Review by Rob Broom for MPM
The Finnish creep rockers return with their 13th studio album and while thirteen might be unlucky for some, ‘Death Of Darkness’ is certainly full of life, in a haunting and gothic kind of way!
The album opens with the title track ‘Death of Darkness’. This one has been on YouTube and is a tremendous example of the album as a whole. Pumping riffs and some dramatically delivered vocals by Jyrki 69 are supported by some lovely backing vocal harmony (and which feature on a number of tracks on the album). The band weave some musical magic and conjure up a sonic gothic landscape.
Second track ‘Drive’ was released as part of an EP from 2022 and was my introduction to the band (and its still a mystery to me how I managed to miss them before then). It is a brilliant song, reminding me of Iggy Pops ‘the Passenger’, but with a furious riff and pumping beat.
As I wrote at the time – ‘The whole tune is brooding, sensual and highly atmospheric. The vocals are superbly delivered. The music really will light up your night time driving around if thats the kind of thing you want to do – just play it loud!’
Nothing has changed, I can easily listen to this on repeat. Live this should be a real stomper and get the crowd going.
‘Gotta Rock’ is a suitably sinister rockabilly twist on a song originally recorded by another Finnish band called Boycott. Could be a popular singalong in the live arena, its definitely got some clever rock and roll lyrics.
Next up is ‘This Murder Takes Two’ and this wouldn’t be out of place on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds ‘Murder Ballards’ album. Despite the darkness it is easily accessible and catchy. The video is on YouTube so check it out. The duet with Kat Von D and her vocal contribution adds a deeper touch and interest to this ‘Southern Country Gothic rock song’.
The riffs of blistering fifth track ‘California’ will instantly snap your head up and get your attention. It truly is a wonderful piece of rock music. Again, this was on the EP from 2022 and as I wrote at the time – ‘This is proper sleazy grimy rock and roll with the lyrics to match. It holds a balance of menace and despair, yet has a great riff and pumps along with a seriously catchy tune that deserves to be getting lots of airplay. You can pump your fist in the air, singalong and burn out your speakers when it comes on the radio. I love it and you should too.’
Yes, it has it all, great lyric, great guitars and a great groove – just play it loud!
The sixth track ‘Call Me Snake’ is also from the EP and this has a dirty twisting rhythm and beat that just infects your mind. Brilliant fun. Once the tune is in your head it won’t come out! The crowd should be jumping and singing to this one when it booms out live – I certainly will be!
‘Dying In The Night’ slows down the tempo and you could be forgiven for thinking Jyrki 69 sounds like Iggy Pop meeting Elvis as he croons along in a most delightful manner although it is questionable whether there is a body left bleeding in the gutter at the end and that sense of mystery adds to the wonder of the song.
The eighth track in – ‘Something Real’ – has a gritty guitar riff and explores the search for ‘something real’ with desperation and hopelessness all wrapped up in a 3 minute tune. I am sure some people will associate with this song and want to singalong. Its a good one.
As it kicks off, ‘Sundown’ has an almost Cult like sound and keeps a lighter feel rather than descending into the murky gothic sonics of some of the other tracks on the album. I really like the contrast and it makes the whole tune stand out.
Final track ‘Outlaws’ builds up a brooding mood that smoulders and simmers. Theres a classic ‘1980s’ sounding guitar solo and the whole piece just seems to carry an edge of gothic grandeur along with it perfectly. As the song goes ‘ nothing can hold us back now’ you want to believe it as you sing along to this epic album closer.
Having been around for 30 plus years The 69 Eyes have drawn on their experiences and put together a well produced, mature and composed rock album that does not just sit in one musical genre. With its mix of rockers and moody brooding songs that circle the graveyard, ‘Death Of Darkness’ has a throbbing balance that is worthy of your attention and investigating further or just simply buying. Embrace them and welcome the darkness.
THE 69 EYES are:
Jyrki 69 | lead vocals
Bazie | lead guitar & backing vocals
Timo Timo | guitar
Archzie | bass & backing vocals
Jussi 69 | drums