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 studio album, features 13 songs 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. The clean vocals are still a major point of focus -besides, it is no secret that Charnas is very capable frontman 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 vocals in "Savages" to the catchy chorus in "Thank God It's Friday" to the breathy lows in "A Grave Mistake" and "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. "The Silver Scream" is very 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 a very catchy element, making them more appealing to a wider audience, essentially transitioning from a very beaten path into a new league of melodic heavy noise ("the generic metalcore"). A major 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. 
What I particularly appreciate are certain little flavorful details that one might not catch upon the first spin. Such are the lovely string part at the end of "Thank God It's Friday" interrupted abruptly with a breakdown, serving also as a jump scare to match the film (and video clip), wordplays in the title and lyrics ("if you need help finding piece of mind don't hesitate to axe" in "Enjoy your Slay"), dialogue parts from the movies playing in the back, even using children chant. There's nothing creepier than kids chanting.

Overall, "The Silver Scream" is Ice Nine Kills' best work yet. It's integral, mature 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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