Metalcore monsters Ice Nine Kills have retracted their claws a little for their stripped down EP, ‘Undead And Unplugged: Live From The Overlook Hotel’, giving their horror themed cuts a more gentle touch.
As the title suggests, the EP was was recorded live in 2019, hosted at the infamous Stanley Hotel in Colorado, the set of Stanley Kubrick‘s adaptation of the Stephen King masterpiece, The Shining.
Comprised of five songs taken from their highly revered fifth studio album, ‘The Silver Scream’, only a small handful of fans were present for the intimate set, infusing the EP with an atmosphere that is immersive whilst also allowing the band’s performance room to breathe.
Appropriately, ‘Undead And Unplugged…’ kicks off with the call to arms ‘Savages’. Vocalist Spencer Charnas warns that “This is our battle call, mess with the horns and you get the Devil”, igniting a powerful sense of community that extends to us, even if we’re not sat there in the room with them.
The group are very on brand with inter-song quips about murdering fans with chainsaws, making light of their spooky setting. Their delicate harmonies haunt the ensuing tracks like the spirits that supposedly stalk the halls of The Stanley Hotel.
Although it’s difficult to choose a highlight, the title has to be awarded to the tender rendition of the ballad-esque ‘Love Bites’, a track inspired by the 1981 classic An American Werewolf In London. Hearts are tugged as the crowd is encouraged to recite the leading lyric, “So howl at the moon, oh how can it be? The softer the skin, the sharper the teeth”, adding a note of raw emotion to an otherwise grisly subject.
‘Enjoy Your Slay’, whose lyrics are laden with references to King‘s novel set in the very building where we’re hearing the band play, provides a fitting finale. As the band power through the last part of the song with the crowd’s assistance, you truly get the feeling that every word of the final verse comes directly from the dark recesses of their souls.
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