The 69 Eyes are a dramatic goth metal band from Finland, with a dash of punk in their attitude and a sound that mixes polish with power. Drawing influence from bands like Motörhead, the Stooges, the Dead Boys, and the Doors, as well as movies like The Crow, The Lost Boys, and The Matrix, the band dabbled in glam metal-influenced, guitar-fueled decadence on early recordings like 1995's Savage Garden. Just a few years later, though, as evidenced by 2000's Blessed Be, the songs and the production showed much stronger goth leanings, and by 2009's Back in Blood, the goth stylings were strengthened by a hard-hitting industrial undercurrent that packed a much stronger punch.
The 69 Eyes were formed in 1989 in Helsinki by Jyrki 69 (aka Jyrki Pekka Emil Linnankivi) on lead vocals, Bazie (aka Pasi Moilanen) on lead guitar, Timo-Timo (aka Timo Tapio Pitkänen) on rhythm guitar, and Archzie (aka Arto Väinö Ensio Ojajärvi) on bass. They initially worked with a drummer named Lotto, and not long after they recorded their first demo, they were signed to the Finnish hard rock label Gaga Goodies. However, after releasing their first two singles, 1990's "Superman" and 1991's "Barbarella," Lotto dropped out after he lost interest in touring and Jussi 69 (aka Jussi Heikki Tapio Vuori) took over on drums. Jussi was on board for the recording of their first album, 1992's Bump 'n' Grind, and two albums appeared in 1995: Savage Garden, a set of fresh studio recordings, and Motor City Resurrection, a collection of early singles and rare tracks. With 1997's Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams, the 69 Eyes began easing back on their glam influences and bringing a stronger goth thread to their sound.
With 1999's Wasting the Dawn, the group was signed in several territories by the successful hard rock label Roadrunner Records, and 2000's Blessed Be became their commercial breakthrough when the track "Gothic Girl" was issued as a single and became their first record to go gold. Their next full-length, 2002's Paris Kills, rose to the top of the charts in Finland and was a success in Germany, where the band was developing a growing following. EMI Finland added the 69 Eyes to their roster in time for 2004's Devils, which once again topped the Finnish album charts and earned them a gold record. In 2005, the band set out on a lengthy international concert tour, and in 2006, they appeared in the United States for the first time, including an appearance on the TV series Last Call with Carson Daly. They returned to the United States in 2006; one of the shows from the American tour would be issued in 2008 on the album Hollywood Kills: Live at the Whisky a Go Go. The follow-up to Devils was naturally titled Angels, and it appeared in 2007, debuting at number one on the Finnish charts, while the group played 125 shows around the world that year to promote the LP.
In 2009, the 69 Eyes traveled to Los Angeles to begin work on their ninth studio album, with Matt Hyde as producer. The LP, Back in Blood, came out in late August of that year; it included the single "Dead Girls Are Easy," and as expected, plenty of live work followed, including their first performances in Australia. 2012 marked the release of the 69 Eyes' tenth album, fittingly titled X, and in the following year, they celebrated their success with a "greatest-hits" compilation titled The Best of Helsinki Vampires.
The band took some time off and pursued outside projects over the next few years, but they returned in 2016 with a batch of original songs titled Universal Monsters. 2019 saw the act play the United States for the first time in ten years in advance of their 12th studio album, West End, which was scheduled for release on Friday, September 13. ~ Mark Deming