The Finnish Eurovision favourites decided fuck it; following 2020’s “Killection”, they weren’t going to get to work on the next album, or even a double-album, no, that’s too uninspired; unoriginal and quite frankly boring. The band decided to work on a concept BOX-SET, of SEVEN consecutive new and original albums, between 2021-2022 under the banner of “Lordiversity”.
A modern, retroactive time-capsule, it spans multiple genres, eras and sounds, spanning decades, covering the growth and evolution in fashionable rock ’n’ roll, but with that beastly, Lordi twist. The question is; can a bunch of pantomime shock rockers pull off such a feat? Let’s find out, as we plough through these 78 tracks, wishing they could have settled for an EP...
The series starts off with “Skelectric Dinosaur” and we find ourselves back in the late 1970’s, where rock music was at that initial turning point. That transition between the more innocent, formative rock ‘n’ roll, swing and more blues influenced styles, to what we now refer to separately as classic rock. It opens up with “SCG Minus 7: The Arrival” and with its church organs, haunting wails and children's giggles, telling you that “Monsters are coming” …it’s quite the creepy introduction. This however leads us into disappointment, as we’re greeted with first track proper; “Day Off Of The Devil”.
Musically absolutely fine for the style they are going for, imagine, KANSAS, or, ALICE COOPER or even BLUE OYSTER CULT, they’ve nailed that classic guitar tone and recording quality, credit to them, and it’s a decent, chilled out rock track, however the intro promised something a lot more sinister. The question is, how DOES the devil spend his days off? Is he there with a bowl of Coco Pops, sat on the couch in his pyjamas watching Disney+ on a Saturday morning? Who knows.... who cares...not me.
“Starsign Spitfire” has a very slow, plodding pace to it, while it does have some decent backing vocal harmonies elevating the chorus. “The Tragedy Of Annie Mae” has a very DEEP PURPLE-esque bass-line fuelling the track and it rumbles along nicely. We do eventually finish album one off with “...And Beyond The Isle Was Mary”, and we get a quaint, piano-filled piece with rainy sound effects, resulting in a gentle closing number. They nailed the sound of the era and have delivered well here overall; it’s not a bad start.
Next up we have the album “Superflytrap” and we transition rather quickly from the origins of rock and early metal, into the bright lights of the discotheque. The intro piece, “SCG Minus 6: Delightful Pop-Ins" is totes cringe babes, with the porn parody content. Some bimbo taking in the pizza guy, and the pool guy, like some seedy classic blue-movie plot-segue, until the monster breaks in and there’s screaming and terror, and it’s all a bit shit. I pray Asylum don’t read this; their movies are bad enough as it is...
The actual opening tracks “Macho Freak” and “Believe Me” are a bit better. It’s not always easy to recreate that nostalgic disco/club vibe musically with it coming out authentic, but credit to a band like Lordi, they’ve managed it. The funk-fuelled synths, alongside the twangy guitars, in this day and age remind me of DEREK BISHOP if you’re interested in modern disco, and to be fair, the band, despite their appearance, don’t sound cheesy doing this. “Bella From Hell” capitalises on some genuinely soulful backing vocals, while “Cast Out From Heaven” tries to be a genuine ballad, and, let's be honest, the vocals do NOT suit this approach. This is too jarring.
Where do we go from here? Album number three; “The Masterbeast From The Moon”, and we enter prog-rock territory. Inspired by the likes of PINK FLOYD etc, it’s a more ambitious piece but do a band like Lordi have the ability to pull this off? Let’s get one thing straight here, no... the answer is no. “Moonbeast” utilises an almost GHOST-like character instrumentally but that’s genuinely as good as it gets. The praise ends here. “Hurricane Of The Slain” highlights this point as, the piano rich, orchestrally led strings of the track are gorgeous, but the clash with the gruff vocals absolutely ruins things. It’s all well and good trying new things musically, but when the vocals are so often stagnant, it has a detrimental effect on the entire project. “Church Of The Succubus” at over 11 minutes fits better in the whole prog-rock aesthetic, but even that can’t save this record.
What do we have next? “Abusement Park”, and I can’t lie to you, I do love a play on words; this title tickles me. It reminds me of JOHNNY KNOXVILLE in the film “Action Point”, but I digress. The title track absolutely reeks of classic heavy metal with the pacing, the key transitions, the style of percussion, it’s got a semi-MOTORHEAD vibe to it as well as the likes of W.A.S.P., almost power-metal in places, and it’s very up-tempo and energetic. It can be a bit cheesy with some incredibly cliched names like “Ghost Train” and “Rollercoaster”, but it’s to be expected. “Carousel” has some wonderfully emotive, smooth, sensual guitar playing that reek of the 80’s, while “Pinball Machine” harbours this strong AC/DC, or, JUDAS PRIEST level of vocal screeching.
“Nasty, Wild & Naughty” harbours all of that overdone rock ’n’ roll sleaze lyrically, despite being a catchy piece of rock with all of the cowbell, before “Merry Blah Blah Blah” comes out of the blue as a Christmas single. The bells and choirs are there, the Santa references are there... but do you know what is also there? Me, making Ebeneezer Scrooge feel uncomfortable with my lack of festive spirit. Pull a cracker, the joke will be this song, I promise. I mean, WHY?!
Next up we have “Humanimals” and we’ve reached our more, BON JOVI and AOR inspired tracks, and it shows. Opening track proper “Borderline” has a real, I guess, bon-jovial vibe to it (I’m sorry) with its light, up-beat synths and almost hushed percussion. The chorus houses some smoother gang vocals and its honestly quite the pleasant little track instrumentally. “Victims Of The Romance” utilises a more guitar driven approach in comparison but it reeks of that, all-too parodied hair-metal era. If you choose to picture Lordi with mullets in spandex, well, that challenging wank is on YOU my friend. “The Bullet Bites Back” stands out with its genuinely sleek guitar tones, and especially it’s solo, before we revisit “Like A Bee To The Honey”. A decent piece (Written by KISS) but, two years old, and practically becoming filler at this point.
Our penultimate album, “Abracadaver” leans further into the emergence of what we now fondly refer to as modern metal, with that transitional period, from the mid to late 1980’s into the 1990’s. Ignoring the now tedious intro bit, we dive into “Devilium”, and we’re met with a bombardment of riffs, old-school thrash metal aesthetics and vocals that could make onions cry. The title-track isn’t much better truth be told. You CAN hear “Big-4” elements but the track does eventually descend into utter fret-wankery. “Beast Of Both Worlds” is arguably as good as it gets on this one, with it’s very SLAYER-esque chugging riff-work and rhythmic snarls. Done well enough but, beyond dated.
Finally, then, and oh how glad I am knowing this (Excited for this one? Hell no, I’m just glad this is over with), we round things up with “Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular” and that name alone reeks of ROB ZOMBIE. “Demon Supreme” utilises darker synths and a semi-industrial aesthetic to give the ol' Dragula a right good rear ending. It’s a touch repetitive but it’s got an energy to it and reminds me of POWERMAN 5000 in ways. “Lizzard Of Oz” houses more chugging riffs, with a strong electronic core sound, something which a more industrial metal unit might partake-in.
“Skull And Bones (The Danger Zone)” repeats this seemingly Rob Zombie inspired instrumental direction, with it sounding aesthetically very similar. “Shake The Baby Silent” is top quality parenting advice it has to be said, Mr. Lordi collecting his dad of the year award over here, well done. Skip the bottle feed, jump straight to infanticide. It took seven albums but we do actually get our first actual stand-out highlight in the form of “Terror Extra-Terrestrial”. The intro spoils it a little bit, with its E.T parody segue, but we get a frankly quirky piece of synth-driven hard rock, and it’s honestly rather catchy. We ultimately finish up very ironically however, with the track “Anticlimax”...and I’m not even going to make any jokes here, the audio speaks for itself. After seven albums, completing this seventy-eight-track endurance test has to be rewarded in some aspect surely? Not in the slightest.
Lordi tried something different here; they have to applauded for their creative ambition, that’s without question. What DOES need to be questioned though, is why the hell they couldn’t do seven concept EP’s instead of seven full bloody albums? They could have very easily cherry-picked specific highlights, and made a far more digestible, and more importantly, enjoyable listening experience. Seventy-eight tracks, allows for far, far too much filler, and truth be told, fodder. They managed to occasionally hit certain spots musically, and instrumentally to diversify these albums into their genre’s, which is the entire point OF “Lordiversity” as a concept, but vocally they just aren’t capable of really delivering; it’s very one-dimensional for the most part, and that grates over time.
In summary... Monstrous? Check. Mediocre? Also check. If concept albums are your thing, love anthologies and collecting box-sets, or simply are a die-hard Lordi fan, you'll likely enjoy this for what it is. If you specifically like a certain style or genre, feel free to sift through your own preferences accordingly, you MIGHT get something out of it, but, as a complete package, this is at a level of grandiosity Lordi really shouldn't be dabbling in. For me? This review is finally over...give me a hard rock hallelujah!