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"Strap in, we've got some ground to cover" could just as easily be the phrase used to describe Lordi's frankly insane recording process over the pandemic as it could the review of their hard work at the end of it. I don't mean that in a negative sense whatsoever, either – I'm referring to the nearly five hour long collection of seven studio albums recorded in just nine months that comprise Lordiversity, the newest releases from the Finnish mask-wearing metallers.
Such a huge project would usually risk traditional pitfalls. Rushing to meet deadlines creating sloppy and half-finished work, or just a general feeling of creating filler to make up the numbers. Extraordinarily, the band have not only created a highly polished and tight album in nine months – they've made SEVEN of them.
So, to try and encompass the whole monumental accomplishment, we're not going to do a track by track review like usual here. Primarily because I don't think the Boss Man would pay for a 16,000 word essay on five hours of new music from Lordi but also so you, our precious readers, don't have to take a two hour toilet break in the office to know what we thought. Ready to rock and roll?
Let's start with the structure – each album is distinctly themed to a certain period of rock history, the album covers a reflection of this with homages to classics or just general on-theme design. There are also cute fake release years to reinforce the idea. The years are largely unnecessary, however, as you're going to know precisely when and who influenced these songs the moment you hear them.
The first and shortest of the seven albums on show is 70s rock lovechild Skelectric Dinosaur, a nearly tone perfect play on the early efforts of KISS, Alice Cooper and more in the old school rock and roll ballpark. The resemblance is uncanny throughout – the stuttering, fuzzy guitars and not quite clean sound on tracks like Blow My Fuse are basically time capsules buried by its predecessors and unearthed today. If I had to put a point on it I'd say this is the safest of the seven releases, i.e. it doesn't stray too far from the already available Lordi sound, but it's a fun little throwback with plenty of toe-tapping moments.
To call Superflytrap a diversion from the course would be earth-shattering levels of understatement. Imagine Earth, Wind and Fire, Boney M and Abba by way of The Muppets and you honestly wouldn't be far off. But here's the fun thing – it isn't bad, in fact for my money it's one of the more creative and fun albums in the collection. The female backing vocals on tracks like Macho Freak and Believe Me encapsulate the disco era of sound so well and the bombastic keys keep things flowing and funky . Mr. Lordi's voice isn't a perfect fit for all of these tracks – most notably on the piano-heavy Cast Out From Heaven, but the whole thing is such raucous fun it can be forgiven. Not everyone is going to like this one, but I sure do!
And then we're thrust into a new era entirely with The Masterbeast From the Moon, an album just dripping with spooky, proggy goodness. Now that I've mentioned the word prog there'll be no surprise that this is the longest album of them all, just about eclipsing three quarters of an hour of Styx-esque rock opera that, while it tells a good story throughout and features a top five highlight in the frankly wonderful 12 minute epic Church of Succubus, it, doesn't quite match the heights of the rest of the collection. It's still a good album, but it's probably the weakest of the seven all told.
Moving on, we've got big, ballsy and undeniably 80s action in Abusement Park, a territory that Lordi already feel very much at home in. This is just plain and simple dumb fun all the way through and the Twisted Sister and W.A.S.P comparisons can be drawn out of pretty much every single note, with songs like the fantastically titled Grrr! and the slightly reworked Up To No Good from Killection being an anthemic metalhead dream to a man. There's even a Christmas song on here, too, because the band were apparently trying to hit as many milestones without stopping as they possibly could.
Humanimals trades big hair for slightly less big hair and the sort of rock your mum fell in love with, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard oozing out of every pore of what feels like a bit of a radio album, though I guess that's the point. A Paul Stanley appearance on Like A Bee To The Honey is a real pleaser and I'm more than a bit in love with smooth ear-tickler Borderline. Rucking Up The Party also feels like a very deliberate homage to the radio-friendly reworking of words in songs, like the aforementioned Leppard's Let's Get Rocked. I'm not sure if the washy lyrics are dedication to the theme or just not great writing, though, which puts a bit of a damper on what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable forty minutes.
Then there's Abracadaver. I'd have expected the disco rock album much sooner than I'd have expected this crushingly heavy effort, a Metallica by way of Pantera type deal, with thrash elements thrown in all over the place like a factory making Anthrax CDs exploded. It's genuine soaring brilliance that I didn't think I'd ever hear from the group, Bent Outta Shape and Beast of Both Worlds proving to be legitimate, bone-crunching jams. The rest of the album isn't the strongest but once again, I'm more than willing to forgive it based on its achievements.
Last but certainly not least (unless you count the name, which is rubbish), Spooky Sextravaganza Spectacular (sigh) takes a smaller turn than album two's disco to album three's prog, from sludgy thrash into industrial metal. It's one of the most distinct sounding albums of the set, think Nine Inch Nails and Ministry-lite, and the uniqueness of it all definitely adds to the charm. Lizzard of Oz is a belter, while Killusion's synth-rock pandering is an honest delight. The very meta 18 second long final song Anticlimax got a chuckle out of me as well, I'll be honest.
Here's a condensed summary of the 284 minutes in total – if you don't like Lordi, you're not going to suddenly like them by way of being bashed around the head by them for nearly five hours. If you don't like puns, you're probably out of luck as well. But, given the scope and range of different things on display here from album to album, this mammoth collection not only provides a plane trips worth of entertainment, but some of the best music the band have put out in years. The sheer effort and love that has very obviously been poured into this by every member shines through in every album and while I can't recommend all of it, there's plenty I can't recommend enough.
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