The closeted skeletons referred to on Wednesday 13’s latest album are more likely to come wielding spandex pants and Aqua-Net than butcher knives and chainsaws. Although this isn’t the first out of the closet experience for these skeletons, as Wednesday has publicly admitted to his fandom of Tuff, Shotgun Messiah, and Spread Eagle, it’s certainly the first time these influences have been so audible. Skeletons is more or less what White Zombie would’ve sounded like, if only they’d started their career opening for Stryper at Gazzari’s.
After former bands Maniac Spider Trash, Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13, and Murderdolls failed to gain any substantial commercial success in the U.S. and several solo albums of beyond-catchy ditties about walking with zombies and Christmastime burials made little noise, it seemed as though everyone in the business of music had given up on the sleazy Horrorpunk of Wednesday 13. Everyone, that is, except for Hot Topic; the bastion of black eyeliner-ed consumerism that provides the pink-haired, chain-wallet masses with System of a Down T-shirts, The Nightmare Before Christmas lunchboxes, and Halo 3 action figures. Hot Topic is the sole distributor of Wednesday’s newest album.
For those who enjoy indulging in a little classical arena rock from time to time, it may be worth braving the trek into the haze of heart-a-grams and faux corsets for the purchase of Skeletons. The only reason “Not Another Teenage Anthem” isn’t just that is because it will never be heard by enough teens; “My Demise,” could be the lead-in track to Monster Ballads Vol. 3, if only it weren’t about animal mutilation; and “From Here To The Hearse” sounds like a B-side from Alice Cooper’s Trash era. While most of Skeletons proves to be a blood-and-gutsy take on Hair Metal, the album’s highlights (“Gimmie Gimmie Bloodshed” and “No Rabbit in the Hat”) are those that were clearly inspired by drummer Racci Shay’s time in Dope.
As long as Butch Walker doesn’t put out an embarrassingly enjoyable collection of ballads about suicidal teens, Skeletons will surely be the guilty pleasure of the year. Sadly, with such poor distribution, most will never hear these tales of grave robbery, the edibility of human flesh, and “skull soup for grandpa.”
With any kind of radio play, Wednesday 13’s latest album could surely have the girls of Rock of Love dripping in zombie makeup, but most likely it will just inspire a few Mall Goths to put on fringe leather jackets.— Izzy Cihak