never thought you’d hear “glam” and “sensibilities” used in the same sentence, did you?

Several characteristics that distinguish the music are the cinematic vibe of the composition, the rich textures of the instrumentation, and the novelty of lead singer Jyrki 69’s bass voice.

Right from the opening title track, you feel like you’re listening to a soundtrack to a really good horror movie. No surprise considering the group themselves have said they’re movie buffs. They continue the theme of soundtrack-esque music on such notable tracks as Lost Boys, Sister of Charity, Jimmy, and [/b]Nothing on You[/b].

The instrumentation provides a lot of atmosphere with effects-laden guitars beefed up by buzzsaw distortion, aggressive drumming, a bass like distant thunder, omnipresent synths, and achingly expressive lead and backing vocals. From the threatening riffs and snarled chorus of Devils, to the hymn-like dirge of Sister of Charity, to the lilting hope of Beneath the Blue, the album envelopes you in atmosphere.

Lead singer Jyrki shows a great deal of influence from Type O Negative vocalist Peter Steele. His smooth, bass voice provides a vibe to the music that could not be achieved any other way. He seems equally adept playing the villain, the seducer, the hero, and the long-lost friend, all depending on which role the song requires of him.

This not to say that other band members are slouches. Guitarists Bazie and Timo-Timo are a formidable duo churning out one hard-hitting riff after another. They seem to draw influence as much from Motorhead, U2, and The Police as they do from David Bowie, T. Rex, and other staples of Goth rock musicians. Bazie also turns out several well-crafted solos such as on Lost Boys and Nothing on You.

One thing the pair seem particularly fond of doing is using harmonized clean or overdriven passages drenched in reverb, delay, chorus, and other effects. They just as often create single-note melodies as chord progressions, resulting in a diverse palette of sounds. They switch gears very easily as well, whether it be the balls-to-the-wall rock riffing on Lost Boys and the Celtic Frost-esque From Dusk Till Dawn or the more restrained chord progressions of Sister of Charity.

Jussi is also not lagging in the drum department. He has an aggressive, hardcore approach to drumming on most songs, but shows restraint on slower songs such as Only You Can Save Me. No matter what, he manages to create a very big sound with double bass and cymbal crashes that helps give the music a larger-than-life sound. He also demonstrates some visceral fills on certain songs, most notably Devils.

Archzie is not an exceptional bassist, but his tone has the rumbling quality ideal for this type of music. He’s placed high enough in the music that we do notice his silences, which is a nice change over the current trends, which tend to drown the bass out of the mix almost entirely. As mentioned before, he has a tone very much like distant thunder. This can create either lend an air of dread or majesty, depending on the overall songwriting.

It’s worth noting that producer Johnny Lee Michaels is counted as the unofficial sixth member of the band, as he played all the keyboards and synths on the album. His experience in European cinema lends an almost Danny Elfman-esque quality to the songs. Without a doubt, his contributions really helped push this album to the amazing level it’s achieved. He provides both rich atmospheric textures on songs such as Sister of Charity and Feel Berlin while also providing melodies and hooks to tracks such as Hevioso and Devils.

There are some truly exceptional songs on this album, many of which were made into singles. Perhaps the only real low point of the album is the somewhat lackluster Christina Death, which has some rather trite lyrics and unspectacular instrumentation. However, with ten other well-written tracks and at least five of those being exceptional, it can be overlooked.

The flow of the album is really quite wonderful. The group switches gears gracefully and manages to kick the adrenaline back up right when needed. The opening of Devils sets the melodramatic tone for the album right up to the final notes of the ballad Only You Can Save Me.

Some versions of the album include a bonus track in the metal-flavored From Dusk Till Dawn. Personally, I like to mix it up so that this plays earlier in the album, but if you’re looking for a straightforward rock anthem, this more than satisfies.

As I write this, the band are already preparing for the release of the sequel album Angels in 2007. Movie sequels have a nasty habit of not being… well, good. But with any luck, The 69 Eyes can keep that trend out of their music and release a follow-up worthy of the quality seen in Devils.

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user ratings (58)

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 12th 2006


Hmm this sounds interesting, I might check this out. Nice review just try to get some artwork (aka take a break from pwnage on The Crusade reviews :D)

October 12th 2006


Oooooooooh, this sounds good. It's been a long time since I've listened to any actual rock music, but this band sounds like they're a cut above most around lately.

October 12th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

If you like movie soundtracks, I really recommend this album. I've been singing along to the title track for days.

October 12th 2006


This band is pretty good, nothing sweeping amazing though.

October 12th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Good Review. I first heard The 69 Eyes on Viva La Bands, and i've been hooked since. Besides "Lost Boys" being an out of control and awesome track, "From Dusk Till Dawn" and "Sister of Charity" provide sufficient pwnage.

October 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. "Lost Boys", "Devils", and "Feel Berlin" are my favs. I bet if someone added artwork to this people would change their opinions. - but maybe not. My favorite finnish Band is still HIM though!

October 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

For some reason, it won't let me submit the artwork. There's no way to edit it in.

November 11th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

I was wondering why you didn't make any references to the band HIM. You mentioned Motorhead, U2, The Police, David Bowie, T. Rex, and Type O' Negative. I believe the most obvious similar band to The 69 Eyes is HIM. They have been tour partners before and have done songs together, and play music within the same genre.

Well, anyway, superb review!

November 11th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

All the bands you said I mentioned were influences of the group. HIM may play a similar style, but they're not an influence.

Besides, this review is not about HIM, it's about The 69 Eyes.

January 16th 2007


These guys are actually pretty good. I'm seeing them with Cradle of Filth in a couple of weeks. From Dusk Till Dawn is really good, maybe the best on this album.

Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

really good review, explained almost entirely how i feel about this album too, with the only exeption being "August Moon" that i really didn`t like. Really looking forward to their new one, coming out sometime in the 2009

December 27th 2009


their two later album is MUCH better then this averenge album.

September 9th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

This album rules, so many awesome hooks

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