Witch trial protest songs, zombie-folk, ouija-pop, mullets and Lemmy shorts: five acts to look out for at Eurovision

 Eurovision 2024.
Eurovision 2024.

From the moment that Finnish monster metallers Lordi stomped their way to a wholly unexpected triumph at the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest all bets were off. Once an endless parade of saccharine Celine Dion-wannabes, luxuriously-moustached Swiss Tony-lookalike lotharios, Euro-Dance shriekers and humiliated sub-Butlins nul pointers from Britain, the annual pan-European festival of song is now an anything-goes smorgasbord of pleasingly uninhibited sonic exhibitionism, as evidenced last year by the participation of Australian prog-metallers Voyager and hornball German glitter-metal gimps Lord Of The Lost.

We'll be honest, we're disappointed that San Marino's entry, Madrid-based industrial-punk-metal provocateurs Megara, didn't make tonight's grand final, cruelly eliminated in the contest's second semi-final, but, as always, the evening promises a feast for the senses, and at least one guaranteed WTF? moment, whatever your musical tastes. Will 2024 unearth the next globe-conquering Måneskin? Maybe, maybe not, but here are five acts worthy of your attention at Eurovision 2024.

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Louder line break

Windows95man - No Rules! (Finland)

"I only live by one rule, and the rule is... NO RULES!" If any 2024 contestant embodies the new freedoms of Eurovision, it's Finland's Windows95man, a mulleted, moustachioed man who begins his performance inside a papier-mâché egg before clambering out sans pants, singing "See me slay!" A hymn to individuality, body confidence and unapologetically living one's best life, No Rules! mixes pounding dance rhythms with sporadic guttural metallic growls, with Windows95man's pal doing most of the actual singing, as frantic stage hands try to persuade the main man to put his 'fruit and veg' away. Eventually our hero wriggles into a pair of short short denim shorts that would have made Lemmy blush, begins shooting flames across the stage and delivers a climactic message that the late, great Motorhead leader would have endorsed: "I don’t even care what’s wrong or right, It’s how I live my life." Go you!

Raiven – Veronika (Slovenia)

The now-traditional Evancescence-do-Eurovision entry for 2024 is a tale of a 15th-century Slovenian woman accused of being a witch simply because of her refusal to bow to The Patriarchy! Boooo! Hisssss! Bloody men! This is Sara Briški Cirman's fourth bid for Euro glory, and aided and abetted by an athletic troupe of male and female dancers in minimalist flesh-coloured costumes, the 28-year-old 'musical alchemist' will give it all her tonight, with soaring vocals and lyrics such as "Who are you afraid of, when you deny your desires?" One to ponder while awaiting the votes of the international juries.

5MIINUST x Puuluup - (nendest) narkootikumidest ei tea me (küll) midagi (Estonia)

Please forgive us for not being entirely au fait with the Estonian music scene - we're trying to catch up, honest! - but until we checked the Eurovision website we weren't aware that their spirited entry is, in fact, a collaboration between a "dominating force" in Estonian pop and a couple of fellas who play, er, zombie-folk. We're prepared to bet though that at least one of those involved has played in a metal band at some point during his musical journey to this point. Now, let's have a look at the [translated] lyrics, shall we? "We’re not junkies, we haven’t done anything. The dresses we have on are dumpster-find. TV show COPS and a police raid in the cottage. A visit from men in uniform? That’s totally ok". If Eurovision success eludes Estonia, this is surely an excellent premise for a big-budget Netflix drama? Colour us intrigued.

Baby Lasagna - Rim Tim Tagi Dim (Croatia)

The bookie's favourite. "Baby Lasagna’s mission is to entertain you while drawing attention to the social and spiritual challenges of individuals and society", the website tells us, and who could take issue with that? In recent years, Eurovision has displayed a growing affection for Rammstein-Lite industrial-techno-metal, and we defy anyone to watch the video below and not have respect for the multi-layered madness served up by Croatia's entry, known to Mom and Pop Lasagna as Marko Purišić. A passionately-delivered ode to finding one's own path in the world, Rim Tim Tagi Dim's translated lyrics include wholesome and pure lines such as "Bye mom, bye dad, Meow cat, please meow back", and frankly, if that doesn't touch a nerve, we don't want to know you.

Bambie Thug - Doomsday Blue (Ireland)

Neutrality can get fucked: here at Louder we're all in behind Bambie Thug for Eurovision 2024 glory. Back in May 2022, when we first flagged up the Cork-born alt disruptor as one of the faces in the emergent nu gen scene, we didn't imagine that the self-styled goth gremlin goblin witch and Ouija-pop pioneer would, just two years later, be singing an ode to the queer community for a projected audience of 100 million viewers at Europe's most-celebrated song contest, but here we are. What a time to be alive. That Bambie Thug is also winding up some of Britain's biggest bigots ahead of tonight's televised grand final is a delicious bonus, obviously.

“Honestly, I feel ready,” Bambie told Metal Hammer ahead of their big night. “It’s going to be an honour to represent the alt scene and nonbinary people on such a big stage. It’s about time Eurovision represented the European population more accurately. Not everyone is a pop girlie who can do ballet, y’know?”

Europe, do the right thing: Crown The Witch!