Lordi, Finland’s most outlandish Metal export return with a new CD to unleash on an unwitting public. I had actually heard an album by Lordi before their famous (or infamous) Eurovision win of 2006. I remember seeing them perform on that May Saturday night (Before you judge me, I was at a Eurovision party thrown by a non-Metal friend of my girlfriend. I wasn’t really intending to go but when I mentioned this to her she said there would be free beer. “How much beer?” I enquired “Lots” she replied…I was there by 7.30…) and I couldn’t believe I was seeing this on Eurovision! And then they won! Yay Lordi! …And that was the beginning and the end of many people’s knowledge of Lordi’s music.
The CD that followed was OK. A few decent catchy songs, lots of daft lyrics and plenty of photos of the band in their ludicrous garb. There is usually a pattern to ‘masked’ bands with over the top stage shows – it helps get you noticed, but then you are stuck with it and it starts to hinder. Kiss made it work, then unmasked (then masked again…which I never quite understood – we know who you are now Gene and Paul, we’ve seen you…hey, maybe that’s why…), Gwar were just an average thrash band without the costumes and the kiddies wouldn’t give a toss about Slipknot without their image. Lordi may have a slightly different plan – Get noticed, make a bit of money and then fund their ‘real’ bands (as every member is rumoured to be in other high profile serious Finnish Metal bands).
So image aside, what is Lordi in 2013? Well, not much different to Lordi as they have always been really. Musically we are talking groove-driven Heavy/Speed Metal. There’s Motorhead in there, but also the aforementioned Kiss, a bit of Judas Priest and even a hint of Demonaz! It’s all quite 80’s overall, with the lyrical mentality of King Diamond, Tenacious D and Alice Cooper. In fact ‘I Love Ugly’, ‘Candy For The Cannibal’ and ‘Horrifiction’ could have be straight off any Alice Cooper LP from the last 30 years, just with heavier guitar and drums. Depending on your mood the monster/horror based lyrics are either amusing or just plain daft – but that’s the image of Lordi, so sickly ballads or progressive time-changes would be totally horrific…ironically. And Lordi do have talent, there are plenty of catchy riffs and hooks to keep the listener interested. And what is wrong with a bit of theatrics to get you noticed?
There are some high points – the Nightmare Before Christmas style La-La’s in ‘Schizo Doll’ are a genius addition to a nicely crafted song and ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’ would make Black Label Society proud to have written it. But on the flipside, just shouting “F**k You Asshole” over and over in ‘Sincerely With Love’ is just crap, no matter how much a previous band member has clearly pissed Mr. Lordi off. ‘I’m The Best’ is just too naff, and ending your album with a live drum solo is a strange move…but then it hit me. Not if I was 12 years old! 12 year old me would play this album loud, annoy his Dad by putting the band’s poster up just through my bedroom door and try to shock his school friends with the lyrics and stories of all the horror films that me and Lordi watch. It’s not aimed at cynical older me at all!
So OK, cynical, slightly grumpy ‘Now’ Me gives this 5 out of 10…but ’12 year old’ Me would probably give this an 8 in the tradition of all the Heavy Metal Parent-Upsetters of yore. And if this release gives any 12 year-olds out there a talented alternative to Slipknot then more power to Lordi!
(5/10 Andy Barker)