They won the Eurovision Song Contest, they're coming up with enough merchandising ideas (LORDI Cola?) to make Gene Simmons get a non-Viagra-induced boner, they wear monster suits, and they single-handedly prove wrong anyone who touts Europe as more sophisticated and highbrow than the United States. But it's only been recently that folks on our side of the pond could hear what the fuss was all about — LORDI's U.S. debut, "The Arockalypse", has finally been released, and they'll be on the main stage of Ozzfest this summer.And if you like bands like SENTENCED or THE 69 EYES and you always wondered what'd happen if you took that kind of slick, midtempo, '80s-derived hard rock and added retarded lyrics sung by a Muppet, then your ship has come in. Leave the GWAR comparisons alone, because outfits aside, GWAR is a metal band and LORDI is butt-shaking hard rock schlock. The cheese is served up hot and bubbling, the clichés stacking (and stinking) to high heaven, and the whole thing comes off — when you're listening at home without benefit of the puppet show in front of you — like a generic cartoon soundtrack. I mean, come on — "Hard Rock Hallelujah"? Besides the fact that that's the stupidest song title since "Eep Op Ork Ah Ah", the song itself is dippy, swaggering beer-commercial metal with goofy '80s keyboards. It's impossible to take seriously, which is of course the point, but the novelty status of the project doesn't excuse the band from writing lame, derivative songs. Vocalist Mr. Lordi deserves particular scorn for his sub-Cronos croak and shameless mugging, which gets old even before the music does. Sit through "The Chainsaw Buffet" and revel in its dopey mix of jokey "Monster Mash" lyrics and a tune that makes EDGUY sound like HATEBREED — clearly, the songs were an afterthought for LORDI, long after the I's were dotted and T's crossed on their merchandise deals and the spray-paint dried on their foam rubber costumes. This is Chuck E. Cheese hard rock for too-ironic Chuck Klosterman wannabes who feel bad about liking metal in the first place, and for the last remaining INSANE CLOWN POSSE fans brain-damaged enough to think this clumsy minstrel show actually has a deeper meaning (fake cred alert: much as Alice Cooper intro'd I.C.P. shitpile "The Great Milenko", TWISTED SISTER mainman Dee Snider does spoken-word hoo-ha to kick off "The Arockalypse". Lest you think this implies some kind of meaningful endorsement of quality, keep in mind that Snider is an unashamed shill who'd probably do a tapdance at the Pol Pot celebrity roast if it meant a paycheck or some camera time). Like so many short-lived pop culture fads, this one defies logical explanation (thus the lack of a score above) — it remains only for the band's fifteen minutes to run out and send them packing. Defend this crap all you want, say I don't appreciate fun in rock and roll, buy up all the LORDI swag in the catalog — all I'm saying is, when you wake up from this particular bender, you're gonna be mighty embarrassed.
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