Hailing from Helsinki, Finland, and practicing the art of rock and roll, The 69 Eyes have been working the stage since 1989. Somehow, it took two decades for one of their albums to come across my desk. Back in Blood is their tenth studio album and their first for new label, The End Records. I swear I have heard the band name before, but I cannot quite place where. I am sure whatever exposure I have is due to crossing the televised and Internet based path of Bam Margera, a big fan of the band and the man who directed the first promo video for the album, "Dead Girls are Easy." So, with all of that said, I cannot say I had any idea what they were going to sound like, I was entering the experience fresh and untainted.
In the darkened room, I pressed play and sat back, ready for just about anything. The title track began to play and it caught me off guard. Can you believe that? There I was supposedly ready for anything and the first song takes me by surprise. I guess you could say that while I was supposedly ready for anything, I was, in fact, expecting something a little more metallic in nature. This opening track, and the entire album for that matter, is very much a rollicking rock and roll album through a Gothic filter.
As I listen through the 48-minute long album, I detect hints of Billy Idol, Misfits, HIM, Danzig, and even a touch of Type O Negative. Yes, sounds like a lot, but I sense all of them here, but it also does not sound exactly like any of them. Think of it like taking a couple songs from each of those bands, distilling them and aging them in the dark recesses where the mushrooms grow and spiders dwell. The result is enlivened in the final execution with some good, old-school rock and roll. Let the party begin!
There really isn't anything that I would call "metal" about this release, although I see them lumped in with that genre more often than not. Of course, I could just be misreading my music-genre-filter, which has been known to go on the fritz every now an then. Still, I hear what I hear and with Back in Blood I hear rock and roll that begs to be played loud!
Back in Blood is an addictive album that is unlike what you hear on mainstream radio. The funny thing is that were this to get some mainstream play, I suspect it would do quite well. In the end, I suppose it is for the better as any mainstream success in the States would lead to labels trying to change them and/or the market being flooded with shallow copy cats.
The first thing that grabbed me with the album is the voice of Jyrki 69. It is always right in the same area when it comes to vocal range, but its sound ranges from deep and clean to moderate and raspy. While that may not sound like much, it is the perfect voice for this band, singing about blood, dead girls, and other dark topics in an upbeat rock and roll manner.
So, when you decide to give this album a shot, and you should, be sure to focus in on: "Dead N Gone," the arena rock style of "The Good, the Bad, and the Undead," "Dead Girls are Easy," and "Suspiria Snow White."
Bottomline. This is definitely a fun album, perhaps not "Best of" type material, but there is definitely an allure to it. Gothic rock and roll, an intriguing concept with this being a fine example. Definitely worth the time, put on the black nail polish and t-shirt, turn up the volume, and rock!