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I'm in full preparation mode for Hallowe'en and have been playing this album on repeat for the last week or so! Lordi are a Finnish rock band that are best known for winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 with their single "Hard Rock Hallelujah". However, the band had been around for years before they broke through into the mainstream and had already produced three albums. Get Heavy was Lordi's debut album and this is a great presentation of their style both musically and visually.
Not only are Lordi a rock band, but more specifically they are a MONSTER rock band. The songs on this album are full of horror themes beginning and ending with the atmospheric instrumental intro and outro tracks. There is a generous helping of violence and gore throughout the entire album, but somehow Lordi never seem to come across as being offensive. The lyrics can be a bit lurid and outrageous, but the music itself is quite upbeat and has an almost retro hair rock feel to it. When the band formed they were heavily influenced by the music and style of Kiss, and you can clearly draw some comparisons between the two. Lordi add their own finishing touches to each track that gives each one a feeling of individuality, but this also helps to make the album seem connected as the songs move and flow from one to another with ease.
Although the band are from Finland all of their lyrics are sung in English which means that they have a wider appeal, and have broken through to the UK and American markets as well as gaining a solid fan base in Europe. The language can be a little distracting sometimes, as translations do not always seem to come across quite right, or the sentence structure can seem odd, or the timings a little off. That said, it doesn't spoil the fun and I get plenty of enjoyment from listening to and singing along with this album.
The horror element in the music is exaggerated for greater effect, and this is also the case with the band's image. They are extremely OTT in dress sense, and have become characters in their own world rather than just band members. Each musician has their own horror character identity and this is used to great effect in their live performances and music videos. They go to great pains to maintain their monster image, and will avoid being seen without their full stage costumes and make-up at all costs.
Mr Lordi is the frontman of the group and vocalist - his persona is very devilish and generally dripping with gore and bits of flesh. Amen is the guitarist and also provides backing vocals - he has an Ancient Egyptian mummy themed costume. Kita is the drummer and also provides backing vocals - his character is a "brutal man beast" with big meaty jaws! Magnum is the original bass guitarist, however he left the band after this album was recorded and is replaced on the cover image by Kalma - his character is a skeletal highwayman. Enary is the only female member of Lordi and plays keyboard and piano as well as providing backing vocals - her costume is the least creative, and is basically best described as slutty mask-wearing, wig-wearing chick with massive fake boobs and skull encrusted corset.
If it weren't for this strong and unique look then I don't know if Lordi would have managed to achieve the same level of success that they have currently reached. The music video accompanying their first breakthrough single "Would You Love a Monsterman?" gives us a glimpse of how far Lordi are willing to go to create an entire fantasy world that ties together the music and their radical appearance. The cover art for this album features some striking photographs of the band in their full costumes, and it is fascinating to take a really close look and see just how intricate some of these designs are. I love their creativity and dedication to horror, and they have managed to mesh this with their music to produce something that is entirely unique.
1."Scarctic Circle Gathering" - 1:02
The opening track of the album sets the tone and draws you in, ready for more. It is a haunting instrumental piece with an ambient quality to it. At just over one minute long, it is brief but atmospheric and conjures up some clear imagery in my head when I hear it. There is a notable nod to horror movie scores and with all the sounds effects; church bells, rain, bats squeaking, and thunder rolling, I can't help but think of a haunted graveyard with terrors lurking just around the corner...
2."Get Heavy" - 3:01
Get Heavy is obviously the title track of this album. Being the first "proper" song, things burst into action with rocky guitars and Mr Lordi's chilling screams. Some may find this surprising given the descriptions so far, but Lordi's songs have a clear and tuneful sound, with an upbeat and somehow cheerful feel to them. The lyrics are playful and a bit bizarre - "electric dinosaur"(!) ... "warp into monster disco hell" - and the chorus is repetitive but all in all it's a good energetic introduction to the songs that follow.
3."Devil Is a Loser" - 3:29
This track showcases Lordi's humorous side, and has the one of the most ridiculous choruses that I've ever heard! Still, once you've heard it you just can't get it out of your head. The backing vocals add an extra layer and this is very typical of Lordi's style to incorporate soft harmonies through the chorus. Kiss get a mention here with Mr Lordi name-dropping Gene Simmons.
4."Rock the Hell Outta You" - 3:06
"Rock the Hell Outta You" is a proper monster stomping track! Heavier guitar riffs, violent lyrics, and a simple chorus that you can chant along with - "We rock the hell outta you!" obviously. As usual the lyrics are a bit weird, but I like the imagery in this one, as they mention exorcising your angels and casting in the demons. It's easy to see why there is so much negative backlash against Lordi, but although they are a bit controversial it's all done in good fun. Time to rock the hell out!
5."Would You Love a Monsterman?" - 3:02
This is one of "Get Heavy" 's strongest tracks and it's easier to connect with as it tells a story and has a theme that has been played on many times - the possibility of being able to love one that is monstrous. Of course a monster love song is not going to be your typical romantic ballad, and this is still a hard rock song with a heavy sound. The song is really catchy and is one that you can easily sing along with, especially at the chorus where there are strong backing vocals and it kicks in with the title line. It also includes everybody's favourite pop song trick of kicking in with a high note key change at the end! Every time it gets to that part it makes me smile, but as cheesy as it is, it really works. "Would You Love a Monsterman?" is the first single that Lordi released, and this helped them to break into the alternative music scene. You can view the music video from 2002 featuring the original band line-up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuhqKNTvZXc. The video was completely re-made in 2006 and you can view that version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRhbOFlTA5g.
6."Icon of Dominance" - 4:35
"Icon of Dominance" takes a different direction than the other tracks so far, it is a lot softer and has more of a melodic sound. This song is all about the lyrics and I really love the words as they are meaningful to me. "There is no soul, No soul could chain mine and call it its own". I feel like the song has a poetic quality to it and the lyrics are simple yet much stronger than the other songs. At 4 and a half minutes long, this is the longest track on the album but I feel it is justified as it is a powerful song and shows a different side to Lordi, which is good as it gives the album a touch of diversity and it's nice to have a serious song to balance out all the other fun songs.
7."Not the Nicest Guy" - 3:13
I don't have much of an opinion about this song, as there is nothing about it that makes it stand out to me. It seems a bit boring and blends in with the rest of the album well enough but the only good part in it is a brief guitar solo near the end that lasts for a few seconds. Again, this has a repetitive chorus with nice backing vocals but it's weak in comparison to the other songs.
8."Hellbender Turbulence" - 2:46
"Hellbender Turbulence" is a bit of an odd song. The style is a little off against the rest of the album, but I really like it and feel like it has a retro rock sound to it. The vocals are great and the backing vocals really add a quality of depth to support Mr Lordi's strong but rough lead vocals. This song is short and sweet but it's a very worthy contribution to the album.
9."Biomechanic Man" - 3:22
Another song with some fun sound clips, this time of mechanical robot noises! This is a typical rock song and we're back to the heavy guitars along with strong drums and plenty of crashing cymbals. This is a good entertaining track that builds the pace back up again for the final few songs of the album. It's a welcome pick-me-up after the previous three tracks that have a slower, softer feel to them and by mixing up the styles it helps to keep you interested and wanting to hear more.
10."Last Kiss Goodbye" - 3:07
"Last Kiss Goodbye" is my favourite song on the album, I think it really shines out against the others. It has a strong horror influence and manages to achieve the tricky balance of mixing the themes of love and death. Lordi's horror love songs seem to have that magic combination and really work well, as proved by tracks 5 and 10. This chorus is incredibly catchy and I love that the whole song tells a story as it sparks off the imagination and you can just picture this failed love affair and how it's all gone wrong.
11."Dynamite Tonite" - 3:13
This is another classic style rock song, and has some absurdly catchy vocals that you just can't stop yourself from singing along with - I promise you, you'll be singing "Melt her, melt her meat" without even realising it... so don't do it with your headphones on in public unless you want to draw the wrong sort of attention! Great high pitched guitar squeals and quirky synths give this a fun edge.
12."Monster Monster" - 3:23
"Monster Monster" has more of an electronic element to it than the rest of the album and this compliments the other instruments without overpowering them. This song has an 80s feel to it and is another nice catchy, sing-along tune which is a good way to round the album off, considering that this is the final "proper" song.
13."13" - 1:06
The end track is another instrumental piece and provides an appropriate outro to finish things off. I personally don't like it but that's because this is the only piece that I actually find creepy and a bit unpleasant to listen to. The sounds effects are layered to create an uneasy feeling, and what with incomprehensible whispering, a baby crying, maniacal laughter and monster groans, I'm always glad to be able to turn it off once this has finished!
I absolutely adore this album and it is a firm favourite in my collection. Lordi are like nothing else I've ever come across, and although there are other horror based rock bands out there I can safely say that Lordi are in their own little niche of a strange and scary sub-genre. This is a great start to really show people what Lordi are all about, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something that is more than a bit different. If you wanted to sample a few songs I would have to single out my two favourites, "Last Kiss Goodbye" and "Would You Love a Monsterman?", but really I have to say it's well worth tracking down a copy of the full album, and you can easily find a pre-owned CD on www.amazon.com for under £5.00 including the postage. Perfect music for Hallowe'en, or all year round if you're a monster freak!