Review || Ice Nine Kills - "The Silver Scream"

Ice Nine Kills is at their prime and there's no doubt about it. The band is releasing "The Silver Scream" the follow-up to the 2015 album "Every Trick In The Book" on October 5 via Fearless records and, to promote the album, the horrorcore pioneers created a short film of the same title. Through the videos/singles, we follow the story of vocalist Spencer Charnas going into therapy presumably to stop the dreams that haunt him, which are inspired by popular slasher movies. His therapist connects these dreams to gruesome crimes taking place along Ice Nine Kills' tour stops and starts suspecting that Charnas is a serial killer in the making and, driven by jealousy for one of his peers, tries to catch him in the act -still idiotically unaware of the vocalist's shady motives. Pretty catchy plot, right? 

Now that I have your full attention, let's talk about the album. "The Silver Scream", the band's fifth full length, features 13 songs (surprise) which are definitely a step forward from what INK has done so far, including the transition from dark literature to horror films for inspiration. The recipe isn't drastically different than the last album -in fact it follows quite a similar path, yet it is positively improved. INK has written some of the heaviest songs of their career so far, which I'm really looking forward to moshing to at a show. For me, a major point of focus are once more the clean vocals. It is no secret that Charnas is very versatile vocalist who can accurately execute cleans and screams, both in the studio and live, while showcasing restless energy. I quite enjoy how he manipulates his voice in different interpretations; from the dynamic, raspy vocals in "Savages" to the catchy chorus in "Thank God It's Friday" to the emotional cleans in "Love Bites". 
Music-wise, INK has always had a very sharp and precise metalcore sound with everything that entails; soaring riffage, pummeling breakdowns and occasional reaping solos. A small side note for the sake of this discourse; I will consciously refrain from using the word "commercial" but I will however use the term "generic metalcore". Although I usually employ the latter with a negative connotation to describe metalcore acts with unoriginal sound and basically nothing new to offer, in this case it will only point to the aforementioned traits that INK's sound already possesses and which are present but further accentuated in this album. It is very important to be innovative in a genre and the Boston outfit sure knows how to best take advatage of all the weapons in their arsenal. In "Every Trick In The Book", for instance, the band introduced some symphonic elements to enrich their sound, 
and it is those elements that they not only utilized for TSS, but successfully took a step further to build ambience and suspense, like in any good horror movie soundtrack. I'm patricularly intrigued by the creativity displayed on songs like "IT Is The End", where the band composed a carnival-inspired intro and then casually brought in the brass section of ska punk icons Less Than Jake like it's nobody's business -and the result is outstanding! Another song that really caught my attention is "A Grave Mistake", a power ballad inspired by The Crow, which I could very easily see in the tracklisting of an action movie soundtrack. What I particularly appreciate are certain little flavorful details that one might not catch upon the first spin. Such are the usual wordplays in the titles and lyrics, dialogue parts paraphrasing lines from the movies, disguised parts from the movie scores (the Jaws theme on "Rocking The Boat", the lovely string part before the final breakdown of "Thank God It's Friday", the brilliant use of "Mr. Sandman" at the second verse of "Stabbing In The Dark", and of course the children chanting Freddy's theme on "The American Nightmare". There's nothing creepier than kids chanting).
"The Silver Scream" is easy to listen to. The songs flow very nicely and don't flop in any point, keeping the listener's interest until the end while most compositions have very catchy traits making them more appealing to a wider audience. With this album, we see Ice Nine Kills transitioning into a new league of melodic heavy noise where they are essentially unmatched. Another factor to that is the sterile but not cold production, which allows the layering of the heavy music and very melodic vocals to blend and develop into a solid yet very theatrical end product. 

Overall, "The Silver Scream" is Ice Nine Kills' best work yet. It's integral, mature, all the songs are single-material and has cult potential -even the cover artwork is iconic! The band outdid themselves and has deservingly earned a spot high in my yearlist.

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