Release Date: October 15, 2021 Genre: Metalcore, Post-Hardcore Label: Fearless Records The Boston, Massachusetts-based and self-described slashercore band, Ice Nine Kills, have returned with their newest horror movie-themed offering, The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood. Once again released through Fearless Records. The band's sixth album is the follow-up to both of their 2020 released live releases, Undead & Unplugged: Live From The Overlook Hotel EP and I Heard They Kill Live!! And it doubles as the sequel to the band's The Silver Scream (2018). The Silver Scream spawned a tie-in graphic novel, Inked In Blood, and last fall alongside, the release of I Heard They Kill Live!!, the band released their half-horror movie, half-live concert The Silver Stream. That featured the band's five members and horror legend Bill Moseley. The horror movie aspect of the live stream event was helmed by vocalist Spencer Charnas and director Myles Erfurth of Stained Glass Eye Entertainment. Ice Nine Kills tapped frequent collaborator Drew Fulk (As I Lay Dying, A Day To Remember) to produce, mix, and master The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood. Ice Nine Kills has written horror movies and literary influenced songs now for two albums. Every Trick in the Book (2015) spawned the start of something dastardly evil and successful for the band and took the band on an even further trajectory upward. Every Trick in the Book seen the band write some songs for horror books like Stephen King's Carrie, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist, and Bram Stoker's Dracula, to name a few. It lit something larger for the band and led INK to write a full-fledged horror movie-themed album, The Silver Scream. It produced tracks inspired by cult classic horror movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Saw, The Crow, The Shining, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, to name a handful of examples. Now with the album's sequel The Silver Scream 2, Ice Nine Kills' sixth album has more horror-inspired tracks from more hit movies like Cabin Fever, Child's Play, Psycho, Pet Sematary, Resident Evil, American Psycho, My Bloody Valentine, Hellraiser, The Fly, Hostel, The Evil Dead, and Candyman. Ice Nine Kills albums at this point of their career are more than "what will the band thinks of next" -in regards to both their sound and lyrical subject matter. Now, while the band continues to raise the stakes with each release, the band's album has become an experience. Between it all, there's always the fan speculation of what book, horror movie, or even something else will be for each of the album's tracks. With The Silver Scream 2, Ice Nine Kills took all my expectations I had for the album, stabbed them with a knife, tossed them out the window, set them on fire, then ran them over in classic horror fashion. The band takes things to new heights with some of the heaviest songs they've ever released and some of their most experiment tracks to date. The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood blew me away, and I can't stop listening to it since the initial hit of the play button. The album opens with a short intro track, "Opening Night...," but immediately following it is the album's title track, "Welcome To Horrorwood." The symphonic opening number is the album's single song that isn't inspired directly by any particularly known horror movie and is more so an ode to the genre. It's something a bit fresh but still right in the same realm that the band has been in since 2015. The second track is "A Rash Decision." The song takes the band to deliver a heavy, fast-paced musical number inspired by Cabin Fever. "Assault & Batteries" follows with a track about the Child's Play film series. The song displays a much heavier Ice Nine Kills than usual. Charnas' intense guttural growls paired with the insane guitar work on the track make for something different from the band. The voice-over work by Charnas also adds a nice layer to the entirety of the song. On "The Shower Scene" -what will be a sure-fire single in the future- the band tackles the classic Alfred Hitchcock horror film, Psycho. The track is a lot more anthemic than the previous three tracks and immensely catchy, and it's a great palate cleanser for what is yet to come.
The Pet Sematary-inspired track "Funeral Derangements" takes Ice Nine Kills into new territory. This track is heavy. Half-metalcore, half-death metal, INK take what you expect from them and up the ante to the highest regard they can. "Funeral Derangements" is chock full of ferocious vocal growls, blistering guitar riffs and tons of chugging from guitarists Ricky Armellino and Dan Sugarman. Along with heart-stopping drum beats, but the track's chorus is as catchy as they come. "Rainy Day" tackles the horror movie and video game series Resident Evil. "Rainy Day" is yet another anthemic single but remains heavy at moments. However, one of the most fun and biggest stand-out tracks, "Hip To Be Scared," follows. "Hip To Be Scared" is insatiable from its beginning to its end. The track is the perfect love letter to the movie American Psycho. The song features Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix, and his talents are utilized in both the song and the music video remarkably well. In the middle of the track is where all the fun is. Ice Nine Kills reenacts a famous scene from the movie -included in the song and video- and it leads to a perfect breakdown and ending to the track. The album continues to get heavier and heavier as it goes on. This is where "Take Your Pick" comes in. The song takes INK back to their newfound death metal elements for what is the only full-fledged death metal track on The Silver Scream 2. "Take Your Pick" features no other than Cannibal Corpse vocalist Corpsegrinder and lyrically is subject to pulling from another classic horror movie My Bloody Valentine. Between Charnas' and Corpsegrinder's duelling growls, the track is enormous sounding, and the use of haunting female vocals adds depth on top of this racing, heavy track. The blistering, wrist snapping blast beats from drummer Patrick Galante is just as impressive -if that's even a strong enough word to describe them. Jacoby Shaddix and Corpsegrinder aren't the only features on The Silver Scream 2. In addition to the two vocalists, Atreyu's Brandon Saller and Fit For A King's Ryan Kirby are on the Hellraiser-inspired piece "The Box." While Senses Fail's Buddy Nielsen is on "F.L.Y." about the David Cronenberg classic body horror film The Fly. "The Box" is another fun anthemic number, while Ice Nine Kills whisks it back a bit with little symphonic pieces placed throughout "F.L.Y." The album-closing "Farewell II Flesh" is where the band takes up the Candyman franchise and where they seem to have their most fun as songwriters on the new album. "Farewell II Flesh" begins with a drawn-out intro that's slow and focusing on the piano before the track insanely erupts. "Farewell II Flesh" is equally catchy and infectious as many of the previous songs but has little inklings of the heavy side of the band reside well on the track.
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