It’s fitting that The 69 Eyes dropped their new album, West End (Nuclear Blast), on Friday the 13th, for the superstitious aspect of the day reflects the band and its music, which is drenched in goth.
West End is the group’s first record in three years — and the first that the band is supporting with a U.S. tour since 2009 — and singer Jyrki 69 declares, “It’s not the regular 69 Eyes album you were waiting for: It’s even better!”
The Finnish rockers, known to their fans as The Helsinki Vampires, are also celebrating 30 years together. “We haven’t really changed in 30 years, if you look at [our] pictures, and musically, our vision has been the same,” he says. “But the world has been changing around us. We have either been late to the game, like when we started in 1989, or five years ahead in the ’90s, which makes us timeless, I think. And there’s things going on now, culturally, that makes me think that we are finally in sync with the world.”
West End is a swaggering kick in the teeth from the leather-clad vampires. It sounds like The Sisters of Mercy if Andrew Eldritch had grown up on the Sunset Strip. Although it has its share of goth, it rocks hard like The 69 Eyes’ 2007 release, Angels. Songs like “Two Horns Up,” “27 & Done,” “The Last House on the Left,” “Burn Witch Burn” and “Outsiders” are driving blasts of rock that may cause head-banging. Guitarists Bazie and Timo-Timo are in excellent form throughout while bassist Archzie holds it down and Jussi 69 tries his best to trash his kit before the album concludes. Other wonderful moments are the ballads “Black Orchid” and “Death & Desire” that truly showcase Jyrki 69’s stentorian basso profundo — at times recalling David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Billy Idol.
Also included with the physical release is a band documentary directed by Ville Lipiäinen. Jyrki 69 explains, “We’re releasing the 30th-anniversary documentary of the band, which comes out on Blu-ray with the CD Digipak. It shows the whole story, from the beginning through today. It’s interesting because it shows us and you see how much the world has changed, but our vision always has been the same: It’s leather jackets, sunglasses and guitars.”
West End also features guest appearances by Beasto Blanco’s Calico Cooper, Cradle of Filth’s Dani Filth and Wednesday 13, who all appear on “Last House on the Left,” which Jyrki 69 is excited about.
“I love Wes Craven movies, but also movie titles. This was a very sick movie from 1972 that had the tagline ‘Remember, it’s only a movie!’ I had run into Wednesday 13, whom we toured with in 2007, and we talked about doing something,” he says. “We already had this song but I hadn’t finished the lyrics, so I gave him what I had. And then we had Calico Cooper from Beasto Blanco, and suddenly we got Dani Filth to scream his lungs out — and we had a perfect new song for Halloween!”
But Filth wanted to do an extra guest appearance. Jyrki 69 recalls, laughing, “I was on the Sunset Strip at the Rainbow Bar and Grill and ran into Dani Filth, who is an old drinking buddy of mine. When I asked him about backing vocals, he agreed, but he said, ‘I want my own song!’ So when I talked with our producer, Jonny Lee Michaels, he suggested the song that became our opening track, ‘Two Horns Up,’ which was perfect for him, and that’s how he came into the picture.”
“27 & Done” “Cheyenna” and “Black Orchid” also have been released as singles. You can watch the video for “Two Horns Up” below:
With the album release on Friday the 13th and Halloween only weeks away, how will the band be celebrating the holiday? The charming frontman says with a laugh, “The 69 Eyes is having Halloween three-six-five, two-four-seven, and we celebrate it all the time. We’re very excited to have a new album ready to go, and we will return to the States with a tour in January and February of 2020 — and possibly again in October! So if we can, we’ll celebrate with a special show then.”