Another day, another metalcore album. You’d be forgiven for thinking the genre may be quite saturated with band after band coming along with a fairly similar shtick, and only a small number actually adding really different elements or being particularly unique. There are some bands though who display all the tropes and, even though they stay loyal to the genre without being too distinct, there’s a freshness to their sound. Luckily enough, Ice Nine Kills are one of those bands.
‘The Predator Becomes The Prey’ is the band’s third full-length and it shows. With a couple of albums and some EPs under their belt, the group have gained enough experience to produce a well developed sound and an album which, in terms of production, sounds tremendous. The record starts at break-neck speed with opener, ‘The Power In Belief’, with heavy vocals in tow from the get go and chugging guitars thrown in for good measure; the opening minute and a half is positively booming. It’s refreshing how there’s no slow ‘intro’ to set the scene or create any sense of atmosphere, we’re just thrown into the deep end here and it’s a long way from the shore here on out.
The second track, ‘Let’s Bury The Hatchet… In Your Head’, actually evokes Trivium and the older school metal sensibilities with more pragmatic lead guitar lines rather than the usual single thread stuff of the metalcore we all know. The speed of the track isn’t as much on the forefront as its predecessor, but the pacing still seems frenetic and it works well because Ice Nine Kills do seem like a band who thrive on intensity rather than slower material.
Take ‘Connect The Cuts’ for instance, it just rumbles along at such speed that you can imagine just how fantastic the track would be to see and hear performed live. That’s what’s great about the overall feel of the whole album actually, it feels like a record that captures how enigmatic a band can be on stage. Tracks like ‘Jonathan’ show off how catchy the band sound too. Their choruses are up their with the best in this genre, and marry perfectly with the heavy tones and screeching vocals of the verses.
The only criticisms come in actually what are the positives. The band don’t really add much that we haven’t all heard before, but they what they deliver is solid gold and so we have to be pretty happy that they haven’t fooled around with electronics or doing anything too out there. So, in essence, Ice Nine Kills are practically the perfect metalcore band and ‘The Predator Becomes The Prey’ delivers on all fronts.
Written by Greg Spencer