This is a bandwagon. I am jumping on it. In my defense, I had heard of LORDI before the Eurovision contest, but never actually heard their stuff. After seeing their performance on Eurovision, I navigated my way to their website and promptly fell in love with every aspect of the band. By now, everyone is probably familiar with the band’s extravagant stage show, lavish costumes, and over-the-top lyrics. It’s a zombie KISS meets a mostly sex-less GWAR, with all the bombast of ROB ZOMBIE, if he stopped being a fop.
LORDI kick off their third full-length with “SCG3 Special Report,” a radio report about and proclamation from the invading monster squad. It’s amusing once, and Dee Snider is the monster’s spokesman, but after the first time you don’t need to hear it again. But then “Bringing Back The Balls To Rock” kicks the door in with a loving tribute to Ozzy, KISS, and Alice Cooper. It’s not terribly complicated, it’s not deep but it rocks and you’ll be tapping along or banging your head in no time. Really, that’s the story of the album. “The Arockalypse” isn’t art, but it is something you blast out of your speakers while speeding down the highway, something that inspires malcontent youths to write LORDI and related slogans in their notebooks when they should be doing Geometry.
For my part, I bob my head to the rockin’ (adding the final “g” seriously decreases your credibility) music and chuckle to the lyrics. “The Kids Who Wanna Play With The Dead” slyly responds to the band’s critics’ demands to know what made the group members this way. I always get a chuckle as Mr. Lordi checks down the list—was it too much love? Not enough? Evil messages from the television? Something in school? Then there’s the puns and the word plays. Oh God, maybe more than anything that’s why I keep coming back to this album. “Hard Rock Hallelujah” is particularly rewarding for this—I mean, “the day of rockening”? Splendid! It’s the reason I love “Night Of The Loving Dead” and “Chainsaw Buffet” as I do.
There’s some dead weight, to be sure—nobody will remember “Good To Be Bad” a minute after hearing it except maybe for the keyboard work, which sounds like the opening montage of a children’s cartoon from the late 1980s, and I must admit I’m not a fan of “Who’s Your Daddy?” or “The Deadite Girls Gone Wild.” But hey, you expect that from any album. The good and awesome far outweigh the low points. Then there are the guest musicians, several of them. I already mentioned Snider, but there’s also guest guitar work from Jay Jay French (TWISTED SISTER, on “The Chainsaw Buffet”) and Bruce Kulick (KISS, on the ballad “It Snows In Hell”), and Udo Dirkschneider himself lends his idiosyncratic vocals to “We Only Come Out At Night.”
So it kicks ass. If you love your music filled with monsters and rockin’ riffs, “The Arockalypse” is exactly where you want to be. The production is full and juicy, really adding an element to the sound compared to LORDI’s previous two albums. In fact, I’d say that the band has really hit their stride on this release and it’s an absolutely endearing album, Eurovision or no. Hey, for once the bandwagon has the right idea.
And the best moment was listening to my MP3 player one day walking to work and “Hardrock Hallelujah” coming on as I went through the town cemetery. I practically expected the dead to come rocking out of their graves.
There is a special edition with three bonus tracks and Eurovision-related DVD.
(Online January 24, 2007)