A concept album from the Eurovision-winning costumed hard rock band
Bringing more Eurovision-tainted costumed hard rock to the masses on 30 September 2016, MR’s Allan digs out his fake horns to join in the fun…
I first came across this lot during the infamous 2006 Eurovision song contest, where ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ became the first – and so far, only – hard rock act to win Eurovision, as well as the first Finnish act ever. They got a square named after them in everything, and to this day Mr Lordi has been known to appear in costume to give the score from Finland.
Back then, they had a very theatrical approach but a limited budget, so they had to make the decision to either use their pyrotechnics (i.e. sparks coming out of the end of the guitars) in the heats, or to wait for the finals. Thankfully, fan-power prevailed and raised enough money for both, and history was made. Since then, the band have had something of a tough time, with the loss and subsequent replacement of several members, and most recently with the death of Mr Lordi’s father understandably pushing back what is their eighth studio album.
The fact that this album still managed to make it out is a success story – and that it’s a concept album of sorts makes it that bit more intriguing. Apparently, the intention was to split the album in half – one half being ‘Theaterror’, or the more traditional Lordi hard-rock stylings, and the other being ‘Demonarchy’. That half is intended to be more of a progressive sort of thing, according to the band themselves.
Taking this album as an A and B side, then, I’d have to say that the A-side is probably my favourite. It’s the traditional Lordi sound – big, bombastic guitars, gruff vocals growling out the lyrics but still keeping them intelligible, and thumping drums bringing things together. Throw in some clever keyboard and bass lines, and you’ve basically got hard-rock heaven with a sense of fun. Let’s face it – a band releasing a song called ‘Let’s go Slaughter He-Man’ are always going to be fun. It’s loads of fun, and very typical of the earlier stuff.
The B-side manages to take things more into the heavy metal side of things – a little more harsh and guttural, and arguably a lot harder-hitting. More double-bass-drum riffing, a more treble-oriented guitar, faster riffs… It does very much feel like a departure from the more accessible Lordi of old, but not necessarily in a bad way. It’s almost like a change of pace to show that they’re not a one-trick pony, and to show off some more of their undoubted songwriting abilities.
See, the thing about Lordi is that they’re not actually just a joke costumed band. After more than two decades, what Mr Lordi doesn’t know about songwriting and musicality would probably fit on the back of a postage stamp. There’s a theatricality and a unity to the writing that somehow manages to elevate what should, by rights, be a faintly ridiculous band into something far greater. Finding out that Mr Lordi actually does all of the costumes for all of the band-members himself and is a make-up artist as well as a singer and song-writer wasn’t that much of a surprise in the end. What he’s turned out here is a surprising tonal split that somehow still manages to be distinctly Lordi, lots of fun, and a bloody good album all at once. Turn it up loud, and give each side a spin – I’m on team Theaterror, but they’re both ace.
8 out of 10
- SCG8 : One Message Waiting
- Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be The Beast-Man In The Masters Of The Universe)
- Hug You Hardcore
- Down With The Devil
- Mary Is Dead
- Sick Flick
- None For One
- SCG VIII : Opening Scene
- The Unholy Gathering
- Heaven Sent Hell On Earth
- And The Zombie Says
- Break Of Dawn
- The Night The Monsters Died