Devils

The 69 Eyes

Virgin/EMI, 2004

http://www.69eyes.com

REVIEW BY: Chris Harlow

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/20/2006

With love metal all the rage in high schools throughout the land, anchored by the band H.I.M., it’s perhaps little coincidence that the macho derivative of what fellow DV staffer Bruce Rusk calls the goth-for-tots band resides across town in the city of Helsinki, Finland. 

In Devils, the 69 Eyes are eight albums deep into their existence and have been garnering plenty of awards while selling out gigs everywhere in their home country over the last few years. I can see why, as the big baritone voice of Jyrki69 is supported by a more energetic rock n’ roll ensemble than traditional goth bands provide.  With its unique goth n’ roll approach, the overly dramatic vocals customary in the goth genre take more reckless turns on bim_ad_daily_vault_print_250
Devils, creating energy reminiscent to what was found back in the day of Visionquest soundtracks and Billy Idol albums.

Also, given the fact that the single “Lost Boys” is actually about the late 80s vampire movie of the same name, it’s surely safe to say that Devils is an album rooted with plenty of that decade’s hallmarks. A keyboard-driven Goth anthem may sound like an oxymoron in itself, but the formula actually works wonders, especially in making “Feel Berlin” one of the more refreshing tunes I have heard in some time. 

Another reason why goth n’ roll clicks is because the emotion-filled pressure points in Jyrki69’s vocals. This is evident on “Nothing On You,” which gives the band a brief crossover appeal for Danzig fans, almost as if the 69 Eyes are waving a dagger over the hearts of the trendy emo-sounding love metal scene with this approach.  And for gearheads like me, I definitely crave these tense moments.

Still, with the 69 Eyes carving out their own musical identity, I can’t get away from the fact that most fans will likely view the band as pretenders riding the coattails of H.I.M.’s success.  Of course, H.I.M. vocalist Ville Valo performs backing vocals on Devils, so any mention of a rivalry would be a bit misguided.

Creativity and variety in songwriting style are necessary to make a good album. While the 69 Eyes keep their formula intact on Devils, I’m hooked on the fact that I can’t pin their gritty goth n’ roll approach to anything else I’ve heard in recent memory.  Additionally, Devils is a good album for new listeners, as it’s the album that recently brought the band over to tour the U.S. for the first time in March, which culminated with an appearance on Last Call With Carson Daly. Achievements like these are worth mentioning as the 69 Eyes forge an identity of their own.

Rating: B+

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© 2006 Chris Harlow and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Virgin/EMI, and is used for informational purposes only.