Reviews

LORDI’S DEADACHE: MOCK ROCK, NOT COCK ROCK

Rating
100

I remember when Lordi first rose to prominence outside of their native Finland, by winning the Eurovision song contest way back two years ago. I remember, because I was there! Well, I wasn’t actually in Athens for the contest, but I was in Europe, and I did have a front row seat on a big leather couch. I had never watched the contest before and if it wasn’t for the urging of my friends, I would have just gotten drunk on a different leather couch in another room by myself.

Eurovision is one of the single largest affronts to taste and music I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing. Sure, the Grammy’s in America have always been an unpleasant circle-jerk between talentless performers and platinum-record factories that spawned them. And our own Canadian Juno awards here up north are just as offensive but so boring most Americans haven’t even heard of them. An ocean away, however, entire nations are systematically embarrassing themselves, by sending the bottom barrel scrapings of their music industries to represent them in an international competition. It’s a grand showcase of the worst domestic chart-toppers and would-be-breakthroughs galvanized by gimmicks ranging from fireworks to puppets, all trying to beg votes out of the viewing audience. As you can imagine, the sounds of an entire continent screaming for attention do not yield tolerable music.

Besides the bottle, Lordi were the only pacifier I could reach for from the leather couch that night. I mean, they probably had the biggest gimmick there, but it only took Freddy Kreuger make-up and an electric guitar to make them seem like the biggest badasses compared to their competition. At the time I was pleased to see that the Finns had sent Lordi as their ambassadors because in my mind heavy metal with keyboards is as Finnish as alcoholism and saunas.

However, this has turned into a special challenge for me now, as I’ve struggled to figure out how to review a metal band that got the same career-jumpstart as ABBA. Lordi’s Deadache (containing an even juicier pun than The Arockalypse) is upon us now and if you liked their shtick before then they’ve delivered as expected. Musically, Lordi has always been an expansive brew of cock-rock riffs and KISS choruses managing to land somewhere between heart-felt devotion and outright mockery. It’s almost overwhelming, upon your first listen to Deadache, to realize that every single track has a bombastically catchy, sing-along chorus. Every aspect seems to be a throwback to the eighties heyday of metal, from the generic stadium riffs to the solos that manage to be so uncannily representative of every Strip guitar player that you can only assume there is some liberal piss-taking going on. There’s even a power ballad called “Evilyn”. This is truly the metal that singles are made of.

Virtually the only thing that separates this from the glam revival is the lyrical content. While still largely focused on seductive females, it’s delivered through this trick or treat horror lens (“Girls Go Chopping,” “Man Skin Boots”). Needless to say, the eighties bands that lent them their groove were much more provocative, and Lordi comes off as a family friendly Halloween carnival. No fourteen year olds are going to get grounded for listening to this album.

Despite my reservations, I can’t force myself to hate this album as much as my black, soulless heart should. This is pop-metal aimed at a mainstream audience and it’s ultimately just too inoffensive to provoke a strong reaction like that. Perhaps the only thing that’s excessively tasteless on this album is the song “The Devil Hides Behind Her” which steals the Andrew Lloyd Weber’s melody from “Phantom of the Opera” (which he stole from Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”). Though this is more evidence that Lordi is mock-rock and not cock rock, I assume the majority of their fans didn’t come for the music anyway.


(2 out of 5 Horns)

-DBR

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