October 1, 2018 Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream (Album Review)
Freddy Krueger. Jason Voorhees. Michael Myers. Leatherface. Eric Draven. Jigsaw. Bruce – no, not The Boss but the shark. Besides being beloved Horror icons, what do they all have in common? Well, that’s easy: they all grace The Silver Scream, the latest thematic masterpiece from Ice Nine Kills, which arrives to big and small screens (and ears) on Friday, October 5, 2018, thanks to Fearless Records.
If you know anything whatsoever about Ice Nine Kills (or simply INK), then you know that they love themselves some Horror – whether it be in the form of literature or film. Known for their cinematically-inspired songs and Horror movie-themed merchandise designs, these Massholes formed in 2002 and have been working hard ever since. Despite a multitude of line-up changes, the band has managed to release four full-length albums throughout the past twelve years, ranging from 2006’s Last Chance to Make Amends to 2015’s literature-themed and aptly-titled Every Trick in the Book. With a respectable dedication to the road, Ice Nine Kills have found themselves sharing stages with nearly every band in the scene, from Motionless In White to A Day To Remember, Thursday to Norma Jean. They are, indeed, veterans of the Vans Warped Tour, and held down court at the Red Dawn stage all summer 2018 long. You checked them out, right?
Fresh from that triumphant, final cross-country Warped Tour, Ice Nine Kills – Vocalist Spencer Charnas, Guitarist/Vocalist Justin “JD” DeBlieck, and Bassist Justin Morrow – are primed to deliver their career-defining masterpiece, The Silver Scream. Producer Drew Fulk (Motionless In White, Bullet For My Valentine) helmed the band’s fifth full-length studio-offering, which provides a lucky 13-track selection of Horror-inspired mayhem – with several of the songs actually having portions of their vocals recorded inside their corresponding famous movie locations. The end result is an album that is a must for both heavy music lovers and Horror fanatics.
The Silver Scream erupts into first single/video “The American Nightmare.” Freddy Krueger gets one pummeling portrayal here, with vicious verses balanced with deliciously infectious, melodic choruses. It’s the perfect start to an album that is as exciting as it is fabulously-authored, and the slashing good times continue with second single/video “Thank God It’s Friday.” Here, INK go to summer camp with that poor little drowning victim, Jason Voorhees, and blend synths into their heavy assault to author one of their best tracks to date. You can’t help but sing-along to the curse of Crystal Lake, folks!
For “Stabbing In the Dark,” the boys pay homage to Michael Myers with racing, magical guitar work and one of Charnas’ best vocal performances to date. Reaching toward entirely new heights, they provide a cinematic masterpiece of sound that feels like John Carpenter tangoing with Danny Elfman, all while donning the devil’s power. Tossing a wrench into the sonic works, the trio switch to a more straightforward Rock sound on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre-inspired “SAVAGES,” which feels worthy of an anthemic sing-along despite its cannibalistic tendencies.
It’s all systems go when sweeping cinematics anchor the game of “The Jig Is Up,” which features Randy Strohmeyer (Finch, The Sounds of Animals Fighting) on guitar. In turn, DeBlieck has some truly stand-out vocals here, as well. Charnas places a lyrical spin on the classic quote “Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever” – which, in turn, nods to INK’s own “Buildings Burn, People Die” – on The Crow-inspired “A Grave Mistake.” Here, the acoustic and piano-driven, power ballad-esque track leans the boys back toward a more straight-up Rock sound, something that would sit well alongside, say, Avenged Sevenfold.
Ice Nine Kills lure out their comedic side on the hysterically fun, Jaws-inspired “Rocking The Boat,” which features former bandmate Jeremy Schwartz. Charnas and Schwartz provide a pitch-perfect duet on the track, which name checks each of the band’s previous albums/EPs in its lyrics, alongside some truly fishy puns. This swims right into the very Metal “Enjoy Your Slay,” an ode to The Shining. Appropriately, the song features special guest vocals from Sam Kubrick, grandson of the film’s famous director, Stanley Kubrick, who is in the band Shields. Similar to “SAVAGES,” “Freak Flag” sees the band going for a more straightforward Rock sound with atmospheric synths weaving throughout. Despite the connection to Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects, the sound here is anthemic Rock with entrancing electronics.
For the Edward Scissorhands nod “The World In My Hands,” Ice Nine Kills bring in Tony Lovato of Mest to provide background vocals on the driving rocker that features one truly killer guitar solo. Despite it being October, the boys jump ahead to Christmas with the hysterical Silent Night, Deadly Night ode “Merry Axe-Mas.” Here, they blend the deadly assault with church bells, and cap it all off with a mall Santa to aid in the gory mayhem. You can practically see Charnas in his ugly Christmas sweater finery, decking the halls with theatrical blood.
They get a little hairy with An American Werewolf in London-inspired ballad “Love Bites,” which features Chelsea Talmadge of Stranger Things in a beautiful duet with Charnas. Ultimately, Charnas does his best psycho, flesh-eating clown on “IT Is The End,” an enticement to Georgie, that sweet, fleshy little child. In this carnival of carnage, Will Salazar of Fenix TX guests alongside JR Wasilewski and Buddy Schaub of Less Than Jake, who lend their horns to the fanfare that takes place in the Ska-Metal name of Stephen King’s classic, IT. We all float down here!
On The Silver Scream, there are blisteringly heavy moments, but there are also nods back to the band’s Pop Punk roots. Throughout the collection, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and pun-tastic humor mix into the band’s zillion influences to create a sound that is never, ever boring. Like a great film – Horror or otherwise – each listen to The Silver Scream will divulge something new. Breaking out the popcorn – with extra butter – CrypticRock give Ice Nine Kill’s The Silver Scream 5 of 5 stars.