When a band reaches a milestone in their career such as a 10th anniversary, in this day and age, it’s considered to be an enormous achievement. When you consider how fickle most musical careers are now thanks to social media and a drastic reduction in the average attention span of your average noise consumer, most bands either call it quits after a few years, or keep going to the grave whilst still holding down a mind-numbing day job that would quite frankly see you better off 6 feet under anyway, all the while still chanting “the next record...we’ll hit the big time”. Few can say they’ve enjoyed 30 years of success. Even fewer can say they became icons during that time.

The modern-day trend of instant notification gratification brings with it the expectation that success is an overnight sensation, a short path to stardom, platinum record sales, and sold-out tours. This is a concept unknown to the founders of Rock and Metal, and it shows. There is a tried and tested method of becoming a successful artist. It’s called the long haul. There are no shortcuts, there are no magic tricks, the only prerequisite here is passion, persistence, and talent. Of which, this band has plenty of.

We’re the band that time forgot. We’re the band that refuses to die
- Jyrki

In 1989, a small gathering of young rockers, clad in makeup and mystique got together to be bound on an adventure that would see them create a new form of cult, an open, loving cult for the dark masses to congregate around. “Ever since the first rehearsals I felt that we had something magical coming” singer Jyrki 69. They would later be known as ‘The Helsinki Vampires’. “The Helsinki Vampires – does us justice. We’re the band that time forgot. We’re the band that refuses to die. We’re the band that refuses to change members. In all these years, we never saw a reason to stop” says Jyrki.

As The 69 Eyes celebrate their 30th anniversary with the release of their new record, West End, Jyrki demonstrates the very ethos that any aspiring musician should live by - Do what you want to do and do what you feel is right. Even though the band's perception of the outside world may be that of a world that has forgotten them, it’s important to remember that they have no need to please the world, just themselves. Their passion is their own success story. Their integrity and honesty in staying true to who they are is the reason they’ve come this far. The 69 Eyes follow their own path and with it, they have left behind an iconic trail that many follow, and even worship.

The 69 Eyes are now on the verge of releasing their 12th studio album, West End, and the artwork alone is a brilliant example of their simple, yet effective, dark and mysterious image. It’s this very image that has fascinated fans all over the world for so many years. It’s also an image they manage to embed in every record they release. The 69 Eyes have always managed to seamlessly integrate, rock, goth, and even elements of pop into their albums without ever becoming a commercial stereotype of their own characters.

When you sit down to hit play on a band's 12th studio album, you can’t help but think “I know exactly what I’m going to hear, they’ll be nothing new here”. You expect to tap your foot gently as you indulge in yet another offering from a band you’ve loved for so many years. What you generally don’t expect to happen is feel an enormous wave of “holy shit” within the first ten seconds of the opening single, Two Horns Up, in this case. And what an incredibly apt title for the first track on this record. 30 years on and 12 albums later, The 69 Eyes still make you want to smash back 10 shots of Jägermeister, throw the bottle against the wall and dive off the nearest stage. How on Earth any group of people can still inject this amount of energy into a record 3 decades into their career is quite frankly astonishing.

“After a night out at a bar, I didn’t go to sleep and I went out to sit on my hotel room’s balcony and watched the sunrise over Sunset Strip. And I thought: I have time for myself, so I listened to the new demos and started to write lyrics” Jyrki explains. This is the reason The 69 Eyes have lasted so long and done it with style. It’s called passion. “...everybody’s a legend and they should realize that we should enjoy what we do instead of worrying what other people think.”

One thing that is very noticeable on every 69 Eyes record is a clear and constant development in songwriting. Especially apparent throughout West End is how the band draw upon their many years of experience, not just musically but also throughout life. There is a deep dark depth to every lyric, guitar strum, bass note, synth composition, and every snare hit that runs wild across the uniquely atmospheric ether that The 69 Eyes have mastered during their career.

West End also features appearances from three highly acclaimed vocalists on ‘Two Horns Up’ and ‘The Last House On The Left’ – CRADLE OF FILTH’s hellish frontman Dani Filth, the Duke Of Spook WEDNESDAY 13 and Alice Cooper’s daughter and Beastö Blancö vocalist Calico Cooper.

Jyrki on working with Dani Filth - “My friendship with Dani Filth dates back to 1995 or 1996”, Jyrki remembers. “I was DJ-ing in Helsinki at Tavastia and one day, CRADLE OF FILTH played there – I hit the night with Dani, we partied hard and were friends ever since. Ten years after that, CRADLE took us on tour to the United States and those were the best weeks of my life. And when you have friends in other bands, you find yourself saying ‘hey, we should do something together’ and now it was finally time to invite Dani to perform on one of our songs”

‘Change’ will give you that fix of an underworld anthem, ‘Burn Witch Burn’ can offer you some ‘Never Say Die’ vibes, and, ‘Hell Has No Mercy’ will be the death of you. ‘The Last House On The Left’ will make you just want to break shit and smear eyeliner across your face, but in a good way.

The 69 Eyes have created a truly iconic image for themselves. The original Goth Rockers, The Helsinki Vampires, we raise our dark glasses to you and congratulate you on 30 years of amazing music and we thank you for another incredibly memorable album, West End.

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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