The 69 Eyes – West End (2019)

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Formed in 1989. wildly popular, multi platinum selling Finish goth rockers, The 69 Eyes, have just released their twelfth studio album entitled West End.

This is a band that once excited me, but I sort of lost track of along the way, so this is a moment of rediscovery for me…  The album opens up nice and strong with the riff driven “Horns Up”.  Jyrki 69’s vocals are smooth and inviting at times, but dripping with venom at others, and the band is sounding fantastic with some sweet lead guitar work, and a nice beefy bass sound.

“27 and Done” is an ode to the fabled 27 club – It’s all about dying young, and it has to be said that it’s very well done.  Again, smooth vocals, almost crooning along to a very catchy musical backdrop.  Next is “Black Orchid” and while the band is not re-inventing their sound at all, why should they?  They are good at what they do, and they play to those strengths.

“Change” is a little slower.  It’s kind of depressing and has a really morbid feeling to it.   Towards the end we get a nice shriek as the guitar solo is unleashed.  “Burn Witch Burn” provides a highlight, catchy and uplifting regardless of the vocals that drip with darkness, while “Cheyenna” features some great chunky riffs and an undeniable groove.

“The Last House on the Left” picks up the pace for a straight forward rock anthem.  The bass line is awesome, and the vocals are well suited to the subject matter.  “Death & Desire” on the other hand, is scaled back, teetering on ballad territory – and if I’m being honest, it’s not very good.

“Outsiders” is not bad, but as we head towards the tail end of West End, I can’t help but think there’s a little “filler” at play.  The same can be said of “Be Here Now”.  Neither track is terrible, they’re just not great.  Both kind of sound like a HIM cover band, so maybe it’s time for Ville Valo to dust off the heartagram logo..?

Finishing up the record is “Hell Has No Mercy”.  The track opens with a subdued, yet promising riff that puts me in mind of AC/DC.  Again, not outright terrible – there is some more great lead guitar – but at six and a half minutes long, it ultimately doesn’t go anywhere, and overstays it’s welcome.

Too much filler in the back half here.  Had 69 Eyes trimmed this down by 4 or 5 tracks, they could have had a pretty strong EP on their hands.  Unfortunately, what we have instead is a fairly mediocre album amongst a far stronger back catalogue.

6/10

Review by Shayne McGowan.

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