More often than not, when people use the term “horror rock,” to define a certain act’s style and sound, thoughts generally tend to turn to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper, Mushroomhead, Cannnibal Corpse and other acts of that ilk. Of course, while they are the more well-known acts within the horror rock realm, they are not the only bands of which audiences should take note. The Boston, MA-based band has made quite the name for itself in the horror/theatrical rock realm since the release of its 2006 debut album Last Chance To Make Amends. Now with the release of its fifth full-length studio recording – and seventh overall studio recording – The Silver Scream, the band has proven itself one of the leaders of the next generation of the horror/theatrical rock genre. That statement is supported in part through an examination of the collective songs and their source material that make up the album’s 49-minute run time. This will be discussed shortly. The songs’ lyrical content is just as important to discuss as the songs and their source material, and will be discussed a little bit later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later. Each item is important in its own right to the whole of The Silver Scream. All things considered, they make The Silver Scream a work that is certain to appeal to metalcore fans and horror fans alike.
Ice Nine Kills’ fifth full-length studio recording The Silver Scream is a positive new offering from the Boston, MA-based horror/theatrical rock quartet. One could honestly say that even despite being the band’s fifth full-length studio recording, it displays the band close to its apex if not already there. One can only hope that as good as this album is, the band will be able to top itself with its next album. Part of what makes the album such a strong outing is its featured songs and their source material. The songs once again delve into the horror realm, this time using the cinematic realm as their inspiration instead of the literary or other realms. The original musical works were inspired by moves reaching all the way back to the 1970s (Jaws) and as recently as the 2000s (Saw). Also included are songs inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), The Shining (1980), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005) among others. Simply put, the band takes listeners through four decades of silver screen horror with its own original musical works inspired by the featured movies. This is important to note because on one side, it could be the starting point to an introduction to horror for a whole new generation of audiences. On the other side, the originality of the songs puts on display the band’s creativity and originality, and in turn showing once again why it is so quickly becoming one of the leaders of the next generation of horror/theatrical rock acts. While the songs and their source material are unquestionably critical to the overall presentation of The Silver Scream, they are collectively just one of the album’s important elements. The lyrical content presented throughout the album is just as important to its presentation as the songs and their source material.
The lyrical presentations within the overall presentation of The Silver Scream is important to note because as previously stated, it shows once again the band’s ingenuity and originality. Case in point is the album’s opener, ‘The American Nightmare, which again is inspired by New Line Cinema’s 1984 slasher flick A Nightmare on Elm Street. While the movie the story at the center of the movie makes the kids the victims, the song crafted by Ice Nine Kills is presented from the vantage point of Freddy Krueger, the janitor who died as a result of the acts of the teens’ parents. Front man Spencer Charnas gives Freddy a voice here, singing, “Fast asleep/It’s all in your head now/Past the street where they cursed my name/But I won’t be forsaken/Craven my revenge from the shallow/Grave, where I went down in flames/The beast has been awakened/When night comes creeping/My cruel hand will rock you to sleep/I’m the American Nightmare/With American dreams/Of counting the bodies while you count sheep/the American Nightmare/Yeah, I’m living the dream/I’m slashing my way through the golden age of the silver scream.” It is an interesting new take with an infectious arrangement that gives the classic movie a whole new life (so to speak). It’s just one of the interesting stories presented here. The lyrical content presented in the album’s second entry, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ is another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.
‘Thank God It’s Friday’ takes the classic line, typically used by people as a stress reliever of sorts at the end of the work week, is instead put on its head here as something very foreboding. That foreboding goes full throttle as the band launches into the song, which finds Charnas providing audiences the overall plot of the original 1980 slasher flick from Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers in just under four-and-a-half minutes. The whole thing starts with the ghostly voices of the counselors that Jason Voorhees killed singing mournfully about Jason’s death before Charnas launches into his verbal assault, telling the counselors’ story and their afterlife revelations. He screams, “We’ve all been laid to rest/Our epitaph reads, “Mommy knows best”/A word of warning from beyond the grave that must be understood/Throats get slit in this neck of the woods.” From there, Charnas continues the counselors’ story, illustrating the story told by Jason’s mother (played in the movie by Betsy Palmer – Friday The 13th, Friday The 13th Part 2, Queen Bee) of what led to his death and her view of the scenario. The band even incorporates Mrs. Voorhees’ own words into the song, as she tells one of the potential victims, “Did you know my son was drowned in this lake? He should have been supervised, but the counselors were off having filthy sex. His name is Jason, and today is his birthday.” From there, the deceased counselors’ continue their mournful revelations. When they are coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, which expertly illustrates the emotion in the words, those words create a story that is so sad, yet just as powerful and fear-inducing as the original slasher flick from which the song was inspired. It is hardly the last song included in the album that serves to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content. The lyrical content at the center of ‘The World in My Hands’ is yet another example of that importance.
‘The World in My Hands’ was inspired by 20th Century Fox’s goth/romance 1990 flick Edward Scissorhands, and while the movie was a goth/romance hybrid, it also featured a story – from Edward (Johnny Depp, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame) of a figure trying to find his place in the world. That journey of self-discovery is well illustrated in this song, as Charnas sings right from the song’s outset, “Lost on my own.In search of something real/How cruel to be exposed/To something I can’t touch, but still feel/How’d I end up here/So uncomfortable/I’m a stranger in this body/The world’s an ugly place/And that’s a fact that fate has brought me/I had to disappear/So will it all just go away/Now the end is drawing near/And God, I wish you would’ve stayed/It cuts deep, ‘cause our lives are still attached/A deadly touch spreads an itch that can’t be scratched/Sometimes I wish it would just fade to black/I won’t go back.” From here, the story goes to Edwards thoughts of Kim (Winona Ryder – Alien: Resurrection, Little Women, Girl, Interrupted), and his thoughts of her versus everyone else in her town. Given, the whole thing is rather emo, but in the bigger picture of things (no pun intended), this is a song to which so many listeners can relate because it is something that does not necessarily have to be from a movie. It (and the story at the center of Edward Scissorhands) is something that can and does happen in the real world. People try to find their place as they get older. They see how the world is as they try to find their place. To that end, this song’s lyrical content is doubly important to the album’s whole, and in turn shows even more the overall importance of the album’s lyrical content. Of course it still is not the last of the content that shows the importance of the album’s lyrical content. ‘Love Bites’ is itself a bittersweet love song inspired by An American Werewolf in London while ‘It Is The End’ (based on Green/Epstein Productions’ 1990 horror flick It) is another work that uses its lyrical content to tell the story of It, in turn introducing the band’s fans to the classic horror flick. ‘A Grave Mistake’ takes inspiration from the groundbreaking 1994 goth/romance movie ‘The Crow’ to create its own Crow story about a vengeful spirit come back to avenge his death. Between these songs, those more directly noted and those not directly addressed, it becomes clear throughout the album that its lyrical content is just as entertaining as the songs, their source material and their musical arrangements. To that end, this album gives audiences quite a bit to appreciate. Of course it is not all that stands out in this album. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
Listening from start to end, audiences will note that the record starts and ends with the same haunting and powerful energy in their own original arrangements. Along the way, the energy rises and falls at all of the right point, ensuring listeners’ maintained engagement. Case in point, the energy continued in ‘thank God It’s Friday’ from ‘The American Nightmare.’ That energy is maintained (and even stepped up to a certain point) through the album’s third entry, ‘Stabbing in the Dark,’ which is inspired by Compass International Pictures’ 1978 slasher classic Halloween thanks to its Slayer- guitar breakdowns and story, which tells Halloween’s story. At some points, those noted breakdowns show a certain Slayer influence, and at others a more distinct djent style presentation. Things barely let up from there until the album’s midway point that is ‘A Grave Mistake.’ This song’s energy is much more reserved than its full-on thrash/metalcore predecessors. The thing here is that while it is more reserved in its energy than those songs, it does still maintain a certain energy. It is just not as heavy and frenetic as those songs. Rather, it is more of a radio-friendly addition to the album, put more simply. Of course, the respite that the band offers here is short-lived, as the band makes its way into the Jaws-inspired ‘Rocking The Boat.’
After the band works its way through ‘Rocking The Boat,’ it lets back off again slightly as it makes its way through the more radio-friendly works ‘Enjoy Your Slay,’ ‘Freak Flag’ and ‘The World in My Hands’ before gradually picking things back up in Merry Axe-Mas (inspired by Tristar Pictures’ 1984 holiday-themed horror flick Silent Night, Deadly Night). Listeners get one last break before the record’s finale in ‘Love Bites’ before the band leaves listeners breathless at the album’s end in ‘It Is The End.’ By the time the song ends, listeners will realize they have been taken on quite the powerful and engaging musical and cinematic ride. Looking back, listeners will agree that the record’s energy rises and falls at all of the right points, ensuring again that maintained engagement. The end result is an album of horror-inspired songs that metalcore fans and horror flick fans alike will appreciate.
Ice Nine Kills has developed quite a name for itself over the course of now 12 years as one of the leaders of the next generation of metalcore and horror/theatrical rock thanks to its past four albums (and three EPs). Now with the release of its latest album The Silver Scream last month, the band has certified its place in those genres even more. That is proven in part through its 13 original songs, inspired by some of the most important horror flicks to ever make their way to the silver screen, as has been discussed here. The lyrical content is just as original as the songs as they tell the stories of the movies and present brand new angles from those stories through that content. The stories and angles create their own interest that, along with the arrangements and vast inspiration for the songs, ensures even more, listeners maintained engagement throughout the album. When the album’s overall sequencing is considered along with the previously noted items, the balance in that sequencing shows plenty of time and thought was put into the album’s arrangement. It paid off, too. Each item is key in its own way to the whole of The Silver Scream. All things considered, they make The Silver Scream a work that is certain to be just as memorable for Ice Nine Kills as the movies from which its songs were inspired. The band is currently on tour with Sleep Signals and Memphis May Fire as suppor for Atreyu on its “In Our Wake” Tour. The schedule for the tour, which just launched Nov. 9, is noted below.
Dates with Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills:
11.10 Albuquerque, NM El Rey Theater
11.12 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theatre
11.13 Houston, TX House of Blues
11.14 Baton Rouge, LA The Varsity Theater
11.16 Fort Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
11.17 Tampa, FL The Ritz
11/18 Destin, FL Club L.A.
11.19 Atlanta, GA Buckhead Theater
11.20 Greensboro, NC The Cone Denim Entertainment Center
11.21 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Sound Stage
11.23 Harrisburg, PA Capitol Room
11.24 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
11.25 Boston, MA Paradise
11.27 New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
11.28 Rochester, NY Anthology
11.30 Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
12.1 Fort Wayne, IN Pierre’s
12.2 Chicago, IL House of Blues
12.4 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
12.5 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
12.7 Seattle, WA El Corazon
12.8 Portland, OR Hawthorne Theatre
12.10 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
12.11 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
12.12 San Diego, CA House of Blues
12.13 Anaheim, CA House of Blues
More information on The Silver Scream is available online now along with all of Ice Nine Kills’ latest news and more at:
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