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With their operatic heavy metal and monster-movie stage persona, Lordi seemed a most unlikely choice to represent their native Finland in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. So just imagine how many jaws hit the floor when the group not only claimed top honors, but also earned the most points in the venerable event's history. Vocalist Tomi Petteri Putaansuu, aka Mr. Lordi, assembled Lordi in 1996 in Stockholm, Sweden, following a concert headlined by his favorite band, Kiss. After recruiting guitarist Jussi Sydänmaa (known as Amen), bassist Magnum (real name unknown), former Children of Bodom keyboardist Erna Siikavirta (Enary), and drummer Sampsa Astala (Kita), he 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 the band 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 Babez For Breakfast. It was during this year that drummer Kita left the band. His replacement was Otus but he sadly died, according to an announcement that the band had made on their Facebook page. In September 2012, they released a compilation CD/DVD entitled Scarachives Vol.1 and in 2012 they began recording their sixth album To Beast Or Not To Beast.
~ Jason Ankeny
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