Boston’s Ice Nine Kills continue their infatuation with macabre on fifth full-length, ‘The Silver Scream’. As the title may suggest, the post-hardcore group have immersed themselves into cinematic tales of horror as inspiration, and with it guide us through worlds of dark fantasy.
Sonically the record is dense, brimming with audio snippets, textured synths, and double kick drum patterns. The collage of sound and its hellish narrative is all held together by frontman Spencer Charnas, whose vocal delivery exudes low growls and sweet harmonies in equal measure.
The initial four tracks create a false sense of security for the audience, combining stabbing guitars with splatters of unclean vocals building towards the traditional clean chorus that is expected of the sub-genre.
The tracks themselves are strong in their own right; each of them filled with percussive riffs and synthesized string flourishes that stay with you. That being said, it still doesn’t prepare you for the rest of the album that’s yet to come.
Starting the transition with the catchy ‘Savages’, using clean vocals and shuffling drums, the group create a hook filled re-telling of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The track itself builds the guitars subtlety before Justin DeBlieck breaks the tension with a short yet memorable solo.
From the latter half of the record onwards, Ice Nine Kills get increasingly more inventive. Tracks such as ‘Rocking The Boat’ aren’t content with just using Jaws as a reference. Instead the guitars use the iconic E to F motif of the score coupled with sneaking strings to induce nausea during the breakdown.
As the tracks progress, adding more layers and melodies, the structures become more fragmented. The group take on more dynamics, ranging from ambient passages to cycling riffs. The non-linear approach works cohesively thanks to the strong use of melody.
This aspect is highlighted on ‘Love Bites’, a track that is stripped bare compared to the previous compositions. Primarily piano driven, the track evolves into a duet with Chelsea Talmage. The guitars weave in and out before driving the last chorus into a coda that will stick in your head for days to come.
Album closer ‘IT Is The End’ displays near enough everything that the record has to offer in one final cut. Chugging guitars pierce swirling trumpet leads underneath growls and fry screams, evolving towards a hardcore inspired chorus. Eventually the track explodes towards a vocally overlapping coda of “We all float down here.”
By drawing a wide range of influences and sonically experimenting, ‘The Silver Scream’ immerses us in a world of blood curdling stories which have many screaming behind the covers in fright, and instead have us screaming along and feeling like we’re a part of them.