THE 69 EYES – Death Of Darkness (2023)

THE 69 EYES - Death Of Darkness (2023) - full

Finnish rock icons THE 69 EYES once again attempt to marry their Nordic goth roots with their affinity for the California Sunset Strip on the new album ”Death Of Darkness”. It’s a tricky combination to navigate as evidenced by the styles clashing throughout these 10 tracks. Nonetheless, you gotta give the Helsinki vampires points for originality and experimentation.
They always bridge the divide between BILLY IDOL, THE CULT and THE SISTERS OF MERCY with sense of style, and “Death Of Darkness” is nothing if not stylish. Like nearly every record THE 69 EYES have made over the years, it is also full to the brim with torchlit, leather-bound anthems.
The title track opens the coffin appropriately, being a moody goth toe-tapper with a haunting guitar lead. Vocalist Jyrki 69 surprisingly works in a few aggressive hard rock screams early on to break up his signature baritone delivery. Although his tone has been compared to Elvis, I find his patterns and voice are more reminiscent of David Bowie or The Cult’s Ian Astbury.

The magnificent “Drive” — an unashamed salute to BILLY IDOL — is even better, but THE 69 EYES have always been more than just a straight-ahead goth metal band, and the rest of “Death Of Darkness” strikes a grand balance between delivering the goods and torching the safety net.
The full-length then takes a more commercial, hard rocking style like in “California”. It’s a brighter rocker with some glam metal flashes confirming The 69 Eyes other influences: the ’80s Sunset Strip scene.
This is easily the most accessible, commercial and better produced – everything sounds clear – album from The 69 Eyes so far.

“Gotta Rock” gets the blood pumping with its flowing bass line by bassist Archzie, and is a respectful nod to the Finnish band Boycott. Jyrki 69 aces the playful yet seductive lyrics, notably during the chorus of “Don’t give me jive, give me rock n’ roll!”
The morbid vibes return with “This Murder Takes Two,” a gloomy country song that was written for a collaboration with Johnny Cash’s son which didn’t manifest. Kat Von D from the reality TV show LA Ink lays down a passionate guest vocal on this doomer.

“Call Me Snake” is another heads-down rocker, but with a malevolent streak a mile wide. “Dying In The Night” showcases THE 69 EYES’ pitch-black pop sensibilities, with some glorious pop soloing from guitarist Bazie. Both “Something Real” and “Sundown” offer wicked variations on the same themes.
Other highlight is closer “Outlaws”, with its dark and triumphant chorus. Jyrki’s apocalyptic croak is simply one of the goth voices of our time, and he thrives here inspired by another colossal chorus as ghostly piano figures are skillfully threaded through a wall of big, arena-sized riffs. It sounds huge and authoritative – because it is.

THE 69 EYES are still perfecting their winning formula, and “Death Of Darkness” feels like a victory lap.
Highly Recommended


01 – Death of Darkness
02 – Drive
03 – Gotta Rock
04 – This Murder Takes Two (feat. Kat Von D)
05 – California
06 – Call Me Snake
07 – Dying In The Night
08 – Something Real
09 – Sundown
10 – Outlaws

Jyrki 69 (Jyrki Pekka Linnankivi) – lead vocals
Bazie (Pasi Moilanen) – lead guitar, backing vocals
Timo-Timo (Timo Pitkänen) – rhythm guitar
Archzie (Arto Ojajärvi) – bass, backing vocals
Jussi 69 (Jussi Vuori) – drums



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