To Beast or Not To Beast

Written by: IM on 01/05/2013 01:11:07

“To Beast or Not to Beast?” that is the question. Some disparagingly refer to Lordi as a joke, unable to see past the costumes, but this is old news and water off the devil’s horns to Lordi and their legions of fans. Formed in 1992 Lordi only gained mainstream notoriety after the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, which they won with "Hard Rock Hallelujah". Lordi were welcomed by the masses as a novel distraction from the barrage of boy-bands, crooners and divas. However, even still, amongst the wider public Lordi have always been viewed with a sense of endearment, as they are the novelty act after all, aren’t they? The masses remain largely in the dark as far as Lordi’s actual music is concerned. The Finnish metallers have enjoyed a successful musical journey, now onto their seventh release, with career highlights to date including performing at the US Ozzfest and having toured with Type O Negative. Whether or not one considers their music and costumes a joke, Lordi must be applauded for their role as ambassadors, bringing metal to the masses whether they like it or not.

“To Beast or Not to Beast” is not the first amusingly titled release from the Finnish quintet, who released their most popular album “The Arockalypse” in 2006. Eponymously named vocalist, Mr Lordi, has often expressed recognition of the degree to which Kiss have been an inspiration to them, stating that Lordi would not exist were it not for Kiss. Lordi show they have been influenced by Kiss, along with other ‘shock rockers’ such as Alice Cooper in their image and the nature of their groovy riffs and infectious vocals. It is still surprising that their music, particularly their intros is a lot closer to the ‘horror-rock’ territory of bands such as The 69 Eyes. Whilst not necessarily similar vocally to Jyrki 69, the ingredients and ambience of both bands’ tracks bear many similarities.

Easily the best track of the album is single release “The Riff.” With its catchy and industrial sound, it’s one of those tracks you just can’t get out of your head. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is another quality track which wouldn’t sound out of place in a musical about metal, building up in an anthem-like way to a sing-along sort of chorus. “Horrifiction” is formulated using the aforementioned ‘horror-rock’ recipe but an incredibly solid track nonetheless.

With half demon, half goblin Mr Lordi needing three hours to get into his mask, it’s no wonder that the band embrace the cheesy ‘horror’ style, which their songs are littered with elements of - and references to - in such abundance. There’s a very fine line between a song sounding like a theme tune from a kids’ haunted house fairground ride as opposed to something one would expect to find next to Misfits’ and 69 Eyes CDs. Lordi do like to cross lines and push boundaries in the most entertaining of ways, but sometimes they do stray a bit too close to the haunted house’s doorway, with werewolf noises for instance, as can be heard on “SCG6 Otus Butcher Clinic.”

Lordi’s latest album is certainly in keeping with their previous releases to date, evolutionary, but not revolutionary. “To Beast or Not To Beast” is a solid album, littered with material of a high quality; it would be a disservice to label any of it ‘filler.’ Arguably the only track which some would consider not up to their high standards would be the first track, “We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)”, however, this does not detract from the overall quality of the album. If you liked Lordi in their first six releases, there is nothing about their seventh to make you re-consider. “To Beast or Not To Beast” won’t necessarily win Lordi any converts to the particular creed of metal which they preach, but that is not necessarily the aim of this album and it will certainly not leave existing Lordi fans disappointed.

Lordi have brought ‘shock-rock’ to the attention of the mainstream for the first time in a while with tabloid attention creating increased exposure for the genre. However, in spite of their striking image, they were still somehow confused by The Daily Mail (a British tabloid) as being Children of Bodom. But Lordi have more substance to them than simply craving tabloid recognition, the release of their seventh studio album a testament to their longevity and commitment.

But have "The Unholy Overlord of All Tremors" and his merry band of goblins surpassed themselves? "To Beast Or Not To Beast?" that is the question. Lordi have won singing contests, presented MTV awards and had a Finnish postage stamp issued in honour of them, love them or loathe them, they must be saluted for unashamedly and successfully bringing their brand of music to the masses.


Download: The Riff, Something Wicked This Way Comes
For The Fans Of: The 69 Eyes, Alice Cooper, Kiss
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 01.03.2013
The End Records

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