For Fans Of
This writer found out about Ice Nine Kills way back in 2008 on a website called PureVolume, when he heard their song, ‘Last Words’. Now, that was seven years ago and the band has since come a long way from their emo/post-hardcore days into a theatrical, metalcore band with a few surprises in stock for the uninitiated. Sure, INK are far from being original, as there are breakdowns, chugs, and dual vocals galore, but it’s done better than most other scene and “Hot Topic” bands out there. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to say they’ve been one of the most underrated acts in the metalcore/post-hardcore scene for a long time now. That hard work has been paying off very slowly in the overseas touring circuits and with their fourth album, ‘Every Trick In The Book‘, this could really elevate the band to that next level.
Each song off the record is based off a classical piece of literature (as well as some nods to the movies inspired by those books) and that all fits in with the band’s macabre lyrical themes. For instance, the opening song ‘Nature Of The Beast’ is based off George Orwell’s Animal Farm (which may surprise people with its introduction), ‘Me, Myself & Hyde’ relates to The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and ‘Communion of the Cursed’ (one of the best songs off the record by miles) is based off The Exorcist. It’s definitely a very cool theme and it makes each song attain its own identity, and while some go deeper than others, this makes this concept album that much more memorable. Not perfect, but certainly more memorable.
The band’s long-running word play shows up again in a lot of the lyrics and with ‘Bloodbath and Beyond’, which, despite a somewhat silly name, has one of the best choruses the band has ever written. Another standout track is ‘The Plot Sickens’, which has a ripper of a guitar solo in it to boot. However, it’s not quite smooth sailing the whole way through. ‘The People In The Attic‘ (a reference of sorts to an older song by the name of ‘The People Under The Stairs‘, which is again a book) seems a little confusing thematically speaking as the title references a horror novel, yet the lyrics and the spoken dialogue towards the end envisions SS soldiers ransacking a house harbouring Jews in Nazi Germany, echoing Anne Frank’s diary. It’s still a good song, just the themes seem a bit over the place is all.
Furthermore, the overly melodic and poppy ‘Star-crossed Enemies’ is cheesy as all hell, and while it balances out the album for the midway point, it could have also done without it. The piano-ballad of ‘Tess-Timony‘, again, while being very different and showing off a much, much lighter side to the band, does break the flow as INK are really at their peak when they are executing those deadly riffs and breakdowns, and revelling in their dark lyrical ravings, kind of like a modern day Atreyu (someone make an Atreyu and Ice Nine Kills tour, please?).
Hopefully ‘Every Trick In The Book’ will push Ice Nine Kills that little bit further into the eyes and ears of the mainstream, as they’ve been slogging it out for years now and that hard work is bound to pay off. Sure, this band won’t revolutionise the heavy music world, and the record itself isn’t quite a perfect album, but their brand of post-hardcore/metalcore is done much better than most of their peers right now and INK could very well be on the cusp of some very big success. Here’s hoping, boys.
1. Nature Of The Beast
2. Communion of the Cursed
3. Bloodbath and Beyond
4. The Plot Sickens
5. Star-Crossed Enemies
6. Me, Myself & Hyde
8. The People in the Attic
10. Hell in the Hallways