The 69 Eyes – X (Nuclear Blast Records)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

The current poster boys of modern Gothic rock, Finland’s The 69 Eyes have made the jump to Nuclear Blast for the release of their tenth studio album, the aptly-named X. The band’s crossover appeal has long been documented thanks to their mingling with MTV’s Bam Margera (that seems eons ago, though) and even tattooed vixen Kat Von D lends some clean vocals to “Rosary Blue,” a bonus track here, but the bulk of the album are quintessential The 69 Eyes; borderline comedic, but catchy and immediate.

Starting things off with the hard-driving “Love Runs Away,” one can instantly recognize the Billy Idol-meets-Danzig angle of this track, especially in the form of singer Jyrki 69’s vocals, which are the utter definition of throaty. Naturally, the chorus sticks effortlessly, bountiful in its airy Gothic pop glory. “Tonight” follows suit, encompassed by a swirling lead riff that echoes the dreariness of their Finnish surroundings, while “Black” steals the show with a dashing chorus, where Jyrki yearns for a woman dressed in black, something all of us metallers can relate to. Or not.

Departure songs such as the Johnny Cash vibe of “If You Love Me the Morning After” and spaghetti western “Borderline” don’t have the same resonance as the more traditional songs, yet they’re ample displays of versatility. The Cult-like “I’m Ready” is a winner, as “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” which evokes visions of Jennifer Love Hewitt in her late 90’s glory. Too bad the Finns are about a dozen years too late for soundtrack inclusion.

A more successful endeavor than 2009’s uneven Back in BloodX should benefit greatly from the promotional push it will receive from Nuclear Blast, who will more than likely try to sell these guys to the leftover Type O Negative and Danzig crowd. It’s a smart move, and based off the relatively palpable and upfront nature of X, The 69 Eyes probably aren’t going away anytime soon.

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