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Hail in the name of schlock-and-roll - 25%

naverhtrad, February 15th, 2012

Time to take a break from Eastern Europe and Russia and pay a visit to nearby Finland.

Lordi have gotten a lot of press in the past few years, apparently, as a result of their ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ which for some reason won the Eurovision contest (though this certainly says something favourable about the Eurovision contest, which generally favours bland, faceless, plastic pop music, it also says something not entirely too favourable about Lordi). Honestly, I can’t see what all the hype is about; or rather, I can, and I don’t really like what I see. One other thing that really pisses me off: the Gwar comparison should never, ever be made in reference to Lordi – at least not by people who have a working brain stem. Gwar belong firmly in the world of metal, and if they ever strayed away from metal it was because in their early days they were playing crossover thrash and thus went in punkish directions with their music. Gwar also happen to be effective at writing witty lyrics, emphasis on the witty. Lordi are basically a mix of mid-tempo lowbrow power metal á la Crimson Thunder-era Hammerfall with various strains of mainstream and glam rock, inviting a comparison with Guns N’ Roses if I’m feeling particularly charitable, KISS and Foreigner most other times, or Kenny Loggins if you ask me on a really bad day. Hardly a good formula for ‘bringing back the balls to rock’, as it were – though I will note that that song particularly had some nice hat-tips to metal greats. If that’s your thing, though, you may want to just turn on some Sabaton instead. ‘Metal Machine’ on Primo Victoria (and ‘Metal ______’ on most of the rest of their discography) do pretty much exactly the same thing, and much more cleverly, to much better accompaniment.

As it is, each time I listen to Lordi I feel like I have to bleach my brain with some Maiden or Threshold out of fear that they’ve actually caused my IQ to fall several points. The chord progressions on the lead guitar are practically archetypal of all the clichés of hard rock (chug, chug, chug, throw in a major chord at the end of that riff – yeah, there you go), the keyboards overly prominent, the drums for the most part minimalistic, the lyrics mostly brainless (but what do you expect from zombies? – or so they would likely sing in one of their songs, damn them all to hell), the backing vocals arranged in annoying cheap harmonies evocative of ‘80’s album-oriented rock, with all too many ‘na na na naaahs’ and ‘ooh oohs’. Enlisting Udo to lend them metal cred on ‘They Only Come Out at Night’ was sadly ineffectual on a song which is otherwise limp. The happy, yuppie yacht-rock synthesiser intro on ‘Good to Be Bad’ is literally painful, since it manages to evoke everything that sucks about ‘80’s commercial-grade album-oriented rock. The glittery chimes at 0:29 are just the final insult to all that is supposedly metal on this album. If not for the vocals, it would not be out of place at all as a Kenny Loggins B-side or on a good-times-and-great-oldies FM station with a particularly sadistic DJ.

Sadly, it doesn’t really get better in the immediate future. ‘The Night of the Loving Dead’ and ‘Supermonstars’ aren’t as tear-your-ears-off offensive as ‘Good to Be Bad’, but in all honesty it’s still more of the same old in-one-ear-out-the-other glam-rocky filler bullshit…

Okay, yeah, I admit ‘Would You Love a Monsterman?’ is heavy, catchy, fresh-sounding and actually pretty good – with the exception of the lazy-arse bridge and the cheap transposition of the chorus at the end, it works pretty well as a power metal number. But the song following up is the return-to-mediocrity ‘Mr Killjoy’, and kill my joy they did (and the ‘honey honey honey’ stuff on ‘Evilove’ did not improve my mood in the slightest). Mission accomplished.

I can already predict some of the objections to my review. ‘But it’s just hard rock!’ I hear you cry. ‘It’s just meant to be enjoyable and simple and catchy! Lighten up; get a sense of humour!’ But that’s just the thing. I am perfectly capable of enjoying music, and I did enjoy ‘Bringing Back the Balls to Rock’ and ‘Would You Love a Monsterman?’. The overall point, though, is that schlock like this is generally not enjoyable for me. The flower-metal phenomenon got to where it was because it was encouraged by all of the people saying ‘it’s just fun; get a life!’ – but now, as more and more bands piled straight onto that bandwagon, such music has become pretty much lifeless. I’m not exactly eager for bands to start piling on a retro AOR bandwagon, either. Call me a purist, call me an elitist – hell, call me Mr Killjoy if you want to – but this really doesn’t do much for me, nor from what I can see for metal in general.

5 / 20

Who's Your Daddy, Bitch?! - 89%

WishmasterTheDark, January 7th, 2012

Yeah, this is the pure arockalypse. Lordi storm the world with their thunderous, loud and heavy music. This is another strong, very good Lordi release. There are many excellent classic heavy metal songs with hard rock influences. Part of that hard rock influence is related to short length, structure and ambient of the songs. However, majority of the songs are heavy metal songs (classic heavy metal), but there are few rock songs (hard rock) as well. There's a lot to be praised here. How can one dislike songs like Bringing Back The Balls To Rock, a face-melting opener of the album (excluding short spoken intro song), creepy and passionate It Snows In Hell, Who's Your Daddy? and Hard Rock Hallelujah, the two signature songs from this album, extremely heavy song The Night Of The Loving Dead and kick-ass sing-along song Supermonstars (The Anthem Of The Phantoms)? These are songs which instantly enter the ear of the listener. Enough to make you interested in the rest of the album as well. All of these are classic heavy metal song which belong in heavy metal section of the album. Each song is short, heavy, full of excellent horror lyrics, horror ambient, each of them is kick-ass sing-along song and orgasmic guitar solos are present in almost every song.

Guitar solos aren't technical at all, they are made in the rock style, simple, but memorable and very enjoyable. That is the most important. Technical stuff doesn't fit well in Lordi's music style. There are two versions of the song It Snows In Hell. One is from the single, and it was featured on the first version of this album. Re-released version from the same year has version with cleaner vocals. Original version with rough vocals is much more honest, and rough vocals fit well with horror ambient of the song, and these horror-romantic lyrics. Newer version is better for music video in order to make it more pleasant for the other people. Thankfully I am not one of them. Who's Your Daddy? and Hard Rock Hallelujah are two the most memorable, and the most catchiest songs. Their heaviness, vocals, lyrics, tempo, rhythm make these songs so sexy. That's the reason why they conquered Eurovision contest with Hard Rock Hallelujah song. No-one can resist the magic of that song. There are two version of this song too. The one for Eurovision contest is shorter. Studio album version has excellent organ intro, and it has riff-driven guitar solo. That's one of the best riffs I've ever heard.

The Deadite Girls Gone Wild is rock song (hard rock) which had to grow on me. I never actually payed enough attention to that song. It's full of hard riffs, great drum rhythm and catchy refrains. They Only Come Out At Night and The Chainsaw Buffet are two more hard rock song. They Only Come Out At Night is really mediocre song. It has few good riffs, some parts of the song, but nothing special at all. Constant shouting: "They only come out at night" in refrains is really boring. The Chainsaw Buffet has nice melodic hooks, enjoyable rhythm, but it lacks something. The same thing for The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead. It has tasty bass lines, good riffs, great rhythm and catchy refrains. However, they are very good songs. Good To Be Bad is done in typical hard rock style - opener keyboards, some hard riffs, lots of melodies and of course loud chorus. But it's really barely memorable song, the worst from this album. It has some good parts, but it's nothing that good.

Good sides of this release:
Lots of mind-blowing, awesome classic heavy metal songs. Extremely heavy riffs, great drum work, short orgasmic guitar solos, catchy refrains, excellent horror lyrics and great horror ambient. One excellent hard rock song too. I recommend this release for every metalhead.

Bad sides of this release:
They Only Come Out At Night is mediocre song and Good To be Bad is bad song. Ironically, it's not good to make bad songs. The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead and The Chainsaw Buffet could have been improved a bit.

Highlights:
Bringing Back The Balls To Rock, The Deadite Girls Gone Wild, It Snows In Hell, Who's Your Daddy?, Hard Rock Hallelujah, The Night Of The Loving Dead and Supermonstars (The Anthem Of The Phantoms).

A true guilty pleasure - 90%

kapitankraut, September 4th, 2008

Lordi's "The Arockalypse" is the kind of album we all secretly love. Big dumb singalong choruses with insanely catchy tunes hooking them all together, sung by a man dressed up as a monster, backed by a band of people who really should know better than to wear their costumes as well. It might sound like Kiss, it might sound like several other bands out there, but it should definitely sound like a lot of fun. If you're not already making room for an album like this in your collection, you're a liar.

As I said above, Lordi's schtick is that they're all monsters - indeed, the band has apparently sued a newspaper in Finland that had the temerity to run a picture of Mr Lordi without his outfit, something that says "dedication to the cause" to me. Indeed, this album has something of a vague concept running through it. If the intro is to be believed, Lordi (and presumably their friends) have appeared on earth to take over and institute a vaguely-defined new order. At least, that's how I read it, although I'm normally too busy enjoying the music to care about what they're saying in the intro.

So what kind of new order is it? Well, if the opening track is anything to go by, Lordi are "Bringing Back the Balls to Rock", and having no end of fun doing so. They don't pretend to be anything too serious, and this certainly isn't an album to listen to expecting high-calibre musicianship or lyrics.

That said, one song here ("The Kids who Wanna Play With the Dead") does seem to try to convey a message. Admittedly, it's a rather standard one about everyone being made violent somehow and what a terrible world that's created, but I guess it shows the band has a conscience of some description. Of course, the fact that this message is delivered complete with pounding drumbeats and a gang-vocal chorus that will have people down the street joining in rather muffles what's being said. Still, this is the same band who - earlier on in their career - announced that "The devil is a loser and he's my bitch", so expecting deep philosophical musings is probably asking a bit much.

A particular highlight on the album is "Chainsaw Buffet", a song in which Mr Lordi invites a friend to dinner - with the friend becoming the main course in the process. Cannibalism and gore are of course staples in the metal world, and often in a much more deadpan way, but when coupled with yet more singalong moments, it doesn't seem half bad to be eaten this way. My only regret would be that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the rest of the album...but I digress.

Of course, it would be wrong not to mention "Hard Rock Hallelujah", the song which has become something of a calling card for these Finns since 2006. This was my first exposure to the band, courtesy of their victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. Before this win, Finland had been the running joke of the competition, having failed to come anywhere near winning in nearly half a century of trying, and to see the country win (and break all records in doing so) with such a superb track was a very enjoyable experience.

Present here in a slightly different version to the single, "Hard Rock Hallelujah" is the album in miniature. We open with Mr Lordi growling the chorus over Kita's drum beats, before Amen delivers a riff that will simply not leave my head no matter how hard I try to replace it. Lyrically, the song is a mishmash of vaguely Biblical comments ("Lost are the lambs, with no guiding light") with equally ephemeral descriptions about how hard the guys rock ("It's the Arockalypse, now bare your soul"). But of course, we're not here to think about the lyrics, we're here to headbang like lunatics and shout the chorus at the top of our collective lungs, and so we do. By the time Mr Lordi declares "Wings on my back, I got horns on my head, My fangs are sharp and my eyes are red" (which he famously did onstage at Eurovision while sprouting wings and having his axe/microphone stand spit fire), we're more than willing to believe him. After all, that's what this level of theatricality is all about.

Is it a perfect album? Of course not. If you're not in the right mood to suspend disbelief and rock out, all the songs sound the same and they're being sung by a guy in a dumb costume. But hey, when you're onto a winning formula - which Lordi patently are - there's no need to vary what you do. There are many more respectable bands out there who could do with heeding that advice.

Brings Back Fond Memories - 90%

corviderrant, May 21st, 2007

Ohhh, yes! This takes me back to the glory days of the early 80s, when it was perfectly OK to have big, loud, catchy songs with lots of melody, unapologetic use of keyboards, and big, loud, singalong choruses. Thing was, back in those days, albums usually had one or two really killer anthems and a whole lot of filler. Not this album! Lordi have perfected the art of anthem writing and how, with an album chock full of powerful singalongs that make me yearn for those heady, long gone days when rock n' roll appeared as though it coulda saved the world indeed.

Once you get past the outrageous image and the often goofy lyrics (English is not their first language, so cut 'em slack, eh), this is not an album to change the world. But it sure as hell will rock your world and put a big silly smile on your face while it's at it. And if you don't smile and laugh at least once when listening to this album, there is no hope for you. The intro, as another reviewer said, is negotiable after a listen or three, but after that, hang on to your hats and anything not nailed down. The thundering "Bringing The Balls Back To Rock" is a (kinda) serious statement of intent with a slew of 80s references in the lyrics that I caught right away--guess that means I'm getting old, huh?--and a bold title like that gives Lordi points. After this, the album almost never lets up with its onslaught of chunky rocking anthems that will have you up and yelling with glee from start to finish.

This is a very well-produced album, I might add, and the combination of retro 70s/80s riffs and attitude with modern production values works really well. The drums boom and crack without electronic (read; triggers) assistance, the bass is deep and full (nice to hear the bass on a metal record for once), and the guitars have a nice polished sheen with just enough crunch to cut through. The keyboards, while an important part of Lordi's sound, don't overpower the guitars at all, and Mr. Lordi's leather-lunged raspy bellows a la Lemmy sit perfectly on top of the lot. Very nicely done!

Guitarist Amen's riffs are very catchy in the AC/DC and Kiss mode--Keep It Simple and Stupid is the overall vibe of this album and it's a beautiful philosophy because in this case it doesn't assume the listener is stupid like mainstream swill does. His soloing is extremely melodic and again, simple; sweep picking and shredding would be totally out of place on this album anyway. Bassist Ox nails down a fat foundation with deep, gritty, wall-cracking tone and mostly adheres to a steady 8th note pulse, though he does step out on the verses of "The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead" with a fantastic song-carrying hook, as well as playing a slightly busier part on "They Only Come Out At Night". Awa's keyboards add the perfect amount of atmosphere and drummer Kita is a hard-hitting dynamo (I can't imagine how he does it with that huge Predator mask on).

OK, yeah, the lyrics are total silliness, and you know what? Who cares! Mr. Lordi has a very warped wit and it shows in his constant referencing of classic 80s metal and horror movie imagery. "The Deadite Girls Gone Wild" is a prime example of this, with its referencing the classic first movie of the "Evil Dead" trilogy. Definitely a man after my own heart!

Standouts? "Bringing The Balls Back To Rock", "Hard Rock Hallelujah", "The Deadite Girls Gone Wild", "The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead", and "It Snows In Hell", a ballsy ballad of sorts with ex-Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick actually turning in a fine piece of work with a soaring and searing lead break. Best work I've ever heard from the man, honestly.

The only criticism I have is that the songs tend to sound alike with the same deliberate mid tempo used, but this is minimal. A little more variety would've bene nice, but on an album this good and strong, I'm not going to bitch too loudly. These guys (and girl) are on Ozzfest's second stage this year, and I believe this is their first proper US tour so show up and give 'em a proper US welcome! "The Arockalypse" is a most worthy effort and you youngsters need less iron(y) and more rock in your diet anyway!

It's the Arockalypse - 100%

LordRezo, March 8th, 2007

Lordi, the finnish monster rockers took the world over by surpirse by winning the the 2006 Eurovision Pop Song Contest with a metal entry. Now some of you may look at them and dismiss them as a Gwar ripoff. But take a closer look and listen, and you'll notice their completely different. The music is 80's heavy metal and hard rock. Sure it's nothing that original, but with todays constant musical differences, it's a nice change to hear some tunes still played in good old style. Lordi stated that their main goal is to entertain, and this album does it perfectly.

It kick starts with a news bulletin about invading monsters (with guest star Dee Snyder), then slams it's way into Bring Back The Balls To Rock with true power. With that song, it shows Lordi are taking no prisoners and that they will rock the hell outta you. Some classic Lordi tunes follow such as The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Daed, or Chainsaw Buffet (with guest star Jay Jay Fench). However, Lordi's talent doesn't stop at fast beat songs, they are equally good in playing power ballads and prove it with the song It snows iIn Hell with guest star Bruce Kulick (former Kiss guitarist). Another worthy song to mention is Hard Rock Hallelujah, the song which conquered Eurovision. With Mr. Lordi's raspy vocals, and powerful choruses backing it, where can you go wrong?

Final result? Sure they aren't terribly new, but they still show that classic heavy metal isn't dead yet. And with legends such as Udo Dirkschneider and Bruce Kulick backing them up, you know they must be doing something right. So put on Evil Dead, call some friends over, and listen to Lordi all night long.

Good Songs: Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead, It Snows In Hell, Who's Your Daddy, Hard Rock Hallelujah, They Only Come Out At Night, The Chainsaw Buffet, Supermonstars.

Good, But Not Amazing - 71%

GuntherTheUndying, February 13th, 2007

Whether you like Lordi or not, you have to give the band credit for all the success and worldwide fame they've received over the years of their existence. It's quite rare to have a hard rock band like Lordi that's able to top the record charts and receive various award nominations for their music, yet these monster obsessed rockers have made it happen and still continue to do so. Unlike some fellow metalheads, I actually find Lordi to quite enjoyable and I think most of their material is worth coughing up some dough. Now my basic exposure to Lordi leads me to the band's third offering, "The Arockalypse." Even though this isn't the best thing you'll hear from Lordi's discography, "The Arockalypse" is still a nice disc if you have a sweet tooth toward rock.

"The Arockalypse" is basically a hard rock album filled with sturdy riffing and the occasional dose of metal tossed in every now and then. Most of the riffs are played at a mid-paced speed with Mr. Lordi's gruff voice hovering over them while drummer Kita plays a simple, yet decent drum pattern. There is also a lot of synth use throughout the course of this album, but some of the tracks are actually driven by it rather than the guitar. I'm a real sucker when it comes to stuff with a lot of synth, so I really think that's a prime part of this record. The one thing I truly dislike about this album is the minimal variety in the songs. Most of the tracks are built upon the same foundation of simple riffs and Mr. Lordi's vocals followed by a chorus that usually won't stop until the song ends. There are some different tunes once in a while, but most of it is just more of the same. Other than that, "The Arockalypse" is a classy slab of hard rock.

The special edition of "The Arockalypse" contains three bonus tracks that are actually better than most of the songs on the standard print. The new version of "Would You Love A Monsterman?" has better production and atmosphere than its original form, yet it still has the same electricity that made it famous in the first place. "Mr. Killjoy" and "Evilove" are solid metal tracks with heavy riffing, nice vocals, and catchy choruses that actually sound memorable and addictive. These three songs add a lot more taste to this record that some of the first edition lacked.

Though "The Arockalypse" isn't an incredible album, it still has some enjoyable aspects that can be entertaining for a few rounds of listening. If you do decide to get this LP, make sure you buy the special edition with the wonderful bonus tracks.

This review was written for: http://www.Thrashpit.com

All hail the new Zombified KISS! - 85%

malibuman, July 19th, 2006

Now surely you all know who Lordi are - this is the band that won the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ (track 7 on this here CD), and if you don’t - well where the hell have you been. As you can see from the picture on the band page this lot are a bit unusual looking, but what we have here is basically a Zombie-Kiss for the new Millennium. (Strangely appropriate seeing as the members of this band have some connection with the Finnish Kiss Army).

Anyway, what you get here is basically 80’s style Hard Rock/Metal at times reminiscent of the first Bon Jovi album….so quite what they are doing on this site is anyone’s guess but hey-ho. Previous to this I’d only heard the ‘Monster Show’ album, which it seems was some kind of compilation (indeed this band seem to have the most confusing discography ever - how many albums of the same songs have they actually released???) which could explain it’s tremendous strength in depth, something which on first listen The Arockalypse can’t quite seem to match.

Give it a few spins though and these songs will sink into your brain and you will be hooked for sure. Well, maybe not all of them but some of them….

First though you have to navigate the intro, which at 3:46 you’ll probably skip after the first couple of plays. It’s vaguely amusing I guess, bringing to mind those 80’s videos where there was a story going on way before the song ever started….but then you’re into ‘Bringing Back the Balls to Rock’, which as it’s title suggests, isn’t exactly highbrow introspection.

Indeed, looking for anything highbrow on Lordi albums is a bit like looking for your favourite Swiss Truffles in your local 7-11. Not gonna find them! No way. But the point is, Lordi’s not here to challenge you or to stimulate your mind - they are here to E-N-T-E-R-T-A-I-N, if you can remember what that’s like?

Yes KISS is an easy comparison, but a better one is Alice Cooper….not only is the horror aspect a common denominator but the music definitely sounds more like late 80’s / early 90’s Alice Cooper than it does Kiss.

The other thing that Lordi have in abundance is dodgy lyrics. Okay maybe they aren’t writing in their native tongue, but even so…..

“No don’t thank heaven for little girls
When their eyes turn white as pearls
You wanna put it inside
You’re gonna lose it, she bites
Then she’ll suck you dry”

Or this genius chorus:

“Who’s your daddy, say who’s your daddy
Who puts you in your place?
Who’s your daddy , bitch who’s your daddy
Surrender and obey, who’s your daddy
Oh yeah!”

Quite.

Well anyway, this is no ‘Reign in Blood‘, it’s not even a ‘Destroyer’, but what it is a good slab of fun Hard Rock that while ultimately forgettable is riddled with enough hooks to have you singing along in your car like a stooped teenager.

Oh and I nearly forgot to mention that Udo Dirkschnieder lends his unique vocals to the excellent ‘They Only Come Out at Night’…