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Theatrical Finnish horror-show metallists who pulled off the unthinkable and brought home the top prize at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, Lordi's operatic sound and monster-movie stage persona have helped make them one of the more outlandish and compelling groups in contemporary heavy metal. Emerging in 2002 with Get Heavy, Lordi would go on to amass a huge regional following via chart-topping albums like The Arockalypse (2006) and Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) (2016). Conceived in 1992 by vocalist, songwriter, visual art designer, and costume maker Tomi Petteri Putaansuu, better known as Mr. Lordi, the project grew into a proper band with the arrivals of guitarist Jussi Sydänmaa (known as Amen), bassist Magnum (real name unknown), former Children of Bodom keyboardist Erna Siikavirta (Enary), and drummer Sampsa Astala (Kita). Putaansuu began writing songs as well as creating the elaborate foam-latex monster costumes and pyrotechnic effects that would become the hallmark of their theatrical live performances. After a series of label auditions went nowhere, Lordi signed to Sony BMG's Finland branch and issued a debut LP, 2002's Get Heavy, which rose to the number three spot on the Finnish charts on the strength of the number one single "Would You Love a Monsterman?" Magnum left the group soon after, and with new bassist Pekka Tarvenen (Kalma), Lordi cut a sophomore album, 2004's The Monsterican Dream, which returned them to the Top 20 with "Blood Red Sandman." After touring in support of the LP, both Tarvenen and Siikavirta left the lineup, and with new bassist Samer el Nahhal (Ox) and keyboardist Leena Peisa (Awa) on board, Lordi released a third full-length, The Arockalypse. When the record's chart-topping lead single, "Hard Rock Hallelujah," was appointed Finland's official entry in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest, some religious leaders criticized the move, charging the band with advocating Satanism (even in the face of their 2003 hit "The Devil Is a Loser"). Controversy notwithstanding, Lordi scored the most points in contest history with a total of 292, over 40 votes more than runner-up Dima Bilan of Russia. In the wake of Lordi's victory -- Finland's first in Eurovision competition -- tabloids from across Europe scrambled to publish photos of the band sans makeup, which earned criticism from fans and media rivals alike and forced public apologies from the offending parties. On May 26, 2006, Lordi celebrated their triumph with a free open-air performance in Helsinki's Market Square, playing to more than 80,000 fans. Finland president Tarja Halonen even took the stage to award the band for its global recognition. In 2007 they performed at several American festivals, including Bamboozle and Ozzfest, before touring the States alongside Type O Negative. Lordi then returned to the studio in May 2008 to begin work on Deadache, the band's fourth studio effort. Released later that year, the album featured a stronger emphasis on keyboard parts and horror themes, as well as songwriting contributions from every member of the group. In 2010, the band released their first single, “This Is Heavy Metal,” from their fifth studio album, the Michael Wagener-produced Babez for Breakfast, which saw them working with a gospel choir and orchestra for the first time. It was during this year that drummer Kita left the band. In September of that same year, they released a compilation entitled Scarchives, Vol. 1 and in 2013 they released their sixth full-length studio effort To Beast or Not to Beast. The ghoulish Scare Force One arrived just one year later, followed by the ambitious concept LP Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy) in 2016. Three years later the band returned with the controversy-baiting, shock rock-themed Sexorcism. 2020 saw Lordi redefine the concept album with the recording of Killection. Taking newly written material, they recorded and played each track as if it came from somewhere between the early '70s to the mid-'90s, in turn creating a fictional compilation of previously released material. The album was issued by AFM in early 2020, preceded by the controversially titled single "Shake the Baby Silent." The end of the following year brought the monstrous box set Lordiversity, containing no fewer than seven brand-new albums, each with its own title and style. Produced during a particularly fecund period engendered by the COVID-19 lockdown, it took the concept of Killection and ran with it, while expanding on it greatly; each record in the set was inspired by a different genre from the '70s through the '90s, such as disco, prog, hair metal, AOR, thrash, and dance.
© Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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