The last few years have been one tasty treat after another for Lordi fans. We are hardly a year and a half removed from “Lordiversity”, a monstrously delectable seven-album package of various musical styles, and already at the end of March 2023 we are about to receive another full-length release. Between the upcoming “Screem Writers Guild” and “Lordiversity”, a biography of over 800 pages entitled “Lordiary” was released last September, although this particular treat is only available to Finnish-speaking fans in the absence of foreign translations. Having listened to “Screem Writers Guild” extensively over the past few weeks, I can tell you that the new album is another solid addition to the seemingly neverending Lordi feast.
Contrary to most Lordi releases, “Screem Writers Guild” does not open with a “Scarctic Circle Gathering”-intro. Instead, the first track “Dead Again Jayne” begins with a minute-long keyboard and sound effect bonanza that gives way to Kone’s razor sharp riffing and Hiisi’s groovy bass lines. When it comes time for the chorus to rumble from the speakers, the answer to the question “what comes after Lordiversity” rings loud and clear: a triumphant back to basics. “Dead Again Jayne” is such a disarming smorgasbord of riff, rhythm and melody that the listener is instantly seduced and primed to receive the rest of the album. No wonder the band felt compelled to open “Screem Writers Guild” with this track instead of their standard “SCG”-schtick.
Obviously the sonic honeyflow does not start and stop with “Dead Again Jayne“, for most of the album’s tracks are of such caliber I’d gladly see them chasing away some of the most worn-out “fan-favorites” from the band’s setlist for upcoming tours. Instead of ranking the “Screem Writer’s Guild”-songs in an order of preference, I’ll have an easier time just singling out the ones I like the least. “Inhumanoid” and “Scarecrow” are the two tunes that are yet to fully win me over despite patient and eager listening. Another distinct low point on the album is the awkward and overtly long intro of “Thing in the Cage“, a song that is otherwise excellent in every regard, including the somewhat personal lyrics.
Beside your usual Lordi fare of solidly constructed songs and catchy choruses, “The Bride” and “End Credits” are the album’s most surprising moments. The former for its clean vocals, for which Mr. Lordi himself deemed the world unprepared some years ago, and the latter for its deeply autobiographical lyrics. No doubt working on “Lordiary” served as an inspiration for the lyrics of this song, and it is a delightful sneak peek into the book for non-Finnish speaking fans. if I had to pick a personal favorite on this album, I’d name “Lycantropical Island“, partly because I seem to love it every bit as much now as I did all those weeks ago when listening to “Screem Writers Guild” for the very first time.
Despite numerous spins I can’t claim to have digested “Lordiversity” yet quite completely, and here I am listening and reviewing another Lordi album less than a year and a half later. “Screem Writers Guild” is not only a musical triumph for a band eighteen albums deep into their career, but a moral one as well. As most of you know, Lordi’s career has been one of many membership changes, twists and turns. Latest but certainly not the least is the depature of Amen, the group’s original guitarist who served well over twenty years. His departure was a long time coming, and finally last spring the trigger was pulled and he was replaced by Kone. In addition to a few songwriting credits, his imprint is heard all throughout the album in the form of spry shredding and timely solos. For the first time in a relatively long time, Lordi find themselves with a full lineup of fully motivated musicians, and “Screem Writers Guild” is a wonderfully promising starting point in the band’s new beginning.