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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!