LORDI ARE THE NEW DARKNESS
When Vince and I went to the Download Festival this past summer, the young band everyone was buzzing about wasn’t Gojira, but Lordi, who, if memory serves correctly, were headlining the third stage on the final night of the fest’s final night. They had just won the Eurovision contest- apparently it’s like American Idol, but every European nation gets to submit an artist and most of them already have record deals- and it was kind of a big deal that a metal band had taken the crown that year. Looking at their photos in Metal Hammer and Kerrang!, the fact that Lordi had done so well seemed even more amazing: the visual touchstone for these dudes was clearly Gwar. Anyone who looks this ugly, I thought at the time, must be HEAVY, right?
Wrong. Lordi- whose album, The Arockalypse, will finally gets its US release this month- play uninteresting, incredibly by-the-numbers bar rock with ridiculous titles (“Hard Rock Hallelujah,” etc.). Now, silly titles can be great- The Misfits obviously made a career out of them, but Wednesday 13 has done a pretty decent job of coming up with some as well- but only when the music backs it up. And Lordi make non-threatening, forgettable corporate rock. Their costumes ultimately seem like schtick; unlike true shock rockers, whether it’s Alice Cooper or Marilyn Manson or Slipknot, Lordi’s costume-music combo never ends up being potentially offensive or genuinely creepy- it all ends up being kinda, well, cute. Put more simply: Lordi are ironic metal in the vein of The Darkness. Maybe they have a soft spot for cock rock and maybe they don’t; but what they’re doing isn’t paying tribute to this kind of music (like, say, Veins of Jenna, who if nothing else are 100% legit), but making fun of it.
God, I hope this band doesn’t pick up steam here in the States.