Sound — 10
I picked this up when I was in the local CD store yesterday. I had absolutely no idea that the band had released a new record. Granted only 4 of the tracks were new, I felt compelled to buy it as I have always been a big Children of Bodom fan.
If you haven't already heard, Skeletons in the Closet is a cover album, not dissimilar to Metallica's Garage Inc. Apart from a few exceptions (Lookin' Out My Back Door, She Is Beautiful and Oops! I Did It Again), all of the songs were originally played by some of the greatest metal bands of the 70's and 80's, such as Anthrax, Slayer, King Diamond, and Scorpions. It is not to anyone's surprise that this album is mostly sung with clean vocals, which is a nice variation from Alexi Laiho's demonic screaming. Don't let that turn any of you melodic death metal fans away! Laiho, like always, has made these songs his own and given all of them the "Wild Child" energy that we know from Hate Crew Deathroll and Bloodrunk. In fact, the new release of War Inside My Head, originally recorded by Suicidal Tendencies, is one of the heaviest songs I've ever heard played by Children of Bodom.
As you might expect from the alcoholic quintet, Children of Bodom haven't failed to add their own humor to this record. On the hidden track, Waiting, originally recorded by King Diamond, Alexi Laiho does a tongue-in-cheek imitation of King Diamond's infamous falsetto vocals - one all metal fans can't help but laugh at.
Lyrics — 8
I can't really make any comment about the lyrics, as these are all songs that have been written by other bands, but Alexi's interpretation of the vocals is one that no Bodom fan ever would've expected.
On some of the tracks on this album, it seems almost as if the beast in Alexi Laiho had been given tranquilizers. The heavy metal genius took a little break from his brutal screaming in the band's Britney Spears, Credence Clearwater Revival, Billy Idol and Andrew W.K. covers, whilst somehow still ensuring that they were equally as heavy as anything you could expect from the greatest metal band from Espoo. The only thing that gets me down on these tracks is Laiho's inability to hit notes with accuracy.
However, even on the covers of bands with world renown singers who do not scream, such as Iron Maiden's Aces High, Alice Cooper's Bed of Nails, and W.A.S.P.'s Hellion, Alexi Laiho still manages to break out in the most terrifying screams I have ever heard, giving the already killer songs an extra death metal punch.
But hey, what am I doing talking about the tracks that you've already heard from previous albums? In a brand new recording of Anthrax's Antisocial, Alexi Laiho experiments with thrash metal and hardcore vocals - a nice new touch!
Overall Impression — 10
I've heard all of the original versions of these tracks, and I must say, Children of Bodom kicks some major ass out them.
My favorite tracks on this album have got to be No Commands, War Inside My Head, Just Dropped In, Mass Hypnosis and Antisocial. They sound so 80's, yet have that little modern heavy-as-f**k edge that I'd hope from a 21st century cover.
I'd say the best parts of this album to listen to are the songs that were recorded for jokes, like Waiting and Oops! I Did It Again. I can't help but smile every time they come on after the emotional trauma I suffer from listening to the super heavy War Inside My Head.
However, funnily enough, the best part of the album as a whole isn't the music at all. It's the album artwork! That's right, this is an album you want to buy a physical copy of. Inside the CD cover is a foldout of photos of the band dressed up as members of the bands that they have covered. Alexi Laiho even has the infamous Alice Cooper makeup on!
Seeing as this CD was more for fun than for pure listening enjoyment, I probably wouldn't be too bothered if I lost it or if someone stole it. However, I must say, for the past 2 days that I have had this album, there was not one moment I haven't been listening to it. This is a masterpiece.