Label: AFM Records
Finnish Eurovision legends Lordi are back again in early 2020 with a strange and fascinating new album: Killection, a faux compilation album as played by faux radio station Radio SCG10, made up of songs the band imagined they might have made if they had existed as far back as the 70s, going so far as to use authentic studios and tech to make the sound as realistic as possible. As well, the limited edition boxed set of the album promises to include 36 pages of comic art from Henriikka Klint-Connelly (H. Klint), Sanna Vakkala (Sanna V.), Mr. Kaarle, and Mr. Lordi himself, though what this art might be depicting remains a mystery even to us.
The album opens with a faux radio advertisement, “Radio SCG10” with clips of songs either inspired by Lordi and other classic bands, or possibly that are completely made up, with a selection of song clips in different styles like a radio advertisement.
The first actual track is “Horror for Hire,” which is a pretty straightforward and catchy, if a bit basic heavy metal song, good to sing along to live but not as memorable as it could be as a first track. The horror and scream sounds that open “Shake the Baby Silent” are immediately interesting, especially when they continue with something a bit more disco right after. It’s a strange song, mixing elements of Rob Zombie horror rock and Turmion Kätilöt horror disco metal along with some really, really strange lyrics.
“Like a Bee to the Honey” starts out with a groovy rhythm section before it takes an 80s turn and adds horror narrator vocals that somehow immediately made me think of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and other such 90s camp horror films. The song felt very tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at the 80s music it portrays. The saxophone solo by Michael Monroe and cheesy lyrics as sung by monsters really pull it together. And did I mention that this track was written by none other than Paul Stanley of KISS? Another groovy and funky mid-tempo song follows in “Apollyon,” which manages to make you want to stomp your feet and move your shoulders with them.
There is another interlude back to Radio SCG10, where someone calls in speaking in some sort of demonic language, followed by a “long time listener, first time caller” called Anna, asking about which is more important, the image or the music, before something strange begins to happen again and the demons take over once more; the radio host gives up while assuming he’s being pranked and gets back into the music.
“Blow My Fuse” is again very funky and quite rock n’ roll right off the bat. The groovy, grungy distorted bass really adds to the song and allows the guitars to be used more for flavor and flare. “I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You” starts of with creepy keyboards as the metal comes in with style and fun, staying more on the rock/metal and horror side of things. “Zombimbo” is another 80s-style simple track, again a bit simple/basic but also an accurate representation of the time period. Scoundrelly “Up to No Good” has an interesting feel, reminiscent of bands like Poison or Twisted Sister, and you can hear the lyrics reflected clearly in the song’s melodies.
“SCG10 Demonic Semitones” introduces a warning, saying that the order the songs are being played in are unlocking something terrible, but the host simply gets fed up at this point, takes another strange and disturbing call before returning to the music. “Cutterfly” has some cheesy keyboard melodies, but much like the other songs in its style, manages to nicely reflect the genre. The album might start feeling a bit overly long at this point, but gets a bit heavier and more traditionally “heavy metal” with “Evil” before moving on to the “new song” from the compilation, “Scream Demon.” The intro isn’t particularly strong or interesting but does have a pretty decent chorus that’s easy to sing along to. The album then closes with “SCG10 I am Here,” which I won’t spoil for you listeners here.
Regarding the mysterious artwork, the sneak peek we were given has allowed us an idea of what to expect now. From what we’ve gathered, each song will have an associated comic with the lyrics in it. The variety of artistic styles, as well as the great quality shows off another aspect of Lordi’s creativity regarding how to express their music. They also get brownie points for supporting new local artists. Not everyone will get the artwork though, which is only available in a limited edition boxed set.
Killection is both conceptually really fun while also has a bit of something for everyone, including lovers of art and comics! If you like simpler, more mainstream, radio-friendly music, Killection‘s got that. Like weird shit that’s totally out there? Definitely got a couple of those. Enough of the bullshit and let’s have some straight-up hard rock and/or heavy metal? Don’t worry, that’s on here too. Whatever genre or era of music they’re trying to depict, be it 80s new wave, stoner/groove, straightforward rock and metal, they do an admirable job of representing it.
The real question we were left wondering was, is this a rock album or musical art? Every song that seemed like it was too basic or generic also felt like it might be intentionally representing a certain style and hinted that if Lordi’s song was cheesy and dull, that’s because the genre they are poking fun at is cheesy and dull. I’d be okay with giving the album 9 or 10/10 for artistic creativity and conceptual execution, but if you strip it down and judge the music on its own, it’s nothing the original bands didn’t already do (and better).
With the number of songs in general, and many of them depicting simpler genres or styles, as well as the fact that Mr. Lordi’s vocals remain pretty rough around the edges, the album can be a bit draining to listen to in one session. Nevertheless, I’d say this album is definitely worth listening to at least once, and even if you’re not really into Lordi’s music but you enjoy their ideas, this is a rare opportunity to get a little extra artwork to add to your music collection in its physical format.
Rating: 7.5/10, 4 stars
1. Radio SCG10
2. Horror for Hire
3. Shake the Baby Silent
4. Like a Bee to the Honey
6. SCG10 The Last Hour
7. Blow My Fuse
8. I Dug a Hole in the Yard for You
10. Up to No Good
11. SCG10 Demonic Semitones
14. Scream Demon
15. SCG10 I Am Here
Stay tuned for our interview with H. Klint and Sanna V., as well as Wille K.’s interview with Mr. Lordi himself!