Review by Phil Wilson
Faced with the monumental task of reviewing Lordi – a band steeped up to their horns in a vat of mythical lore – I begin to feel much the same as I do when thinking of The Lord of The Rings as a film. How can something so far-gone, outwith the parameters of regularity, be pushed through that same reviewing prism?
Still, it has to be done.
The Finnish hard rock band rose to international fame with their Eurovision Song Contest antics in 2006 (I doubt anyone has forgotten Hard Rock Hallelujah – and rightly so). Six years on: we have their sixth studio release – To Beast Or Not To Beast.
The album begins at a gallop with We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse): roaring with an instantly catchy and unprecedentedly heavy guitar riff. The track is a notable step towards a different style of musicianship, and a leap away from the almost cut/paste form of earlier releases; a violent and successful album opener.
Successor, I Luv Ugly, halts the momentum and pours a slow, daunting guitar broth over some classic melodic vocal work. It feels like the bud of growth, sprouting arms with traits of heavy death metal traits.
It’s clear that there are various sources of influence at work, with new techniques and directions spread throughout the instrumental work. Particular plaudits must be awarded for The Riff – a fittingly named track which seasons its throbbing guitar base with contributions from synthesizers and orchestral segments.
However, progress appears to be confined to the instruments, only. Taking fifth track, I’m The Best, as an example, with lyrics such as: “Who do you think you are?/ You’re still here but I’m not far/Could it be that you see/You’re so godamn envious of me?/I’m the best, I’m the best”.
You’re reminded, with a crash of sky-high platform boots and jingle of goblin chain-mail, of just who you’re listening to. Unfortunately, I’m The Best appears to have been something of a U-turn in style: with follow up tracks following in the same tongue-in-cheek fashion.
In saying that; a brief shock through the slumbering body of To Beast Or Not To Beast comes in the form of Schizo Doll. A short jump back to diversity with use of sound creation and lullaby singing – both culminating in a pleasing blend of a semi-horror, semi-industrial atmosphere.
Penultimate track, Sincerely With Love, strikes home with the opening tones, “Fuck you, asshole/Fuck you, asshole/Sincerely with love/You don’t know a thing/You don’t have a clue.”
Well, shit. I’m thankful that the album has only one track left, as I now feel particularly pathetic in my role as an objective reviewer.
To Beast Or Not To Beast concludes with SCG6: Otus Butcher Clinic: a live cut of recently deceased drummer Otus, performing some entertaining drum fills: as significant a conclusion as We’re Not Bad… was an introduction.
To Beast Or Not To Beast is entertaining, but slightly disappointing in terms of musical evolution, yet undoubtedly destined to be a fan pleaser.
Regardless of its reception, Lordi will always have Eurovision success under their heavily studded, dragon-skin belts.
- We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)
- I Luv Ugly
- The Riff
- Something Wicked This Way Comes
- I’m The Best 6 Horrifiction
- Happy New Year
- Schizo Doll
- Candy For The Cannibal
- Sincerely With Love
- SCG6: Otus Butcher Clinic