A selection of albums being released on April 13th (my mum’s birthday, by the way) or April 10th (depending on which press release you read!) come courtesy of Finnish goth rockers The 69 Eyes and Nuclear Blast Records.
Now, I confess that I’d not heard of the band before this bundle came through despite them being long-standing members of the rock/metal community and having released ten albums (the most recent in 2012). They’re also pretty damn good if you like this sort of thing, and the albums coming out seem to offer a good cross-section of their past output.
There are three re-releases (Paris Kills, Angels, and Devils) as well as a 28-track Best of Helsinki Vampires double-CD. The re-releases feature the original material plus three bonus tracks per disc. I’ve given all four albums a listen. Then another listen. Then spun them again to be sure. Then put them on for a while as background music…
You get the gist. They’re good. While very much having an original sound of their own, The 69 Eyes bring to mind many better-known gothic rock bands, the foremost of which to me are the Sisters of Mercy with a heavy slathering of Type O Negative. I don’t have a large knowledge of this genre, so I hope that’s taken as a compliment!
The 69 Eyes don’t limit their sound, nobody releasing ten albums could afford to do that, and they’ve definitely spread their black wings wide in an attempt to vary their chosen style as much as possible. Overall, though, they have a great sound that sends me back to the 1980’s while simultaneously remaining fresh. Deep vocals rumbling over a bed of airy keyboards, catchy rhythms and harmonic backing vocals.
With so many tracks to pick from across the four releases (though obviously there’s some crossover with several tracks from the re-issues featuring on the Best Of) it’s incredibly difficult to pick out any songs which really jump out, simply because of the overall strength of what’s on offer. But you know what? I’ll give it a go.
From Angels I’ll plump for the slightly upbeat “Frankenhooker”. It’s cheesy and makes me think of Rocky Horror if Alice Cooper had had a hand in the writing.
Devils‘ top track, in my opinion, would be the atmospheric “Sister of Charity”. This album is definitely darker and more downbeat overall than Angels and I guess the two were meant to play off each other.
Paris Kills is the oldest re-release, originally coming out in 2002, and my favourite track would be “Don’t Turn Your Back On Fear”. I just like the keyboard parts – great overall sound and whatever the keys equivalent of a riff is.
I’m not even going to try and pluck something from the Best Of collection!
I guess if you’re a fan of the band already, you have to work out if the bonus tracks are worth doubling up your collection for. If, on the other hand, this style of music is your kind of thing but you’ve not sampled the delights of The 69 Eyes before then they’re all definitely worth a dabble. They’ve converted me, without a doubt!