Ice Nine Kills- The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood
Released: October 15, 2021
Spencer Charnas // vocals
Ricky Armellino // guitar
Dan Sugarman // guitar
Joe Occhiuti // bass
Patrick Galante // drums
Releasing a sequel inevitably receives two reactions from fans; one of excitement or one of trepidation. Excitement, because you are getting more of what you love or trepidation, because to quote the tagline to Scream 2, “Sequels suck”. For Ice Nine Kills it makes a great deal of sense that their next album would be The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, The Silver Scream was their most commercially, critically and financially successful album and most fans, including bossman Browny, were clamouring for more. This reviewer, however, was more apprehensive, as I wanted to see Ice Nine Kills tackle another topic, like they did with Every Trick In The Book and then segued to The Silver Scream with ‘Enjoy Your Slay’. So, does this sequel suck? Is my caution unfounded?
‘Opening Night’ is an introduction to the album with a voice over explaining that these recordings are what is left of a series of some brutal slayings akin to that of the tape recorded introduction of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. ‘Welcome To Horrorwood’ opens with Charnas’ voice and a piano singing “ink fills the page, a classic killer completes the cast…” before launching into a loud, guttural scream, with Galante furiously pounding the drums. The song itself is meta, about movie making and how film violence can translate into the real life. It establishes the concept of the album, and essentially the INK universe. Although it is an original song, the Scream franchise, is an obvious influence with the ideas of art imitating real life and vice versa.
‘A Rash Decision’ based on the Cabin Fever films, cranks up the tempo, and mixes screams, melodies, metalcore riffs, and a dash of horns, and electronica in a small dose, before a choir sings the bridge. The song incorporates lots of layers and contrasting sounds to create its effect, similar to ‘Assault and Batteries’ which follows. The album’s second single, based on the Chucky series, uses childlike singing to add to the terror, despite its references to the original film, lyrics also refer to Bride of Chucky where Charnas sings “stitched back together it seems, by the evil bride of his dreams”, which further cements the idea, that these individual songs are about horror films, their sequels and franchises, as opposed to an individual horror movie.
Starting with the ring of a bell, ‘The Shower Scene’ references Psycho straight away. The song takes a step back from the frenetic chaos of the previous songs, and is a straight forward melodic metalcore song, with its catchy chorus and backing vocals, and it utilises the infamous knife sound effects in the bridge. ‘Funeral Derangements’ comes out hard and fast, and uses the eerie Pet Sematary musical score to underscore the song, which includes a truck horn, a child’s laugh, and lyrics that reference the guilt of the father, Louis. Following is third single ‘Rainy Day’ (Resident Evil franchise), which on first listen is vastly different from Ice Nine Kills’ previous work, with its gamer sound effects and Industrial metal tones. The song works better as a tribute to the video games rather than the films, however the song does very much have the early 2000’s sound of action film soundtracks (which were super popular back in the day). ‘Hip To Be Scared’ based on American Psycho, was a good introduction to The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood, as it doesn’t deviate too far from the OG The Silver Scream, in terms of sound and execution (pun intended.) The sample of Huey Lewis’ original with Charnas’ commentary of The Silver Scream, is a nice satirical nod to the film too.
‘Take Your Pick’ with Cannibal Corpse‘s Corpsegrinder, based on My Bloody Valentine, is about as brutal as everyone was expecting, and by far the heaviest song on the album, it is more death metal in sound than metalcore. Even the purest of deathcore connoisseurs will appreciate this mind blowing collaboration which smacks you square in the face… like a pick axe! Starting with the line “this is hell”, ‘The Box’, based on Hellraiser, brings back the melodies and harmonies, with its emotive chorus, yet still includes plenty of growls and guttural screams made possible by the inclusion of Brandon Saller (Atreyu) and Ryan Kirby (Fit For A King), both adding an extra level of metalcore goodness with their vocal contributions. ‘F.L.Y’ focuses on the melodies, and allows Charnas’ voice alongside Buddy Neilsen (Senses Fail) to soar, before the guitars kick in. Despite all the speculations, the song is based on The Fly, which makes the English teacher in me angry that they have used an acronym for no seemingly apparent reason than to throw us off the scent. Going from an understated, plaintive song to the growling German of “eins, zwei, drei” at the start of ‘Wurst Vacation’, the song is littered with basic German phrases and a German accent, which represents Johan, the German, who tortures Paxton in the torture porn classic film Hostel. The addition of German, a string section layered under the music and a chorus with electronica, adds another dimension to the song, giving it a Neue Deutsch Harte vibe.
Starting with a throwback to vaudeville shows, ‘Ex-Mortis’, based on the Evil Dead franchise, is Welcome To Horrorwood’s ‘IT is the End’. This kooky offering features a horn section, piano and the inclusion of Ash’s iconic catch phrase “groovy” just adds to the bedlam. It perfectly embodies the crazy, tongue-in-cheek madness of Evil Dead 2, and Army of Darkness. The end fades out, to segue to… ‘Farewell II Flesh’, based on the Candyman series, brings the album to an end. Starting with the buzzing of bees, a piano is played creating a soothing yet eerie mood, telling the story of how the Candyman became who he is. The song adds layers, creating a dramatic, atmosphere before the other instruments kick in, with some classic metalcore riffs. The track ends with a string section and some rasping vocals, before the bees return bringing the album (and experience) to an end.
So, does this sequel suck? No. Not at all. However, to reference the film class scene in Scream 2, it’s not The Godfather Part II (universally acknowledged as a superior film to the original), but more of a Terminator 2 or Aliens, in that both are great for different reasons, and will entirely depend on whether you like more understated, subtle texts or more fast, “action-packed” and in your face texts. Whatever your preference, The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood is still a hell of an experience.
Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood tracklisting:
- Opening Night
- Welcome To Horrorwood
- A Rash Decision
- Assault and Batteries
- The Shower Scene
- Funeral Derangements
- Rainy Day
- Hip To Be Scared (feat. Jacoby Shaddix)
- Take Your Pick (feat. Corpsegrinder)
- The Box (feat. Brendon Saller of Atreyu and Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King)
- F.L.Y (fet. Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail)
- Wurst Vacation
- Farewell II Flesh
Revisit our interview with frontman Spencer Charnas chatting all things The Silver Scream 2 here