Reuters is reporting that Finnish band LORDI who have been chosen to represent their country in the Eurovision Song Contest this year have been forced to deny that they worship the devil after Christian groups in Finland and in Greece, which hosts the televised contest in May, denounced the band as Satanists and the Greek Consumers' Union expressed a desire to get them banned.

LORDI's devil worship denials are not helped by their outfits horns, skeleton and zombie masks, creeping flesh, mummy bandages, studs and huge platform-soles or lyrics like "Wings on my back and horns on my head/My fangs are sharp and my eyes are red".

But band leader Lordi, with red eyes, horns on his forehead and cheeks, silver armour and a cape lined with reindeer fur, told Reuters it was "insulting being judged by the way you look. Our lyrics mention the devil, but that's just rock'n'roll.

"If we had to choose between the devil and God, we'd choose God. We don't want to burn in hell," he said in an interview on a visit to Stockholm on Thursday, in a record label's office strewn with costumes, make-up and hamburgers.

"Some of our fans on the Internet do have nicknames like Lordi666, but after we brought out 'The Devil is a Loser' four years ago lots of Christians adopted us," said singer and lyricist Lordi, whose real name is Tomi Putaansuu.

Putaansuu is a 32-year-old horror movie buff who has been dressing up as a monster since he was seven.

He knows the band will be out of place in a contest that is historically the domain of clean-cut pop from the likes of ABBA, Britain's CLIFF RICHARD and Ireland's JOHNNY LOGAN.

"We are like meat-eaters in a vegetarian cafe," said Lordi, sitting beside guitarist Amen who was sweating in a rubber mummy outfit and had to send out for a straw to drink mineral water through the fixed grimace on his mask.

Lordi says his country's Eurovision Song Contest panel, desperate for a result, "begged" the band to compete for the Finnish selection, where it won 42 percent of television votes.