On the heels of the underwhelming "Blooddrunk", Finland's CHILDREN OF BODOM deliver the typical covers-album career stopgap, but being CHILDREN OF BODOM, and unable to do anything that isn't ludicrously over the top, they've cranked out seventeen jams that range from the expected to the interesting to the patently ridiculous. All are run through the BODOM-grinder and come out the other side bedecked in keyboards, shredding solos and Alexi Laiho's increasingly-goofy vocals. It's a lot of fun in small doses, if a little much to consume in one sitting.The band sounds surprisingly convincing on the faster, thrashier numbers they run through (a version of SLAYER chestnut "Silent Scream" that'll probably have Kerry King publicly harrumphing for months to come, a ripping take on SEPULTURA's "Mass Hypnosis"). They manage to polish 80's SCORPIONS turd "Don't Stop At the Top" to the point where it could slot in next to one of the more melodic tunes on the first couple BODOM records. The W.A.S.P. and RAMONES covers, previously released, are enjoyable romps through expected territory, while the band turns moldy 60's oldie "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" into their own twisted, melodic metal beast (and yes, the song was originally done by KENNY ROGERS AND THE FIRST EDITION, marking the first and hopefully only Kenny Rogers reference in the history of BLABBERMOUTH.NET). A few of the tunes here, like "Anti-Social" and "Aces High", are competently done but the cover adds nothing special to the original. The only flat-out dog of the bunch, though, is the absolutely obnoxious cover of CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL's "Lookin' Out My Back Door" that kicks off the record. What the hell is that all about? Even "Talk Dirty To Me" is more tolerable, and their version of "Oops... I Did It Again" is at least funny. One out of seventeen ain't bad, I guess, but still... yikes. In short, "Skeletons In the Closet" is that mix of virtuosity, silliness, dazzling catchiness and thrashing melodic abandon that made us all dig CHILDREN OF BODOM in the first place. Depending on your feelings about their recent material, this covers album could either give you hope that the band will be energized and knock the next record out of the park, or it could be where you get off the fan bus and become that guy who yells "play the old shit!" from the back of the club when they play. If nothing else, "Skeletons" proves that they still have the chops and the right attitude, so that's gotta give us some hope for the future. Essential? No, but a lotta fun.
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