Nerd Metal Fridays: Lordi

I’d planned to hold off on these guys for a while, but 1) it’s been a totally crap week and I need to write about something that really makes me happy and 2) the Eurovision finals are this weekend, so it only seems appropriate to go ahead and feature these guys, as that was the forum that catapulted them to international fame outside their native Finland.

Let me set the stage for you.

It’s 2007. I ‘ve just arrived in Tajikstan, ostensibly being diplomatic for two weeks.  I’m jet-lagged, my clock is completely upside down, it’s 2AM and despite my utter exhaustion I can’t sleep, and the only thing I can find on the hotel TV that’s in English is VH1 Asia which is alternating footage for one of their Honors concerts (don’t ask me which, I know I saw Slash and Metallica in there somewhere, but everything was pretty blurry) and appropriately rock and metal themed videos. Then this comes on the TV:

Mind blown. (Look, at 2 AM and no sleep my mind blows pretty easy) Guys in great monster suits, making real music videos, and recording the sort of music I love, but thought had died out completely with the coming of the age of grunge around 1991? Why yes please, I’ll take a little more of that! This really was my first introduction (yes, despite having lived in Germany for 3 years, as far as I could tell it was all techno when I was there) to Europe’s still-vibrant hard rock and metal scene.  All of the power metal, and symphonic and prog and industrial and folk that I’ve discovered and started to follow since that time was the direct result of a girl in headphones calling up her own army of zombie cheerleaders (with much help from Pandora, which used Lordi as a jumping-off point to introduce so many other artists).

The music is pretty straightforward old-school hard rock, the fun comes from the good humor with which all the horror-themed silliness is delivered.  This is a band headed by a guy who grew up on KISS, Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister and 80s slasher films and it shows in everything they do.  And that’s OK with me, in fact, it’s exactly the sort of project I would have created (Mr. Lordi and I are roughly contemporaries) had I the drive, talent and musical ability (plus four similarly talented friends to pull it off with). By their own admission, their schtick is heavily influenced by KISS, from which they took the idea of always appearing in-makeup and in-character while promoting the group.

Mr. Lordi (Tomi Putaansuu) studied art before becoming a full-time musician and it shows, not only in the album art, elaborate costuming  and creature design (still all created and sculpted by Mr. Lordi himself) which changes with each album, but also in their music videos, which tend to be excellent examples of short-form storytelling. Seriously, the video for Blood Red Sandman may be the best homage to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead movies ever made and it pulls off this trick in only about 4 minutes.

The same cannot be said unfortunately for either of the non-music video films they were involved in (and which Mr. Lordi was heavily involved with writing). Short movie The Kin is a confusing mess. Horror feature Dark Floors is 80% good, creepy, engaging story, with a lot of good ideas floating around in the background, that nevertheless manages to crap the bed in the last 10 minutes.

With such a theatrical and visually-oriented band, it’s really hard to narrow videos down to just a few favorites, so bear with me.

-This one always tickles me, just because half a set of obstetrical forceps has never struck me as a particularly effective anti-monster weapon (also, why are there obstetrical forceps in the autopsy room anyway?).

-The problems with shopping for toilet paper during a zombie apocalypse (the totally unrelated song I love for it’s Devil Goes Down to Georgia vibe, with Mr. Lordi stealing Death’s riff and leaving him to expire after a car accident). [Mildly NSFW: girl butt, cartoon gore]

-The newest video shows a return to their older visual and musical style. [Gore warning]

-And a bonus audio-only track from the Japanese version of Scare Force One, included because it made me giggle hysterically when I came across it last night, and because it actually has some pretty impressive shredding from Amen. Folks, to start your weekend on an up note, I present Lordi’s cover of The Pointer Sisters hit, I’m So Excited.

Official website here.


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6 thoughts on “Nerd Metal Fridays: Lordi

  1. I’ve enjoyed Lordi ever since I found out about them in 2005. I was not aware of the films, and will take your word to not see them. Always a fun band to go to when you hit a pothole in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are definitely good for cheering me up. I saw them live in San Antonio in 2008 and have been waiting with bated breath for another US tour ever since. Watching Amen play like that under 20 pounds of latex is really something else.

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    2. And Dark Floors is actually worth seeing, I was just really disappointed that the end failed to live up to everything that came before and really didn’t provide any satisfactory answers to the mysteries the preceding 80 minutes had raised. Maybe it will be one of my B features on here one of these days.

      Like

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