Germany's Lord Of The Lost lived up to their name at Eurovision 2023, limping home in last place. And that’s fine. The five-piece thrust their sparkling gimp-sticks into millions of homes, driving curious ears toward eight records packed with gothic industrial, symphonia and lovelorn litanies. Never to waste an opportunity, they’ve since lapped stadiums supporting Iron Maiden, now consolidating their gains with... a covers album. Are they flushing all that blood and glitter down the shitter? Yes and no. This isn’t Imperial Triumphant pretending to know Metallica’s Motorbreath and just doing jazzy death metal instead. Rather, Lord Of The Lost linger in their comfort zone – these are all massive tunes, easily transposed to their spoopy, keyboard-laden rock template.
Billy Idol’s Shock To The System does as the title suggests, if only because it’s not White Wedding or Rebel Yell. Frontman Chris Harms delivers the curled-lip charm of 90s Idol, filtered through his boss-level baritone; it’s sleaze, sex, soße. Niklas Kahl gets up to all sorts of rototomfoolery behind the kit, dispensing comically 80s percussion with abandon. It’s this cheekiness, this unbridled glee, that transforms Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know into more than a soundtrack for break-ups and Christmas adverts. We’re not talking Spider God levels of defiling Whitney Houston with black metal, but it undoubtedly winks and nudges around those milieus of piss-taking. That, or the band have zero self-awareness.
Scrutinising the album’s functionality in this fashion rends it wonky, though. Bronski Beat’s gay anthem Smalltown Boy already got the sad goth treatment from Paradise Lost two decades ago; when LOTL’s Chris parps a piercing, Devin Townsend-ish scream, it just reminds you that Devin literally performed on Paradise Lost’s version. Similar problems erect themselves on Turbo Lover, Judas Priest’s synth-drenched, hard-rocking ode to grabbing rigid shafts and cranking them. Chris leans into that vibrato chorus, but Rob Halford he ain’t; the force of Priest’s original doesn’t penetrate here.
And that’s the rub: they’ve happened upon tracks initially sung by superstars. LOTL’s twinkly industrial is polished, streamlined yet spacious, demanding their frontman to lead. When the stuff he’s orating was first recorded by Halford, Midge Ure, and The King Of Pop/Questionable Chimp Owner Michael Jackson, he’s banking for a spanking. This uncanny hollowness rings across newer tracks, too. LOTL seem pretty stoppable during Sia’s Unstoppable, less a Porsche with no brakes and more a Fiat with shagged suspension. Same goes for Bishop Briggs’ River, its chorus falling prey to the trap sprung on Devildriver’s cover of Sail by AWOLNATION – the drop’s there to showcase a powerhouse performance that never arrives.
The most intriguing rendition is Cutting Crew’s (I Just) Died In Your Arms, its curiosities twofold. First, it ends like a melodeath tune. Second, Chris duets with Anica Russo – a German singer-songwriter whose Eurovision 2023 hopes were dashed by, um, this band. Weapons Of Mass Seduction isn’t essential, though if you love Lord Of The Lost’s shtick, fill your kinky boots, tuck into the 20-plus covers – you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, it’s just a marginally horny karaoke booth.