By: Michael Del Vecchio
Today, Boston-based metal band, Ice Nine Kills, unleash their new album, THE SILVER SCREAM: FINAL CUT. Just in time for Halloween, the release wraps up the promotional campaign for the director’s cut rerelease of 2018’s The Silver Scream. The rerelease is a celebration of all things horror and metal, seeing the band and its frontman Spencer Charnas continue to champion the genre.
For newcomers, the album captures stunning musicality and technicality, and not just for the metal genre. Theatrical melodies and vocals lure you in to brutal rhythms and blistering leads. Multiple hooks on this record creep into your skin and dance macabre - the chorus on A Grave Mistake does this exceptionally well.
For returning ears, the rerelease adds six tracks with chilling appearances from guest musicians. The album includes an infectiously metal interpretation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Ice Nine Kills takes on Jackson’s classic with precision – combining the original’s style, groove and danceability with their own blend of theatrics and metal to make the whole thing scream with life. Sit still at your own risk!
The new song, Your Number’s Up, is based off Wes Craven’s iconic horror film, Scream. The chilling tune features a gruesome, operatic duet between Charnas and guest vocalist, singer and actress Sarah J. Bartholomew (who you might recognize from the Life is Strangevideo game series). The work put into this track proves it’s not a B-side, earning its place among the original tracks from The Silver Scream.
The remaining numbers are acoustic arrangements of songs from 2018’s The Silver Scream. From a haunting live performance of A Grave Mistake on SiriusXM,to an unplugged-but-unboundSavages, Final Cutavoids scares of a rehashed sequel by laying down sensational acoustic-guitar leads and melodies. Stabbings in the Dark nowfeatures the formidable Matt Heafy of Trivium, who had previously played the original song on the website Twitch.tv. When word got out about his cover, Heafy took up the opportunity to sign his infernal finger work over to the project. Thank God it’s Friday re-emerges from murky depths, seeing Ari Lehman - who played Jason in 1980’s Friday the 13th –join Charnas as partners in crime and vocals.
With the promotional campaign for the release, INK cut their teeth on horror cinematography with a series of narrative music videos. The videos follow a storyline that compile into a feature film that is equal parts a love letter, an homage, and a worthy continuation of the horror genre. The story goes:
Nightmares plague Spencer Charnas during an ongoing tour with his band, Ice Nine Kills. During a therapy session, Charnas talks about his nightmares with his psychiatrist, Ian Black. Black starts to experience nightmares that line up with Charnas’ stories, and the line between dreams and reality blurs when the murders start to manifest in real life. The unscrupulous doctor succumbs to morbid curiosity and develops an obsession over uncovering Charnas’ mysterious past and any involvement in the killings. Look for clues as Ice Nine Kills’ songs lift the veil on the story leading up to a chilling conclusion. Are you ready for the truth to spill out?
The order for the music videos goes: The American Nightmare (part one),Thank God It’s Friday (part two),A Grave Mistake (part three),Stabbings in the Dark (part four), andIT is the End (part five). The video for the new Your Number’s Up acts as a prequel to the story, showing ghoulish inspiration from Wes Craven’s Scream.
The music and visuals draw on iconography from classic films, like Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street and IT, but it doesn’t stop there. Ice Nine Kills doesn’t coast on nostalgia – the writing and execution shows in the work. Every line, lyric and melody cuts, rips and crawls through your brain. Horror fans will recognize samples and musical motifs from film classics on certain tracks. My favourite instance was the jarring piano stings when Michael Myers attacks from 1978’s Halloweenplaying over a bloodthirsty breakdown at the end of Stabbings in the Dark.
Ice Nine Kills carries on the tradition of amalgamating the love of horror and heavy music like other bands in the field, notably the icons of horror and punk, The Misfits– and Italian group, Goblin, who wrote and performed the soundtrack for 1977’s surreal horror film, Suspiria. I would love to see the band’s take on recent horror likeIt Follows, Hereditaryand Insidious. IT is the End dips into that, as Stephen King’s It wrapped up itslatest foray into the silver screen this year as well.
Ice Nine Kills is in the middle of their ongoing American tour