The 69 Eyes - Universal Monsters

(CD/LP, Nuclear Blast, 2016)

There are albums that I’m looking forward to getting in my hands and spin from the moment they drop on my lap, and yes, Helsinki’s most famous vampires THE 69 EYES’ releases are on the top spots of this list. I dunno if this happens due to the fact these guys stay true to their fanbase and never disappoint or because their high-quality Goth ‘n’ Roll hymns always deliver. I mean, the Finns have a unique and instantly recognizable sound, mainly due to the Elvis-meets-THE CRAMPS-meets-THE SISTERS OF MERCY groovy blend, spiced up with the insanely guitar hooks and the catchy refrains that no one can’t resist of listening to again and again. This April, our beloved vamps are back in discography with their 11th full-length album, titled “Universal Monsters”, so let’s get straight into it and see what THE 69 EYES have baked this time for us.

Of course, the main course here is 100% Goth ‘n’ Roll, already served by the very first tunes of the album opener “Dolce Vita” where the main riffage brings in mind some ‘90s Goth memories (hey, that’s a good thing), while Jyrki69’s moody baritone vocals spit softly the “Good morning, Rome / Good night, Bangkok / Only lovers left alive, girl” Jarmusch-inspired lyrics and instantly capture all the attention. I find quite clever the choice of having this track as the album opener, since it’s one of the most well-written THE 69 EYES’ tracks, and properly smooths the ground for the single “Jet Fighter Plane” to heat things up even more. The dark, early ‘80s vibe and the opening, mellow guitar riff bring some sweet nostalgia on the table, making you think this might be a left-over from the “Blessed Be” and “Paris Kills” days - just awesome! But it seems that better things are about to come; I’d be a liar if I don’t admit that the opening acoustic guitars didn’t bring a FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM breeze. I can’t tell if this is due to Jyrki69’s role-playing singing that brings an old-school Goth ‘n’ Roll vibe which is impossible to leave you indifferent, but for sure, this track’s overall orchestration brings forward the beauty of all the instruments and the track’s Western movies-inspired character.

No matter how hard you’ll search, you won’t be able to track a single filler because every song plays an equally important role on “Universal Monsters”’s musical puzzle. The retro-sounding “Lady Darkness”, the rock‘n’roller “Miss Pastis” with the killer bassline and the French chorus, the Horror-Punk-er “Shallow Graves” with its Alice In Wonderland thematics, the late ‘70s GOBLIN-like “Jerusalem” or the groovy, keyboard-laden “Never” or whatever track you’ll choose as soundtrack for your favorite Monsters-themed party, you won’t be disappointed; on the contrary, it seems that the Boys have worked hard to deliver the best result, and again, the way this album is recorded and set-up surely maximizes the listener’s pleasure.

Sometimes channeling the band’s Goth roots and Rock influences, while others re-discovering how nowadays’ Goth ‘n’ Roll should sound, THE 69 EYES managed to record an album that sounds as much nostalgic as fresh, and this is the main thing you’ll discover while revisiting “Universal Monsters” over and over again. So, feel free to choose your favorite Monster and let Jyrki69 and the gang to do the rest. Highly recommended for the band’s fanatics, like myself.





01. Dolce Vita
02. Jet Fighter Plane
03. Blackbird Pie
04. Lady Darkness
05. Miss Pastis
06. Shallow Graves
07. Jerusalem
08. Stiv & Johnny
09. Never
10. Blue
11. Rock ‘n’ Roll Junkie


Jyrki69 - Vocals
Bazie - Lead Guitar
Timo-Timo - Guitar
Archzie - Bass
Jussi69 - Drums