Usually when writing an article it helps to come up with one word that helps describe the album. Writing for MetalBlast usually I come up with “Brutal” “Fast” “Strong “Bold” or something of the like. This time around though, all I could think was “Sexy”, that’s right, Sexy with a capital “S”. Not in the Vegas Strip “Single mom” sexy, but in a more passionate and profound way. Inside X, there’s a huge sense of monocarpic romance; a once passionate flower that bloomed, but now has gone with the cold winter winds. Left in its place, a void. The 69 Eyes have created a titular Gothic romance that both satisfies and satiates the listener, leaving them wanting more. The sometimes slow pace may not fit every mood you’re in, but slowly X will work itself into your regular playlist be absolutely perfect for your listening mood.
The goth metal scene is something of a tricky duck; on one hand you have the heavier acts like My Dying Bride, Type O next to lighter acts like HIM and Lacuna Coil and when you have a genre that is heavily reliant on lyrics for its identity, it’s anybody’s guess as to what you’re going to get when you pop in the album of a band you’ve never heard from; it’s in this manner that The 69 Eyes took me by surprise: on their heavier tracks they tend to sound a little like Poets of the Fall with a more rock ‘n’ roll feel, and on their slower tracks (like “Borderline”) as if Roy Orbison had teamed up with Johnny Cash. It’s as if everybody in the music industry had a sad song to sing, and it’s actually a very pleasing mix. Opening up with a Velvet Revolver flavoured riff, “Love Runs Away”, X is kicked into gear, followed closely by the catchy “Tonight”. Sound wise, the album has a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll flavour to it, preferring to complete the power chords all the way down as opposed to just using the standard E and A, giving the guitars a reel twang in their sound. Regardless of the genre, The 69 Eyes easily kick through the first half of the album with absolutely no filler in sight.
Not long into the album though, you realize that there is a pattern; slow melodic verses followed by jumpy power chords for the chorus. It’s there that the album finds one of its only flaws; the predictability of the song structures take away from the quality of some songs. I’m not saying it’s bad by any stretch, but it’s not as scary when you know the monster is right around the corner. However, it’s around “I Love the Darkness in You” that pre-chorus pumps are employed- rather effectively I might add- to give the songs just a little more of a push and it’s nice to change up the pace for just a bit.
The last third of the album has a few ballads in it that some people may or not skip, it all depends on how you’re feeling. Again they’re not bad but I know several people that have an affinity against ending albums with slow songs, but while I am not in the same school of thought as those people, X does suffer from a bit of a slow ending that more fizzles than ends off with a bang. It’s not all bad though, since when ” When a Love Comes to an End” finishes, I am left wanting more. In many ways, it would have been better had they ended with the Brand New Sin-esque dirty south type “I’m Ready”.
In the end, X delivers both in its ballads and heavier songs, but sometimes falters by relying on the same formula time and time again, even if The 69 Eyes do play around with it towards the end. Proudly carrying the Gothic flag (that I’m sure is made of black leather) X is a great entry into the metal discography of 2012 and I would definitely recommend picking it up.