Artist: The 69 Eyes
Album: Universal Monsters
Release Date: April 22nd, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
The 69 Eyes are closing down on their 30 year anniversary and are a damn fine example of how gothic stuff melds with hard rock. They are not metal per say, except for their early stuff (maybe), but they deserve praise here none-the-less as a great gothic rock band. So, how did the album fare? Isn’t that always the million dollar question my friends, eh?
Now, I do not know how well you know The 69 Eyes catalogue but it would be fair if I told you Universal Monsters resembles the band’s earlier years with a true hard’n’heavy spirit covering the tunes. Gothic rock masters from Finland are doing a damn fine job with Universal Monsters. Tracks like Blackbird Pie, Stiv and Johnnie, Rock’n’Roll Junkie are all tracks prepared to please our ears. The band working with their trademark producer, Johnny Lee Michaels is probably the reason why this album sounds so The 69 Eyes and fresh at the same time. After all, he was the name behind the band’s most famous releases (Blessed Be, Paris Kills and so).
For those who are new to The 69 Eyes, your immediate feeling would be to compare the band to HIM, probably because of singer Jyrki’s mellow voice. However, after some spins, you would realize the band actually differs from HIM with their music. Where HIM is a band aimed toward pop culture, The 69 Eyes stays close to gothic rock – glam roots. Heck, if you want, you can hear some Motörhead-ish vibes in their stuff. The song “Miss Pastis” is a good example for that and something fresh for the band’s sound. Iggy Pop and David Bowie would be two other names coming to mind in certain vocal arrangements, especially the later on the track Blue. These names may be of lesser importance to young metal heads, but those names, those legends have laid some of the most important cornerstones in metal and rock history. You can see those names, among Morrison and Danzig among Jyrki’s influences all around the web, anyway.
Now, I have to underline the fact that bands like The 69 Eyes, Type O Negative and Danzig were all around before this new culture of vampire fuss started and their “gothic” atmosphere is genuine and not some effort to catch a pop-culture train – their roots go all the way back to Black Sabbath (as almost all the metal bands do). Basically, they were already here before it was cool.
If you are interested in gothic rock and see how the big guns handle it, this album is a very good start. A modern sound without losing the old-school touch and memorable compositions performed in high quality musicianship will welcome you. I strongly suggest giving it a chance. Blackbird Pie, Shallow Graves, Never and Rock ‘n’ Roll Junkie are some tracks to dig for starters.
Archzie – Bass, backing vocals
Bazie – Guitar, backing vocals
Jussi 69 – Drums
Jyrki 69 – Lead Vocals
Timo-Timo – Guitar