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Lordi is a Finnish hard rock and heavy metal band, formed in 1992 by the band's lead singer, songwriter and costume maker, Mr Lordi. Beside their melodic metal music Lordi is known for wearing monster masks and using horror elements with pyrotechnics during concerts and music videos.
Lordi rose to success in 2002 with their hit single, "Would You Love a Monsterman?". The band made history in 2006 by becoming the first, and still today the only hard rock act to win the Eurovision Song Contest. They are also the only Finnish winner.
Lordi has toured around the world actively since 2002. The band records a new studio album in 2-3 years cycle and at the same time Mr Lordi upgrades the costumes and masks of the band. Scare Force One was released in Fall of 2014. The band has gone through several line-up changes, but the original members lead singer Mr Lordi and guitarist Amen are still active with the band.
Members of Lordi have stated their desire for their unmasked faces to remain private. However, there has been widely published in the media and on websites more or less real pictures of their faces.
Lordi was formed in 1992 as a solo project by Mr Lordi. Lordi's very first demo album Napalm Market was done in 1993. The album included a song "Inferno", which also got a music video, all done by Mr Lordi. In the music video Mr Lordi performed unmasked but he had made monster make-up for his friends who played secondary role in the video. After the video was done, Mr Lordi got an idea of a band of monsters. "Inferno" was later released in Finnish "Rockmurskaa" compilation album in 1995. In 1996 Mr Lordi organized a Kiss cruise for Finnish Kiss fans from Finland to Sweden. During the cruise he met musicians Amen and G-Stealer, and told them about his music project called Lordi. After the cruise they joined the band. One year later Enary joined the band on keyboard and the band recorded their first album, Bend Over And Pray The Lord. At the time when the album was recorded, the band didn't have a drummer and they used MIDI drum tracks in place of a real drummer.
Ari Tiainen, the owner of their record company, had originally planned to publish the album; however, the company did not have sufficient resources to market it. Tiainen recommended Lordi to the record label Kimmo Hirvonen's Records, owned by Anaconda. The album was planned to release in early 1999, but Anaconda Records went bankrupt shortly before the planned release date and the album was never released.
The band never performed with the original line-up, though they had been promised a record release gig in 1999. During the same year G-Stealer left the band because of work commitments and was replaced by Magnum, whom Mr Lordi had met via Kiss Army Finland. In 2000, drummer Kita joined and the band got their first drummer.
Get Heavy and success in Europe (2002-2003):
After several failed attempts at obtaining a recording contract, Lordi signed a record deal with Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) Finland in 2002. In July, the band released their first official single, "Would You Love A Monsterman?", which rose to number one in Finland and spawned a music video. During the summer the band went under the auspices of producer TT Oksala's Finnvox Studios to record their first official album, though debut recording ran into several problems.
In autumn 2002, bassist Magnum was fired and replaced by Kalma. Though Lordi's debut album had already been recorded when Kalma joined, he appeared in the album art and the composition of the accounts. Their debut album Get Heavy was released in November, with a cover design loosely based on Kiss's Love Gun album. The original first sketch of the cover was based on Kiss's Destroyer album. The album won the 2003 Emma award for best domestic hard rock or heavy metal album, and Get Heavy has sold more than 67,000 copies. It was certified platinum in Finland in 2003 and multi-platinum in 2006.
Lordi played their first gig on 8 December 2002, in Helsinki at the Nosturi Club. In 2003, Lordi appeared at several music events in Finland and abroad, especially in Germany, where they played as a part of the Wacken Road Show. During some of the Germany tour, Lordi played as Nightwish's support act. The tour boosted both bands' popularity in Germany and helped them sign a recording contract with the German record company Drakkar. Nightwish had already achieved solid success of joint concerts in Germany and Lordi also raised their profile in Germany.
The Monsterican Dream (2004-2005):
At the beginning of 2004, Lordi began recording their next studio album. This time the album was produced by Hiili Hiilesmaa, with whom the band got along well. This second album was first released on 14 April 2004 as The Monsterican Dream. Two songs from the album, "My Heaven Is Your Hell" and "Blood Red Sandman", have since been released as singles. Corresponding with the release of the album, the band's costumes and image were also reformed. The special edition of the album also contained a DVD of the band's own short film, The Kin. The film, despite the success of the album it was attached to, has been poorly received. The album went gold two years after release.
In February 2005 Lordi's first compilation album The Monster Show was released by Sanctuary Records. Sanctuary had originally intended to market a collection of records in the United States, but these plans were halted due to financial problems. Sanctuary, however, published a compilation album in the UK. In Finland, a collection was published by Sony BMG.
The idea of The Monster Show disc collection has its roots in spring 2004, around the release of The Monsterican Dream album. Mr Lordi, while interviewing the band Kiss for Inferno magazine, gave the band's bassist/vocalist, Gene Simmons, a copy of Lordi's debut album, Get Heavy (2002). Later, Simmons' assistant announced that Simmons would be willing to publish Lordi's albums in the United States, but if the band would like to share sales revenue, it would be better to publish with Sanctuary Records. Sanctuary did not want to publish either of the studio albums individually, and instead preferred a compilation of the best songs. Thus, songs were picked from Get Heavy and The Monsterican Dream, and collected in the compilation album The Monster Show. The collection was published in the spring of 2005 during the European Monstour.
Meanwhile, the internal atmosphere of the band increased in intensity and led to a dispute between members. Later that year, bassist Kalma wanted to resign because of family and financial problems. Mr Lordi, trying to persuade Kalma to stay, suggested that he just play the biggest tours and other contractually obligated performances. Kalma, however, did not relent, because he wanted to be involved with the band either in full or not at all. Kalma did, however, play the bass units for the future The Arockalypse album. Kalma left the band just before Lordi entered the Eurovision Song Contest qualifier.
Two new members joined the band, bassist OX and keyboardist Awa. This change in members spawned more alterations to the band's costumes. OX (Samer el Nahhal)'s stage name was originally intended to be el Nahhal's real first name, Samer. However, Mr. Lordi opined that the idea was ridiculous, as an Egyptian hard rock band would be highly unlikely to have a member named "Tapani" (Finnish name). OX's monster character was created to be a "bulltaurus", a hybrid of man and bull, who served as guardian to a magician until they were betrayed by a fellow magician and murdered. The murderer then resurrected OX as part of an undead legion, but OX murders his new master after discovering his role in the betrayal. Soon afterwards he meets Mr. Lordi and decides to join him. Awa's was given a backstory wherein she was depicted as a psychic young woman who (by means of astral projection) discovers that her fiance is cheating on her, and murders him telekinetically. She proceeds to use her abilities for evil, until she is caught and condemned to death by impalement, but her rage and hate is too strong and she returns as a murderous ghost, wandering Europe in her rotting wedding gown until she is found by Mr. Lordi and offered the ability to cross dimensions if she will work with him, to which she agrees.
The Arockalypse and worldwide success (2006-2008):
Lordi's third album The Arockalypse was released on May 1, 2006. On 20 May 2006, Lordi made history by winning the Eurovision Song Contest held in Athens with the song "Hard Rock Hallelujah", becoming the first Finnish group to win the contest and consequently the first Hard Rock / Heavy Metal band to win; Finland would then send Power Metal band Teräsbetoni in 2008. The song scored 292 points, which was an all-time points record for then. Lordi was also a semi-final number one and even got 292 points, which was historic, as they were the first competitors to win both the semifinals and the finals. Pasi Rantanen from the band Thunderstone performed backing vocals for the performance, wearing a Gene Simmons Kiss mask.
Lordi opened the fall of 2006 Bringing Back the Balls to Europe tour; the concert DVD was released in February 2007 as Bringing Back the Balls to Stockholm 2006. The tour ended with a surprise: during the last gig in London, 31 October, the band's former bassist, Kalma, was seen as a guest on stage.
In November 2006, Lordi headlined the MTV Europe Music Awards, and Mr Lordi presented the "Best Rock" award. Around the same time, Bill Aucoin, best known as the original manager of Kiss, became Lordi's manager. In spring 2007, Lordi created the Bringing Back the Balls tour, which toured in Japan and the Baltic countries. In May, the band was involved in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007 held in Helsinki, and opened the competition with their winning song "Hard Rock Hallelujah".
In early summer 2007 in Oulu, the members of Lordi participated in filming of the horror film Dark Floors, which premiered on 8 February 2008. In July 2007, Lordi toured North America with the Ozzfest festival.
After the Ozzfest tour ended in late August, Lordi went on a short break. In September, it was announced that the band would go on a new tour of the U.S. with the band Type O Negative, beginning on 12 October 2007. The tour ended on 31 October 2007. During the tour, the band's tour staff, local security, and a few fans were subjected to violence. The band's tour manager Rikk Scholvinck and the security men were robbed at gunpoint by unknown assailants after a concert in Louisville, KY. Rikk Scholvinck and several fans and security escaped unharmed. However, concert goers Kristin Perrin and Ross Epstein had several items (amongst them were cell phones and car keys) were taken off of them. The would-be robbers fled the scene with a stolen car before the police arrived. Most items were returned to Kristin Perrin and Ross Epstein due to they were found down the road from the venue. As an apology, all involved received Lifetime backstage all access passes and various LORDI memorabilia. At the end of the tour the band returned to Finland to record the theme song for Dark Floors.
Lordi began recording their fourth album in the spring of 2008 and the album was released on 29 October 2008. The album, Deadache, was produced by Nino Laurenne. The release spurred yet another change in the band's costumes. The album was similar in style to its predecessors, melodic hard rock and heavy metal, though with more horror theme. Prior to the completion of the disc, it was revealed that it featured more piano solos than its predecessors, and that the recital "Missing Miss Charlene" featured a child singing. The album's first single was called "Bite It Like a Bulldog", and it was published on 3 September 2008.
Lordi announced before the release of the album that Deadache would be marketed internationally, like its immediate predecessor. "It goes without saying that the song contest of the last album distorted the situation, and this can not be sold in any case, the same number in Europe or, especially in Finland. We know that Finland is likely to disc stamped with the flop, even if it would sell double platinum, it does not sell 100 000 copies", Mr Lordi Evening newspaper said in August 2008.
Shortly after the publication of Deadache Lordi made a tour of the United States in November in conjunction with Lizzy Borden. Lordi performed "Bite It Like A Bulldog" on the NBC show Late Night with Conan O'Brien on 6 November 2008.
Babez for Breakfast, band's 20th anniversary and Otus' death (2010-2012):
Mr Lordi spent a week in Los Angeles with Jeremy Rubolino and former Kiss guitarist Bruce Kulick writing two new tracks, "Cut Off My Head" and "Call Off The Wedding". In March 2010 Mark Slaughter and Bruce Kulick played in a part of their new song. Babez for Breakfast was recorded in Nashville, and produced by legendary Michael Wagener. The first single, called "This is Heavy Metal", from the album was released in August 2010, with the album following in September.
On 4 October 2010 it was announced that drummer Kita had left the band, and on October 16, OX posted on his Twitter account they had found a new drummer. On October 26, 2010 it was announced on Lordi's website that Otus had become their new drummer. Otus joined the band just before Lordi's Europe for Breakfast tour started.
In 2011 Mr Lordi took part in Finnish TV-series "Kuorosota" and because of that reason the band couldn't make a long tour. However, they played on a few metal festivals.
On 15 February 2012 it was announced on their Facebook page that Otus had died. Due to the death of Otus, Lordi cancelled all their concerts scheduled for the beginning of 2012, but they had some summer festival concerts that they couldn't cancel. Lordi got help from Jimmy Hammer, the drummer of Finnish band Ironcross, who played drums for Lordi's 2012 concerts. Jimmy Hammer used a monster disguise to fit in the band, and was only called as "the drummer". His identity was told after.
In September 2012, Scarchives Vol. 1, a compilation CD+DVD, was released to celebrate Lordi's 20th anniversary. The CD contains previously unreleased old Lordi songs, including all the songs from the unreleased album from 1997, Bend Over And Pray The Lord. The DVD contains Lordi's very first concert in Helsinki 2002. The video was edited by Otus.
Keyboardist Awa left the band in fall of 2012. She was seen for the last time during Lordi's 20th anniversary concert, at Simerock in Rovaniemi, Finland on August 11.
To Beast or Not to Beast (2012-2014):
Lordi began recording their sixth studio album on September 1, 2012 with two new members, Mana as the new drummer and Hella as the new keyboardist. This album was recorded at WireWorld Studio in Nashville, and produced and mixed by Michael Wagener, like the previous one. The first single from the new album, "The Riff", was released digitally on February 8, 2013. The studio album To Beast or Not to Beast was recorded on March 2013.
After the release of the single the band took part in Wok WM competition in Germany. The album was released on March 1, 2013. A European tour in support of the new album, "Tour Beast Or Not Tour Beast", started in April, 2013. The tour also included one concert in Japan.
Lordi started the recordings for their seventh studio album on June 2 in Finnish Finnvox studios with the producer Mikko Karmila. On July the band moved to secret place in Lapland to continue the recordings.
On June 28 in Savonlinna, Finland there was opened first official Lordi-exhibition, The Other side of Lordi. There was seen Lordi's former costumes and stage props, including Lordi's album cover artworks (painted by Mr Lordi). Mr Lordi and Amen visited the exhibition during the opening night.
Scare Force One (2014-present):
On July 31, 2014, the group announced that the title of their seventh studio album would be "Scare Force One". The album was recorded in June, and was released on October 31st in Europe, November 3 in North America, and November 26 in Japan with a bonus track. The first single from the album, "Nailed by the Hammer of Frankenstein", was released digitally on September 19.
On November 1 Lordi performed at The Circus in Helsinki to promote the release of the album. Three months long European tour "Tour Force One" started on February 1st 2015 and ended on the early April.
In early 2015, it was announced via Facebook that Hella was pregnant. The band's guitarist, Amen, later confirmed that Hella would be replaced for the summer festivals. In summer 2015, Hella's temporary replacement, Nalle (Finnish for Teddy Bear), was seen for the first time at Rovaniemi.
In September 2015, Mr. Lordi announced that the band would begin recording a new album in December of that year.
Band's music style:
Lordi's music is formed by hard rock and heavy metal music elements. The band's horror-related albums, the monster costumes worn by all band members, and the horror elements of their performances are hallmarks of shock rock. The band was mostly influenced by KISS, but also by Alice Cooper and Twisted Sister.
Although the band is often perceived by the media as a heavy metal band due to their monster costumes, their musical style has more characteristics of the hard rock genre. Over the years, the band's musical style has taken a very varied direction between hard rock and metal, with the pattern seeming as though it changes between the two with every album released. Their debut album, Get Heavy, represented a large part of traditional hard rock music, but by the release of their The Monsterican Dream album in 2004, the band had shifted considerably toward heavier music and horror effects were prominently displayed. However, in their 2006 album The Arockalypse, Lordi shifted back toward hard rock, eschewing horror themes and special effects. Their 2008 studio album, Deadache, included more typical horror elements, leaning once again toward the heavier side of the spectrum. Babez For Breakfast saw the band once again shift back to the traditional hard rock elements, with an even greater exposure to the 1980s than the band's previous albums. To Beast or Not to Beast focuses completely on heavy metal, and was the band's heaviest album. Their latest album, Scare Force One, contains elements of heavy metal while still maintaining the melodic rhythm of hard rock.
Costumes and masks:
Lordi members have stated that their costumes were inspired by Kiss and the horror genre. Mr Lordi himself has said that without Kiss, Lordi probably would not exist. The monster masks and costumes the band use are made of foam latex, with some other materials like canvas, metal and leather. The masks and costumes of Lordi are all and always made by Mr Lordi himself. As a professional make-up artist and sculptor, Mr Lordi has the necessary knowledge to produce those things easily. The band members do each other's makeup. The band updates their outfits and masks for each new album.
It takes the other band members about one hour to put their masks and costumes on, though it takes Mr Lordi two to three hours to put on his. He has also said that the materials for suits costs "a few hundred euros".
The monster costumes are such an integral part of Lordi's publicity image that they refuse to be photographed or even interviewed without them, even if in some cases it leads to their own discomfort. Lordi has done interviews without their masks but the interviews are always filmed from the back so that their faces are not visible. Previously during interviews, Lordi members spoke only English to the cameras, not their native Finnish. In a brief segment on the BBC reporting about the band attending the Eurovision Song Contest 2006, they were shown lounging beside a pool in full sunlight, while wearing their monster costumes.
Pyrotechnics, and horror elements are important parts of Lordi's stage show, designed and mostly created by Mr Lordi. Lordi's pyrotechnics are inspired by Kiss, while the horror elements are largely derived from horror movies with some influence from Alice Cooper. Their stage platform is also equipped with monster actors, zombies, dolls, tricks, and sometimes stage dancers. Mr Lordi is also known to use a two-headed axe.
In 2009 the band made some new special effects with big help from Weta Workshop of New Zealand. The workshop has also designed scenery for movies such as The Lord of the Rings, King Kong and 30 Days of Night.
Unmasked by the media:
Despite the band's strict approach in relation to their costumes, multiple newspapers have published more or less fake photos of the band members without makeup. On 15 March 2006, the Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat published a photograph of Mr Lordi in civilian clothing, with his face partially showing. On 22 May 2006, the Daily Mail published what was believed to be an old picture of the band without their makeup or masks. It was later revealed that the band in the photo was actually Children of Bodom, a different band altogether. This was acknowledged on Children of Bodom's official website. The photograph did feature Enary, Lordi's former keyboard player. However, Enary left Lordi in 2005, well before the picture in the newspaper. On the same day, Bild-Zeitung, a German tabloid, published what they claimed was a photograph of Mr Lordi without his mask in its section "Bild Uncovered" with the headline "He is the Grand Prix Monster: All of Germany discusses the Ugliest Winners of all Time". Many other European tabloids and newspapers have published the same or similar photographs. Lordi is currently a band.
On 24 May 2006, the Finnish tabloid magazine 7 Päivää (Seven Days) published an old picture of Mr Lordi's face on the front page, and two days later another tabloid, Katso! ("Look!"), published unmasked pictures of the other four band members. Both magazines were heavily criticised by their readers for publishing these pictures, which led to swift apologies from both magazines and promises not to publish unmasked pictures of Lordi anymore. On 26 May 2006, video footage was shown on television in Lithuania. It featured four men dressed in black, sitting by the table at the airport in Athens. After a few seconds, Heikki Paasonen (the Eurovision Finnish commentator) in a black Lordi shirt came and stood in front of the camera, covering the view.
Lordi's Square, in the centre of Rovaniemi, Finland, the hometown of the lead singer Mr Lordi, was renamed shortly after the band's victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. It was part of a redevelopment of Rovaniemi city centre. After the Eurovision victory, all the members of the line-up at the time got tributes from their hometowns.
Itella, the Finnish postal service, issued a Lordi postage stamp in May 2007 in recognition of their Eurovision win. Itella had already released Lordi's Christmas single, "It Snows in Hell" in a special Christmas card edition.
A brand of soda, "Lordi Cola", was named after them and was launched in September 2006, featuring labels designed by Mr Lordi, several depicting individual members and one featuring the whole band.
The 2.6.17-rc5 version of the Linux kernel was named after Lordi.
Lordi started in 1992 as Mr Lordi's solo project; it wasn't until 1996 that Lordi became a band in its own right.
Mr Lordi - lead vocals (1992-present), drums (1992-2000), guitar, bass (1992-1996),
Amen - guitar, vocals (1996-present),
OX - bass, vocals (2005-present),
Hella - keyboards, vocals (2012-present),
Mana - drums, vocals (2012-present),
G-Stealer - bass (1996-1999),
Enary - keyboards (1997-2005),
Magnum - bass (1999-2002),
Kita - drums, vocals (2000-2010),
Kalma - bass (2002-2005),
Awa - keyboards (2005-2012),
Otus - drums (2010-2012; died 2012),