LORDI – To Beast Or Not To Beast

Lordi - To Beast or not to BeastThere’s something about monsters that I have always liked. I think monsters are cool. When I was a kid, monster movies were the shit and if they’re not too goofy, I still have a soft spot for them. The word “monster” is also used quite frequently in music and there too, the word has a coolness about it. Like the latest Kiss album. Or Accept’s killer tune “Monsterman”. Extreme had an awesome song called “It’s A Monster” and Kip Winger wrote a brilliant ballad called “Monster” for his first solo album – and there are lots more out there. Then there is other stuff that takes the cool right out of the word and more or less kills it. GWAR is such a band, and nowadays, unfortunately, Lordi. Lordi used to be a somewhat underground shock rock band with a gimmick that, back when, seemed like a really cool thing to have. Their music has always been very commercial, think Bon Jovi with Rob Zombie on vocals and many of their earlier albums are actually very good. I think that their monster costumes are the reason for them not making it really big. That and their singer Mr Lordi’s voice, because the guy really can’t sing at all. But their songs are so catchy that they could very well have become hit singles. But everything changed with the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, where Lordi won big time and became a household name in the whole of Europe. The winning song, “Hard Rock Hallelujah” was a huge hit and the album sold shitloads, but right there and then, Lordi lost all the respect they might have had from rock fans and became the new circus in town, family entertainment and the small children’s new heroes and their hit single was played on every day care center around Europe. Since then, Lordi has become the clown of the town and nobody takes them even a little bit serious. Which is unfair, because the band has a whole bunch of great songs to their name.

Their first album after the Eurovision Song Contest, Deadache, turned out to be a very pleasant hour of hook ridden, catchy shock rock, but the follow-up and Lordi’s last album, Babez For Breakfast, left a lot to wish for and, even though not a bad album, it was uneven and many songs never went all the way. When bands follows up an album that was a bit of a flop quality wise, they usually comes up an album that kicks ass, but unfortunately, Lordi hasn’t managed to do that here. Somewhere along the way Lordi has lost it and I suspect the whole Eurovision thing took its toll as all their records prior to that were lots better than everything they have released afterwards. Opener “We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)” is a good example of that. The song is obviously a poor attempt at both being funny and trying to make a statement, unfortunately, it doesn’t work and the song itself is poor as well. “I Luv Ugly” is more like it, a catchy hardrocker that borders to metal, “The Riff” is very good – straight forward hard rock, “Horrorfiction” is great and Lordi at their best and “Schizo Doll” is really good, but a complete Alice Cooper rip off. So far, so good. But then the crap comes along. Ok, so “Candy For The Cannibal” is catchy and sounds like classic Lordi, but something embarrassing rests over the song – can’t put my finger on it, maybe it’s the stuttering c-c-c-candy… chorus. But “I’m The Best”, “Happy New Fear” and the stupid “Sincerely With Love” with its ‘Fuck You Asshole!’ chanting is all so embarrassingly ridiculous that I just want to run and hide somewhere.

As a whole, this album is mediocre to put it mildly. It has now gone seven years since Lordi won that stupid contest and it is time for them to go back and try to find a way to get out of the treadmill that they’re in. As for now, Lordi is just trying to repeat some old formula that once made them a household name. What they should do is stop trying to be funny and go back to be evil. Well, as evil as you can get in monster costume anyway – the way they used to do it back when. Humor is important, but they need to stop being so likeable – they need go underground again and they need to write some really good songs – to chant Fuck You Asshole isn’t either funny, rebellious or cool, it’s just ridiculous. Also, on this album, Lordi is going to far with their metal influences. Lordi  is best when they write catchy, tongue in cheek pop / metal songs – when they go too metal it doesn’t work and I miss the catchiness of old. Back to the drawing table, guys.

Jon Wilmenius (4/10)

Track List:
01. We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)
02. I Luv Ugly
03. The Riff
04. Something Wicked This Way Comes
05. I’m The Best
06. Horrifiction
07. Happy New Fear
08. Schizo Doll
09. Candy For The Cannibal
10. Sincerely With Love
11. SCG6: Otus’ Butcher Clinic
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