Posted on March 13, 2010 -
I’ve been a bit late in reviewing this album, largely because I wanted to get a good enough feel of it to justify giving it a less-than-perfect rating. Lordi has been my favorite band for six years now, meaning that I was a die-hard devotee of the monster squad long before they won Eurovision. Up until “Deadache”, I considered each album they released to have topped the last: Get Heavy got me through my high school years, The Monsterican Dream was officially the first time I anticipated the release of a CD, and The Arockalypse was, plain and simple, a gift from hard rock heaven. Needless to say, I was excited about the Finn band’s fourth outing like all get-out…but after two years of waiting, anticipating, and drooling for the taste of sweet Monsterican goodness, I’m left disappointed. Not entirely disappointed, mind you, but let down nonetheless.
1. “SCG IV” – Just a short, mandatory intro, so there’s not much to say about it…other than that the little rhyme’s less-than-witty lyrics (“…bathtub smelly clumpy red, mommy kiss good night the dead”) foretells one of my major dissatisfactions with the album.
2. “Girls Go Chopping” – I really wish this hadn’t been the opening track; I wish it hadn’t even been on the album to begin with. Though the tongue-in-cheek lyrics are some of the better ones on the album, the song itself is an over-synthesized, by-the-numbers filler track with a chorus so lame that it sounds like Mr. Lordi pulled it out of his butt; he and Tracy Lipp can definitely put together a better melody than this.
3. “Bite it like a Bulldog” – The first single of the album best showcases the band’s altered musical direction. I didn’t like it at first, but a few turns on my CD player eventually made me consider it more favorably (though I still wouldn’t include it among the band’s best by any means). Though very much a melodic and pretty likable number, the song’s stomping pace and chorus don’t hook the ears as immediately as Devil Is A Loser or Hard Rock Hallelujah did; it sounds like something that should’ve been included on “The Monsterican Dream”.
4. “Monsters Keep Me Company” – I really, really don’t like this one… which is kind of odd, seeing as I still enjoy “Icon of Dominance”. This is a slow, drawling grunt of a song with instrumentation consisting of paced beats of guitar and drums; very bland, very boring, with no chorus worth mentioning to come to the rescue. I can see a lot of people skipping this one regularly.
5. “Man Skin Boots” – A thumper of a song that I’m still not entirely sure about. The thumping beat and get-to-the-good-stuff mentality will surely make this a crowd-rocker, once the monsters start playing it live, but while the quality’s there, I just can’t get around to singing it to myself while I’m going about my work. I leave it to the rest of the fans to decide for themselves.
6. “Dr. Sin Is In” – Though it sports industrial metal-inspired riffs, this is what I consider the first real Lordi song on the record: a sweet chorus and nice backing vocals by the always-awesome Kita aid lyrics right out of the “Monsterican Dream” song book. Yes!
7. “The Ghost of the Heceta Head” – Enter the keyboards! The song will make you think you’re back in “Get Heavy” territory: everything from the choral arrangements, lyrics, and instrumentation takes a step back six years to a rawer style. It’s not my cup of tea exactly, but it fails to inspire hatred or even true disapproval. Just wish it could’ve been better.
8. “Evilyn” – The second “slow song” of the album is the winner. It’s not “It Snows in Hell”, but the steel-against-razors combination of the acoustics and Lordi’s vocals are a perfect complement to eachother. Put it on your playlist.
9. “The Rebirth of the Countess” – Now this is the kind of track that inspires animosity in me. As the long-awaited (at least by me) follow-up to Enary’s “Magistra Nocte”, “Countess” is infinitely inferior for mucking up Awa’s piano-playing with ceaseless sound effects and creature sounds. The spoken word portion of the track adds nothing unless you understand French. Ick ick ick.
10. “Raise Hell in Heaven” – Though there’s no lack of enthusiasm here, the chorus is another one of those pulled-from-the-butt efforts. It’s trying to be “Rock the Hell Outta You”, but barely even gets to heck.
11. “Deadache” – The second single is one of the most unusual songs that Lordi has done: in addition to being a melodic high for the band, it’s practically a duet between Lordi and Kita – the latter never sings on his own, but his voice is practically on the same level as Lordi’s as they sing two-thirds of the number together. The chorus takes some getting used to, but is eventually likeable.
12. “The Devil Hides Behind Her Smile” – My favorite song of the entire album. The story, beat, and sing-along chorus (“Whoa-oh! Whoa-oh-oh!”) are all prime Lordi material. Shame it’s not quite strong enough on its own to be a single…
13. “Missing Miss Charlene” – A good song, if not a good closing number: a nice, long chorus, haunting lyrics, and some boisterous backing vocals distract the fact that the song can’t decide whether it wants to be heavy or not so heavy. I have a feeling that this one will be considered as a single but will be turned down.
Bonus tracks: I wasn’t sure whether I should include these, seeing as you get none of them on this version on the album (major detraction, Lordi – don’t gouge your fans for more cash when they’ve already bought the album), but since all of these are better songs than the majority of the stuff on the album, it can’t really hurt for me to draw attention to them, can it?
“Dead Bugs Bite” (iTunes exclusive) – A very, very glorious number, possibly the best of the entire collection, album songs included. Think “Supermonstars”: never-say-die lyrics and a rock-the-80s pop metal chorus that’ll have anybody singing along. A real feel-good song that I’m glad I owned iTunes for.
“The House” (Finland version exclusive) – Lordi has a good sense for which songs to cover (e.g. “The Man Behind the Mask”, “Midnight Mover”), and Finn-band Dingo’s “The House Without A Name” is no exception. More than just a cover, Lordi really make it their own by restyling the lyrics (which remind me of Stephen King’s “Pet Semetary”) and cranking up the heaviness to score a definite hit with a delightful chorus and much replay value.
“Hate At First Sight” (Digipak exclusive) – This is probably my least favorite bonus title, but that by no means makes it a bad song: the good chorus and melodic worth is there, but it gets to the chorus just a bit too quick to make it seem like much time was spent on it. Reminds me of “Evilove” a bit.
“Where’s the Dragon?” (Japan version/”Deadache” single) – Lucky Japanese; I really like this song. A foot-tapping beat blasts into an awesome chorus, followed by a neat-o guitar solo (introducing it personally was a nice touch: “Have you seen it, Amen?!”). While it’s not worth paying $50+ for the Japanese release, be sure to pick up the second single because of it!
There you have it: some good stuff, some not-so-good stuff, and even some plain bad stuff. I never thought that I’d be considering a Lordi album mediocre, but in the truest sense of the word, that’s what “Deadache” is. I’m not sure if the monsters intended to go back in time with their musical style, but if revolutionizing Eurovision proved anything, it’s that the band has little use to do anything other than go forward: while I recognized the sound, it failed to bring back the feelings I experienced when listening to their earlier works, and thus rendered the approach useless. Make no mistake, I will still take offense to anybody who denies the fact that Lordi is the greatest band to hit the earth in the last twenty years…but as far ranking “Deadache” in with their previous three releases, it’s closer to the back than the front of the line.