B-Mac Album Review: Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

Halloween is upon us once again, and you readers have to ask yourselves one question: do you like scary movies? When I was young, not too much because my imagination ran wild. Today, I cannot get enough of them. From Nightmare on Elm Street to Scream, Psycho (original, not remake), Friday the 13th, Halloween, and It, I cannot get enough of them. The Horror genre also meshes well with heavy metal. Artists like Rob Zombie, John 5, Slash, Kirk Hammett of Metallica, and Wednesday 13 thrive on combining horror with metal music. There is another group from Salem, Mass., that celebrates it on their albums. They are known as Ice Nine Kills, the brainchild of frontman Spencer Chamas who puts a horrific spin on all types of heavy metal, primarily metalcore and melodic hardcore. In 2018, they gave us The Silver Scream as it celebrated horror movies. Today, they release the much-anticipated sequel, The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood. 

After enduring the opening credits of the intro “Opening Night…,” the curtains draw back as we tune in to “Welcome to Horrorwood.” For the first minute, Chamas serenades the listener on the piano. When the phone rings, the metalcore starts to terrorize us. Chamas and co-leader Ricky Armellino scream bloody murder as they trade off on unclean vocals. Dan Sugarman spellbinds us with his tantalizing solo. The lyrics are genius as it stabs and jabs at Hollywood and all the backstabbers in the industry. “A Rash Decision” has a hardcore punk feel that mixes nicely with the group’s metalcore style. Chamas and Armellino are mad scientists trying to outdo each other on the mic, while Patrick Galante acts like a swift beast on the drums. On this tune, he crushes and slashes away on the snares and cymbals. This song pays homage to 2002’s comedy horror pic Cabin Fever as the lyrics dive into the world of a flesh-eating virus. “Assault & Batteries” honors everyone’s favorite murderous Good Guy doll, Chuckie of Child’s Play. The lyrics have a twisted comical feel as the chorus features the words “Na-na-na booboo.” It makes me laugh to hear the words penned for this tune. I thought the deathcore beats coming out of Joseph Occhiuti’s bass was an evil touch I relished hearing. “The Shower Scene” is where Ice Nine Kills goes Psycho. They go more melodic than the previous two tracks, even going as far as adding a symphonic feel to the beat. Chamas is charming with his melodic singing, as he is ready to clean up after ‘Mother.’

“Funeral Derangements” is a song for anyone that wants to go postal in the moment. Taking a page out of Stephen King’s Pet Sementary. Loud and abrasive, Ice Nine Kills go for the kill with a deathcore melody. Chamas does a brilliant job incorporating melodic singing and death screams nearly the same time. “Rainy Day” pays tribute to the ultra-popular horror video game franchise of Resident Evil. Hearing this metalcore tune makes me feel like I am in the video game, running from and/or hunting zombies unleashed by Umbrella. The breakdown in the middle is intense as hell, reminding that there are no extra lives. So, run! The horror show of this sequel is halfway over as we approach “Hip To Be Scared.” Papa Roach leader Jacoby Shaddix joins in the horror fun as this zest number compliments American Psycho. Chamas and his crew took elements of new wave that Huey Lewis and the News were famous for and add a nice blend of emo pop and metalcore. This is a perfect choice as the first single. Makes me want to put on a raincoat, grab an axe and gut some greedy Wall Street yuppies. “Take Your Pick” is where Ice Nine Kills and Cannibal Corpse collide. Frontman George Fisher is on a rampage, destroying the lyrics inspired by My Bloody Valentine with his death growls. Sugarman digs into his arsenal and screeches a wretched solo. We now come to “The Box.” Atreyu’s Brandon Saller and Fit For a King’s Ryan Kirby help out on this homage tune to Hellraiser. All three of these talented singers gelled together very well.

“F.L.Y.” gives kudos to the Jeff Goldblum remake The Fly. Ice Nine Kills continues their collaboration streak by including Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail. They bring metalcore and symphonic metal together in unholy unison, just like Seth Brundle merging with the fly in the teleport. The music is explosive without destroying the block, and I feel that is a great approach for a song like this. “Würst Vacation” breaks the collaboration streak as the band tackle this song on their own. They chose to go Hostel on this song, digging deeper into some technical death metal. Chamas and Armellino are monsters on the microphones, gnashing and pounding the shit out of the lyrics. Galante and Occhiuti are sensational together they grind out the blast beats to dust. Remind me never to vacation with Ice Nine Kills. “Ex-Mørtis” is where things get groovy. Inspired by The Evil Dead, the band take the Naturom Demonto, and summon the demons to help them create a wacky metal song. I enjoyed this tune as I feel it has a touch of rockabilly and swing that is heavy enough for headbanging excitement. As we prepare to leave Horrorwood, Ice Nine Kill gives us their curtain call number, “Farewell II Flesh.” Getting in touch with their inner Candyman, they start soft and then kick down the doors. Armellino and Sugarman wreak havoc on the riffs as Chamas prepares to slice into our ears with his death roars. Lord help us as the song is deceitful enough to finish us off.

Randy Meeks said it best in Scream 2, “Sequels suck. By definition alone, they are inferior films.” Well, I am happy to say that little geek was very wrong. The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood is arguably one of the best compilation follow-ups to any album that continues a rock opera/story. Ice Nine Kills dug deeper into the horror genre and brought out some of their best work yet. Between this and the original, they are neck and neck in superiority. Grab the popcorn and put on the headphones because this is screamfest worth hearing. To Ice Nine Kills, I salute you. Horns up!!! Time to float!


Track Listing:

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

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