Released: 2013, AFM Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Lordi is a band that there is so much to discover about, yet people still tend to associate them with one specific event that took place in 2006 – Eurovision Song Contest. Lordi were the first metal band to win the competition with their mega-hit „Hard Rock Halleluyah” that brought them a world-wide fame that was followed by an unfortunate impression of ‘one hit wonders.’ Despite whatever has been said, the band never stopped working and for those who actively follow the events in rock and metal, Lordi is so much more than the winners of some commercial pop song contest.
Lordi history goes way back to 1992 and since then the band has been through a lot. Lordi have released multiple studio albums, gone through different line-up changes, sadly experienced death of a band member, have been endlessly associated with the Eurovision Song Contest and trying to work out how to take this band’s sound and image even further and remain original.
This year the Finnish monster-rockers Lordi are back in the business with a new line-up and a rocking album To Beast or Not to Beast. It is the sixth album of Lordi and it was produced and mixed by Michael Wagener, who has worked with such artists, like Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., Ozzy Osbourne and more.
Almost three years ago Lordi released Babez For Breakfast, which was a record made in the best traditions of 80’s party/hair metal and To Beast or Not to Beast was planned to be a follow-up done in the same manner. Yet, the band members changed and a new drummer Mana stepped in to replace Otus, who sadly passed away, and Awa was replaced by a new keyboard player Hella to reconstruct the signature sound of Lordi.
We do not recommend To Beast or Not to Beast to those who take things too seriously and are looking for some musical masterpiece. This album is for those who love to party, enjoy listening music that’s not too serious and don’t mind quoting William Shakespeare in such comic way.
“We’re Not Bad for the Kids (We’re Worse)” is a banging opener kicking things off hard and heavy, still keeping it humorous and tongue-in-cheek. The band present some technical heavy metal riffing, pounding drums, monstrous growls and Lordi signature sound effects, while not saving the energy or any surprises for later.
The first single off To Beast or Not to Beast is the very danceable and upbeat “The Riff.” It perfectly highlights the anthem-like choruses that play such a significant part in the music of Lordi and visibly introduces the new keyboard player Hella.
Songs like “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Happy New Fear” melodies and lyrics sound rich and full of character, adding the perfect dose of gothic and ‘horror’ atmosphere. “I Luv Ugly” and “I’m the Best” are lyrically sarcastic and melodically pumping rock songs that have the ability to please any Lordi fan, but, unfortunately, they lack the excitement and the surprise element that everyone’s expecting to hear on To Beast or Not to Beast.
For those who point fingers and indicate some obvious similarities with a band known as GWAR, we can assure that Lordi is a completely different story. Surely, both bands like to dress up as terrifying monsters, but when it comes to music, Lordi are all about tongue-in-cheek 80’s influenced hard rock and hair metal. They’re, sometimes, cheesy and over-the-top sound is well compensated with their horrific looks making them truly unique.
Lordi remain classy with To Beast or Not to Beast and live up to every expectation. Their sound might seem a bit more radio-friendly than before and the album lacks the one ‘stand-out’ hit, but the production on this record is spectacular and the new band members have positively affected the way Lordi approach song-writing.
Catch Lordi on their Tour Beast or not Tour Beast tour when the freak show rolls into a town near you! Tons of explosions, astonishing costumes, loud guitars, even louder monstrous growls and epic show guaranteed.
Review by Anna Dumpe