Review “The Silver Scream” by Ice Nine Kills

Often labelled as “Theatri-core”, Boston Massachusetts Metalcore Heroes Ice Nine Kills have been long known for the Horror themed lyrics and Theatrical nature while fusing together a miriad of Metal stylings to bring their sound together.  While 2015’s “Every Trick In The Book” took its inspiration from classic horror novels, the bands fifth outing taking it from the Silver Screen.

“The American Nightmare” opens things up with it’s A Nightmare on Elm Street inspired lyrics and samples while blending guitar stylings, synths and sees frontman Spencer Charnas demonstrate the full range of his vocal abilities with glorious cleans and crushing gutterals. “Thank God It’s Friday” takes on Friday the 13th with the story of the curse of crystal lake and musically the band showcase not only fantastic musicianship but also the ability to create the epic. It’s something they’ve long been able to do, but this is a whole new level. Orchestral touches add an extra later and the band are in top form.
“Sabbing in the Dark” is inspired by Halloween and builds on the previous with vicious pace changes and playing to the bands strengths musically. At times Spencer Charnas takes on the role of Michael Myers in the lead role of the song while the band deliver in all the supporting roles. Should it be a Grammy or an Oscar for this album? “SAVAGES” sees The Texas Chain Saw Massacre get the Ice Nine Kills treatment and has some punk goes pop leanings but Justin DeBlieck tears thing up with an epic solo while the chanted “Hey, Hey, Hey” will no doubt be a big call and response at the shows.

The Saw inspired “The Jig Is Up” features Randy Strohmeyer and is more than a little bit tongue in cheek lyrically but aren’t the horror films that are a bit cheesy the best ones? Musically the band seemlessly blend post-hardcore into their Metalcore sounds delivering both bounce and bite. “A Grave Mistake” is a retelling of the story from “The Crow” series with an epic chorus in a song built for the live arena. It’s guitar solo is killer while Charnas delivers one of the best of his clean vocal performances. “Rocking the Boat takes on Jaws with a guest appearance from Jeremy Schwartz. The decision to include a name check for the majority of the album titles in the bands back catalogue is an interesting one. Bands have done similar things in the past, notibly Dope featuring the album title “No Regrets” in every song on the album of the same name. Fortunately they do a fine job of it here and it doesn’t fall down. Instead it simply brings a smile. “Enjoy Your Slay” is the oldest of the released songs on the album having appeared during the summer and seeing air time at Vans Warped Tour. Sam Kubrick joins the action as The Shining gets the full treatment. It’s a whirlwind of guitars and a multi layered vocal attack with both guitarist contributing to the full on epicness. Rob Zombie‘s “The Devil’s Rejects is perhaps the surprise inspiration for “Freak Flag”. It’s perhaps less classic and more cult but Ice Nine Kills make it work as a big sing-a-long that features a driven bassline and bright vocals with a clean and crisp drum sound, while lyrically taking some Nu-Metal themes.

“The World in My Hands” sees Tony Lovato lend a hand for Edward Scissorhands as Charnas takes on the role seemlessly, lyrically penning the thoughts and feelings of Johnny Depp’s character in fine form. “Merry Axe-mas” is the surprise Christmas anthem dedication to Silent Night, Deadly Night. The band step up the pace with an overall heavier sound on this cut and false ending midway only to bring it back for some spot on metal insanity that includes surprise Deathcore growl. “Love Bites” features Chelsea Talmadge for a spin through An American Werewolf in London which previously inspired Wednesday 13. The song is perhaps the most obvious single as one which carries more stage presence than some West End material. The male Vs female vocals are a nice touch as the band stray from Metal in contrast to the previous track to bring something more pop-punk influenced.
Closer “IT Is the End” features Peter “JR” Wasilewski, Buddy Schaub & Will Salazar for the bands take on Stephen King’s IT. It’s possibly the heaviest song on the album and closes it out in some style with Clown Unicycle horns, crunchy driven guitars and some of the best drum work on the album from Patrick Galante. The vocal range is again phenomenal and adds to the epic, theatrical vibe that the album as a whole captures so well.

Taking the the approach they took with precessor “Every Trick In The Book” and taking everything to the next level, Ice Nine Kills deliver a highly entertaining album of thrills and spills that is difficult to put down at any point in its epic journey. Every song is ram packed with ideas and moments of magic so there is something new on every listen that doesn’t necessarily appear the first few times around. It’s a majestic piece of work to say the least and to be applauded for that. Yes, the band leap between genres and sub-genres over and over within each song and some of it is distinctly less “Metal” than others but it is necessary to deliver the tales they are retelling and to do them justice. There is never a dull moment [8/10]

Track listing (film inspiration)

1. “The American Nightmare” (A Nightmare on Elm Street)
2. “Thank God It’s Friday” (Friday the 13th)
3. “Stabbing in the Dark” (Halloween)
4. “SAVAGES” (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)
5. “The Jig Is Up (ft. Randy Strohmeyer)” (Saw)
6. “A Grave Mistake” (The Crow)
7. “Rocking the Boat (ft. Jeremy Schwartz)” (Jaws)
8. “Enjoy Your Slay (ft. Sam Kubrick)” (The Shining)
9. “Freak Flag” (The Devil’s Rejects)
10. “The World in My Hands (ft. Tony Lovato)” (Edward Scissorhands)
11. “Merry Axe-mas” (Silent Night, Deadly Night)
12. “Love Bites (ft. Chelsea Talmadge)” (An American Werewolf in London)
13. “IT Is the End (ft. Peter “JR” Wasilewski, Buddy Schaub & Will Salazar)” (IT)

“The Silver Scream” by Ice Nine Kills is out now via Fearless Records.

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