„To Beast Or Not To Beast”, Finnish horror-metal monstermasters LORDI’s most recent release is truly a masterpiece of the genre. Why? Because it is the perfect combination between Gothic „kitsch” and authentic, honest-hearted heaviness.
As opposed to previous records, which had a strong formulaic element, „To Beast or Not to Beast” is as original as it gets, within the confines of a certain stylistic structure.
In other words, on this new album, Lordi manage to remain themselves, without becoming boring. One of the main traits of the record is the usage of musical passages which are inspired by horror movie soundtracks. All the songs contain these elements in greater degree than previous tunes.
This predilection for the cinematographic element of the songs shows a great knowledge of the effect that such compositions can have on the black rose buds inside the listener’s dark heart. Alas! They blossom remorselessly.
Another element which characterizes the album is the band’s intelligence in mixing serious music with tongue-in-cheek, scandalous or just plain funny lyrics. Same goes for the smart way in which bits and pieces of Gothic sonic pastiche are interspersed in the compositions. From weird, agonizing alien cries manifested through shrill, eerily flowing riffs, to schizophrenic doll voices, and Amusement Park of Death theme songs, „To Beast or Not to Beast” partakes of all the creepy joys of horror clichés.
The album starts with „We’re Not Bad for the Kids (We’re Worse)”, a song done in the idiom professed splendidly by Alice Cooper. Next comes „I Luv Ugly” which is a pretty simple, riff-bombastic song that cuts directly to the chase. „The Riff” is a Lordi classic, beautified by spooky choirs and synthesizers.
„Something Wicked This Way Comes” is a really porno tune, delighting the senses with subtle, barely perceptible background synths. A boner inducing master riff is responsible for the chills you’re feeling. „I’m the Best” could very well be Thor’s (the Norse God of Lightning) personal anthem, basking in the glory of that good old Viking arrogance.
„Horrorfiction” is, if not the best, one of the most awesome and versatile songs on the record. Unpredictable, relying on a sort of baroque, menuet like structure, with big choruses and virile riffs, the tune sends shivers down your spine. Also, the middle riff – a spectacular rendition of how ET would have sounded had someone eviscerated him with a burning scalpel – is phenomenal.
„Happy New Fear” is a vintage Gothic Metal piece, which debuts with the sinister version of Pentatonix doing an impression of a (Satan’s) church-choir. „Schizo Doll” is by far the funniest, most grin-inducing song on the record. It is perfect proof of the fact that a Lordi album can act as a sonic antidepressant, by conjuring up cathartic images of evil and death.
„I am just a little doll, I live here in your yard/ You daughter used to play with me/ Now your dogs chew up my arms/ Sometimes I feel fucked up in the head/ That’s when I want to see all children dead”, is exactly what Chucky would say if he sat down with Mr. Lordi, on Mr. Freud’s couch.
„Candy for the Cannibal” closes the album with an irreverent piece that is sure to cause some heart-attacks in the world of feminists.
As for the very last song…it’s weird, man!
All in all, „To Beast Or Not To Beast” is one of Lordi’s best releases to date, and it’s really worth a listen, even if you’re not much into horror-metal. It is not easy to create art out of something that is inherently „kitsch” – like the contemporary „Gothic”, with all its stuffing: music, cartoons, paintings etc – but, somehow, in an odd, paradoxical kind of way, this creepy Finnish band did it!
Our mark is 9.5 out of 10.
01. We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)
02. I Luv Ugly
03. The Riff
04. Something Wicked This Way Comes
05. I’m The Best
07. Happy New Fear
08. Schizo Doll
09. Candy For The Cannibal
10. Sincerely With Love
11. SCG6: Otus’ Butcher Clinic