Lordi’s victory over the usually toothless (and oddly Irish dominated) Eurovision song contest was unmistakeably a game changer for the band, if not metal itself. Before their surprising (though absolutely deserved) victory, the common image of a metaler was some dude in a battle jacket throwing the horns or, depending on the decade, Gene Simmons. I wasn’t too fond of the song (and still aren’t). It stuffers from the infamous lack of teeth than all Eurovision stuff tends to) but perhaps that’s what they needed to do to win. It certainly exposed them to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard of them.
There’s few metal artists in the world as popular amongst people who don’t listen to metal as Lordi.
Since then, I’ve found each album to be a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, Lordi are masters of the firmly tongue-in-cheek energy like other favorites GWAR bring to the table, but their execution has tended to fall a bit flat for me. Despite the monstrous nature of their characters, their past few albums have all seemed a little commercial. A little too tame to fit their monstrous image.
Perhaps because I do listen to metal.
I’m glad to say, then, that this is their blackest metal yet. There seems to be a renewed focus on the musicianship that stops short of being truly heavy in favour of good rhythmic hooks and theatricality. It’s not as black as I’m sure some would want it, but Lordi were never in the business of being over-serious. As evidenced by one of my favorite songs in the album “Hell sent in the Clowns” this is more about taking a dumb idea and making something great out of it than it is ruminating on the human condition, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find that a little refreshing. The key with them is balance, and while in the past I think they’ve leant a little too hard into whimsy, here they get it right.
It’s the same theatrical goofiness that Alice Cooper used to peddle, and while not presented quite as expertly, still can’t fail to warm your cold, cold heart. And this time, at last, they’ve got the chops to carry it off. From their enjoyably cheesy lyrics to the pure undiluted 80’s nature of their musicanship there’s plenty to enjoy, if you’re prepared to have fun with it. A sense of humour is required, of course.
Check it out, if just for the energy in their best song in a few years “Nailed by the Hammer of Frankenstein”, or the catchiness of “Monster is my name”.
Album: Scare Force One
Released: October 31st 2014
Label: AMF Records
Score: 7/9 Hammers