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Just in time for the Halloween season, Ice Nine Kills are back, and bringing blood-curdling screams and hauntingly heavy riffs as they slash their way through the golden age of the silver screen in their newest studio effort, The Silver Scream.
With the new record dropping today (October 5), the Boston-born metalcore quartet brings with them a whole new batch of songs that pay tribute to some of the most nightmare-inducing films in history. It’s sure to send shivers down your spine, and keep the volume knob up to 10.
Concept albums are nothing new to the local scene mainstays, as 2015’s Every Trick In The Book was inspired by various works of classic literature, like Carrie, The Exorcist and Animal Farm. But the idea for the horror film-inspired concept record was, in a way, 25 years in the making, as frontman Spencer Charnas developed an obsession with the genre thanks to trips to the grocery store with his mother as a kid.
“When there were still video stores inside grocery stores, I would make my way there whenever I would make the trip with my mom,” Charnas tells Vanyaland. “For whatever reason, I was drawn to the horror aisle. Something about the art on the covers spoke to me, and I really wanted to know all about these movies like Halloween, and Friday The 13th, so I sort of begged my parents to let me watch them, and they were cool enough to let me. I think they were hoping I’d grow out of it, but here I am, 25 years later, talking about a horror film-influenced album, so I guess that never happened.”
To say they immersed themselves in the films they pay homage to on the record would be an understatement, as Charnas and Co. — guitarist Justin DeBlieck, bassist Justin Morrow, and drummer Conor Sullivan — made sure to go the extra mile to allow themselves to be as deeply influenced by some of the films as they possibly could, while still injecting the earth-shattering screams and melodic instrumentals that their loyal fan base has sunk their teeth into over the course of the band’s rising success in the metal scene.
Aside from guest vocal spots including, but not limited to, Stranger Things’ Chelsea Talmadge, former bandmate Jeremy Schwartz, and Sam Kubrick, former frontman of the now-disbanded UK hardcore group Shields and grandson of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, the guys set up shop in makeshift studio spaces erected in a few locales of the films they turned into songs. “It was really cool to go to those spots and do vocals, because it definitely helped give me the feeling of the film as I was recording,” says Charnas. “I found it really helpful on an inspirational level.”
To further cement their currently accurate description of being cinephiles, Charnas and crew gave their three singles from the record (“The American Nightmare,” “Thank God It’s Friday,” and “A Grave Mistake”) a silver screen treatment of their own, with extended “feature films” in which Charnas plays the role of a psychiatry patient haunted by nightmares made up of the songs and respective film’s most iconic imagery — a new type of territory that posed a new challenge for the frontman.
“I’m not an actor, so I needed to figure out how to play the role in these videos, and that was a bit difficult,” said Charnas. “We didn’t want to cheapen the material in the videos, and possibly upset the diehard fans of those films, because we are diehard fans of those films, and we just wanted to respect the material, and do those films justice.”
The setting for the release party is fitting for what Ice Nine Kills has achieved with The Silver Scream, and that, more than anything, has Charnas pretty juiced to play these tracks live: “We’re really excited to get out there and share this album, and it’s contents, in a live environment. I’m also just excited to play new material, and see how the response is, first-hand. If the the reaction to the singles are any indication of how the rest of the album is received, I think it’s going to be a big hit amongst our fans.”
ICE NINE KILLS :: Thursday, October 11 at Rock And Shock at the Worcester Palladium, 261 Main St. in Worcester, MA :: 4 p.m., $75 to $85, event info ::: Friday, October 12 at CinemaSalem, 1 E India Square Mall in Salem, MA :: 5:30 p.m., sold out, event info :: Featured image by Eric Levin