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Eurovision: Lord of the Lost don't mind being 'freaks'

Silke Wünsch
May 15, 2023

After all the unsuccessful young talents of recent years, Germany sent a well-established rock band to the Eurovision Song Contest.

 Lord Of The Lost, three men on stage in outlandish costumes, two hold a guitar
Lord of the LostImage: Martin Meissner/AP Photo/picture alliance

"Of course it's tough to finish in last place. We really really didn't expect that," said Lord Of the Lost vocalist Chris Harms after his act had finished in last place at the Eurovision Song Contest final in Liverpool on Sunday (14.5.2023).

A debate began raging on social media about the reasons for the poor performance.
Guildo Horn, who represented Germany in 1998 and finished in seventh place, wrote in a Facebook post that Lord Of The Lost had finished at the bottom "in such a mediocre starting field" was a sign that Germany does not seem to be a favorite in Europe right now.

Regardless of the defeat the goth metal band's album "Blood & Glitter," which was released in December, shot back up to the third position in the German charts over the weekend."

Upon finding out they would represent Germany at the ESC, the band had launched a social media campaign unlike any other by previous German Eurovision acts.

Their posts demonstrated the band's excitement for the upcoming event and their interest in the other participating artists and their music.

In no time at all, they became known beyond the goth and metal scene. Their follower numbers grew dramatically, as did their record sales and streaming numbers.

Lord of the Lost, who celebrate their 15th anniversary as a band next year, have long been a big name in the metal scene.

The Hamburg band performs at all the big festivals, including Wacken in Germany, Masters of Rock in the Czech Republic, Hellfest in France, and Mystic Festival in Poland. They tour with leading metal bands like Iron Maiden, Amon Amarth, and Powerwolf.

Rock music part of the Eurovision scene

Once upon a time, the Eurovision Song Contest started out as a contest for European popular music — but in its 67 years of existence, that has changed in a major way.

Lordi, rockers from Finland known for their monster masks, were still considered highly exotic when they took home the title in 2006. But ever since, the contest has featured at least one hard rock, industrial, or metal band —  that often garners good ratings.

In 2021, the Italian rock band Maneskin won the contest.

Lord Of The Lost performance: person dressed in black sings into microphone, another rocks with a guitar next to him.
Lord of the Lost got their start in 2009Image: Rudi Keuntje/Geisler-Fotopress/picture alliance

Germany felt it was going with the times, as far as the type of music is concerned, and also by sending professional musicians into the race. Lord of the Lost are often compared with Rammstein — which doesn't bother them at all.

"If you mostly listen to pop music and have little to do with harder music, and you think of Germany and see a little makeup, then the comparison is understandable," singer Chris Harms told DW in Liverpool.

"Everyone knows Rammstein, and people often need these categories to be able to classify bands," he added. "We don't sound like Rammstein, we don't look like Rammstein. We are two very, very different bands, but if that helps to classify us, so be it."

'If this is a freak show, then we like being freaks'

Despite the musical diversity and the ever-improving quality of the songs, those who don't know much about the Eurovision Song Contest might describe it as a freak show — a label Lord of the Lost's musicians don't mind embracing.

"If you use the word 'freak show' for an event where artists present their music, where people celebrate that you are allowed to be diverse, open, and respectful — if that is supposed to be a freak show, then we like to be freaks and feel very, very comfortable here," said the Lord of the Lost musicians.

Lord Of The Lost, five people on a stage, on different levels.
With rehearsals for the Eurovision final, the band had a busy schedule ahead of Saturday's contestImage: Martin Meissner/AP Photo/picture alliance

How a show can give hope

Liverpool hosted this year's Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, which won the competition in 2022 with the Kalush Orchestra but could not host the 2023 event amid the ongoing war.

"It's obvious that the issue of the Ukraine war is very much in the show," said Harms, pointing out the symbolism of the colors in the stage design, which prominently features the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag. 

Somewhere in the world, there is always a war, he said, adding that "it is important to give people hope through positive things, by staging a show that many people might enjoy, even in Ukraine — hopefully on a night where no bombs are falling." 

"We know people who have fled Russia," said Harms, adding that while he understands Russia isn't allowed to participate in the contest this year, it is unfortunate that the decision also affects "artists who do not back this war at all."

 Lord Of The Lost performing in a small space with low brick ceilings
Lord of the Lost performed a gig at Liverpool's legendary Cavern ClubImage: Peter Kneffel/dpa/picture alliance

Harms, who at 43 was one of the oldest artists to appear on stage at this year's contest, wore rainbow-colored leggings and a black sweater as he sat on a sofa alongside his band members giving countless interviews ahead of the grand final in Liverpool.

Lord of the Lost had been posing with a rainbow banner rather than the national flag, triggering a backlash by populists from the far-right on social media.  "Whoever is not able to present the country's flag does not deserve to win," read a comment on the Twitter account called "Heimatgefühl."

The Eurovision Song Contest should have no political component at all, said Harms. "If it were up to us, all countries would perform under a neutral flag and it would simply be a music competition without nations because borders are all artificial anyway."

This article was originally written in German and updated after the ESC final. DW's Andreas Brenner conducted the interview with Lord of the Lost.

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