Album Review: The 69 Eyes – “West End”
Now on their twelfth album, and their first since 2016’s Universal Monsters, it’s weird to think Finland goth rockers par excellence the 69 Eyes have now been going for 30 years. In that time they’ve swung from their initial guise as spandex-clad sleaze rockers through Jim Morrison obsessive uber-goths to eventually finding a happy middle ground between the two, which has served them well on their last few albums.
So it’s a bit of a surprise when opening track Two Horns Up kicks in with an absolute beaster of a riff, sounding like the heaviest thing I’ve heard from the 69 Eyes in a good few years and featuring none other than Dani from Cradle of Filth putting in a guest appearance. It’s a bit of a false alarm though as the moody 27 & Done brings things back into more familiar territory, before the more laid back Black Orchid and Change provide the epic goth balladry that’ll doubtless have goth girls the continent over swooning.
There’s a sly humour at work on the fairy tale quoting Burn Witch Burn while Last House On The Left harks right back to the band’s very early horror film indebted output and features both Wednesday 13 and Calico Cooper (daughter of Alice) on backing vocals to really ham things up. The swooping Cheyenna appears to be about the Native American version of the banshee’s doom call and Death & Desire is another brooding goth ballad.
By the time things wind down with the epic Mission-indebted Hell Has No Mercy (think Daddy’s Going To Heaven Now from their mid-’90s era), the 69 Eyes have delivered another good solid slice of goth rock to complement their back catalogue – one part Sisters of Mercy, one part Type O Negative and one part Phantasmagoria era Damned. Good stuff.
"West End" is pretty much everything you want from a 69 Eyes album with a good mixture of mid-paced rockers, moodier gothic slowies and a couple of unexpected tricks and guest appearances to keep you on the edge of your seat. For those looking for a good soundtrack to Halloween later this month, this should do you just nicely.