To Beast Or Not To Beast

Label: AFM/Sony/Cosmos
Three similar bands: Gwar/Slipknot/Kiss
Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. We're Not Bad for the Kids (We're Worse)
2. I Luv Ugly
3. The Riff
4. Something Wicked This Way Comes
5. I'm the Best
6. Horrifiction
7. Happy New Fear
8. Schizo Doll
9. Candy for the Cannibal
10. Sincerely with Love
11. SCG6: Otus' Butcher Clinic

Mr. Lordi (Vocals)
Amen (Guitars)
Mana (Drums)
OX (Bass)
Hella (Keyboards)

Get Heavy (2002)
The Monsterican Dream (2004)
The Arockalypse (2006)
Deadache (2008)
Babez For Breakfast (2010)


Produced and mixed by Michael Wagener
Recorded at WireWorld Studio in Nashville, TN

Released 2013-02-27
Reviewed 2013-02-25

afm records

It would surprise me hugely if anyone that reads Hallowed doesn't know who Lordi are. They have a wikipedia article in over 130 languages (which is more than bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Bon Jovi and even The Rolling Stones have). Since getting their commersial breakthrough in the Eurovision Song Contest of 2006 they've become a household name for almost everyone - hardrocker or not - and this is the third album since the success that followed there but it's not much that has changed.

Two new musicians has come in to the band for this album and put some new masks in to the line-up. The gimmick of this band are these masks they wear and they built this gimmick up way before hitting big and hard with Hard Rock Halleluja some seven years ago even though I never heard them before that (I knew about them of course, ever since 'Get Heavy' - after all I did run a metal magazine, but I never took the time to listen to them). I haven't heard them much afterwards either, the odd single track but not much more so I took the time to get the know the band before digging in to this album for real. The reason? Well, first of all it felt like a good thing to do when you're about to review one of the biggest bands in the business and secondly I felt I had to since the small amount of Lordi I had heard sounded exactly like what I heard on this album on my first couple of runs. The result of this digging was quite shocking, to be honest.

Ever since getting this huge success in the Eurovision Song Contest Lordi has quite categorically been criticized by "real" hard rock media for being sell outs and all that bullshit they do after a band get successful. Traditional media criticize them anyway - sell out or not - and it seems to be some sort of standard for Lordi to be unpopular in the media - at least not very popular. I can't speak for the others and their reasons to criticize Lordi but in my book it's not out in the blue to discredit them a little because as far as I can tell there's nothing new at all in Lordi. And I think Lordi knows that too, that's why they've put the costumes on - to be a bit different despite the fact that it takes them tens of minutes to put them on. The problem is that putting costumes on is not particularly different-making anymore. You don't distinguish yourself from the rest by doing that anymore, just look at Slipknot, Mudwayne or why not Kiss? Or more or less any black metal band out there? So why Lordi? What's new about their monstershow? Well, it's not like you get any answers to that question from 'To Beast Or Not To Beast' - especially not after my thorough investigation about them, because as far as I can tell it's nothing new at all that comes from this album. More than the two new masks - Hella and Mana of course.

The opening track, We're Not Bad For Your Kids (We're Worse), sounds very much like their old single Would You Love A Monsterman? except for being somewhat faster and perhaps also a somewhat more modest chorus. The album then presents the perhaps best song on the album, I Luv Ugly, which have big male choirs in the arena customized choruses and a pretty standard hard rock riff in the verses. However, afterwards it goes back to being less exciting again. The Riff has a really boring riff and sounds like any other standard song you've ever heard and the rest of the album is not much better, but it feels like a monstershow of Lordi being Lordi - no more, no less. And if you like that then sure - good for you. But if you don't - I'm guissing you won't like this either. If you don't know what the hell you're thinking, well then let me ask you a question - do you like standard hard rock with dark and brutal vocals? If yes - then maybe you'll like this album too. If no - I wouldn't put my money on Lordi.

I'm not the guy that waste my time complaining on bands that everyone else complains about simply because you normally complain about these bands and everyone else does it, but 'To Beast Or Not To Beast' is just this so uninspiring, non creative and disinventive that they just line up song after song copied not only from their own repertoire but plenty of other bands repertoire as well (most of which they've copied a couple of times already). They even have a new version of their famous Hard Rock Halleluja on this album, it's called Horrification this time and the only thing that separates the two is the guitar solo about 2.45 in to Horrification.

It's not that 'To Beast Or Not To Beast' sounds all horrible and sucks more than Sacha Grey, I actually think more than half of this album is pretty good. It's just that it's not exciting. I can't see any reasong at all to listen to this album, no matter how much I try to see one. But I think it's an album mostly made for those who already like Lordi and I know they are a pretty decent number so I wouldn't see it as a failure. But it's an album that I personally can't see myself listen to particularly much in the future.

The question was "to beast or not to beast" and I think I chose… not to beast.



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