If we think of albums as two-sided things, the way they should be, then Side B starts here with “Call Me Snake”. It’s the most 69 Eyes song you could conceive of, because there’s a moment where Jyrki 69 yells “Call me Snake” in its chorus and it sounds like the filthiest request in the history of the world. Even if you’re not entirely sure why. It just is.

That’s the world that Helsinki’s finest Vampires inhabit. Of course, they only come out at night, and even then with dark shades on, clad in leather.

“Death Of Darkness” is their 13th album, and you imagine it was recorded in the dungeon at an S&M club (it wasn’t).

If you’re not familiar with the group, then the title track can be your signpost. Somewhere between“Say Just Words” era Paradise Lost and the sleaziest 80s metal imaginable. Even that, though doesn’t tell the story. No, because you have to factor in Jyrki 69 himself and his voice. Part Danzig and part Chris Isaac, it’s sensational.

“Drive” was the first single they put out from it, and you’d best believe that “……Darkness” was partly recorded in West Hollywood because Guns N Roses wouldn’t mind their riff back.

Thing is, everyone’s welcome in this jungle, but it’s so catchy you’ll need antibiotics. “Gotta Rock” sticks with you like a tattoo, and the murder ballad “It Takes Two” (with Kat Von D on scary harmonies) is so convincing that it’d turn anyone into Jeffrey Dahmer. It was originally supposed to be on an EP with John Carter Cash and there is something of his dad here.

This is a brilliant record. And nowhere does it get better than on “California”. The sweet LA coke that Jyrki talks about in the first verse probably isn’t Cola, but I’ll say with more certainty that this is the best song The Cult never wrote and the reprise of the riff from “Beat It” is unexpected.

The bass groove on “Dying In The Night” isn’t exactly hiding that it loves The Mission (and 69 Eyes have supported them), and after the ballad, the sugar rush of energy that comes from “Something Real”, and as if to troll The Cult for their awful album last year, “Sundown” is a glorious “look at what you used to be” monent as the torch of the dirtiest rock n roll band is passed on.

For a band that embodies rock n roll so wholly, 69 Eyes are surprisingly good at slowing it down. As if to prove that once more, “…..Darkness” closes with “Outlaws” and its ominous thought that “nothing can hold us back now”.

Be afraid.

This is their 13th album. It’s probably their best. That’s not luck. They’ve clearly set out to make this record massive, as Jyrki 69 said himself: “The main goal was to spread our gospel further and further”.

Time will time whether it does, it deserves to and it sounds ready to. If this is a gospel, though, here endeth the sermon. Don’t drink the Communion wine and leave the bread alone.

Rating 9/10

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