The stories behind Ice Nine Kills' new album The Silver Scream

Ice Nine Kills

Ice Nine Kills love a bit of horror, just look at their promo shot at the top of the page for proof; guys don't tend to hang out in the woods with bloody weapons if they're all about having a teddy bear's picnic. 

The band's new album The Silver Scream (see what they did there?) is all about their love of the horror genre, in fact, each song is inspired by a different scary movie. From the opening track paying tribute to Freddy Krueger to the record's Pennywise-loving climax, this is a record full of things that go bump in the night. 

Here, frontman Spencer Charnas guides us through the influences behind each song. Be afraid...

The American Nightmare

"The album kicks off with a sinister tribute to the 1984 Wes Craven classic, A Nightmare On Elm Street. The entire premise of a killer hunting you in your dreams is so genius because no matter what you do, no-one can escape eventually falling asleep, so your death at the hand (or glove rather) of Mr. Krueger is inevitable. Charles Bernstein’s almost sci-fi-like score sets the perfect tone for this film, and we wanted to pay homage to that in our own INK fashion."

Thank God It's Friday

"Welcome to Camp Crystal Lake! Home of the most twisted mother/son murder duo this side of Hell. On this track we bring the world of Jason Voorhees, his mother and those poor doomed counsellors into the theatrical metal stylings of Ice Nine Kills. Complete with nods to Harry Manfredini’s iconic score, and a guest spot from our gifted pianist friend Joe Occhiuti, it's our own take on important character dialogue from the movie and a campfire singalong that turns from rapidly from a Kumbaya vibe to a machete-slicing breakdown. This song should remind all you sex-crazed teens out there to stay the hell out of Jason’s woods!"

Stabbing In The Dark

"There have been a million slasher imitators that were released in the wake of John Carpenter’s 1978 holy grail of horror film, Halloween, but almost none have ever come close to matching the sheer terror of Michael Myers and that expressionless white mask. This is our love letter to the night he came home.

"Lyrically we take you through Michael’s journey of escaping from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium all the way through his famous rampage in Haddonfield, Illinois. The movie, and hopefully our ode to it, will confirm that no one in fact can kill the boogeyman."

Savages

"They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this is exactly the mentality we had when penning our tribute to Tobe Hooper’s seminal and brutal 1974 cult classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The song never lets up the entire way through, just like the deranged cannibal family that the song is based on. If the the film and the song could teach you one thing, it’s don’t fuck with the locals… especially in Texas."

The Jig Is Up

In 2004, director James Waan brought the horror community a new kind of bloodbath with the release of the incredibly successful, Saw. This time around the killer, Jigsaw, is a moral crusader on a violent quest to teach his victims to appreciate what they have in their lives instead of taking it for granted. 

"Lyrically, The Jig Is Up takes you from the moment when Jigsaw’s two latest victims press play on the tape recorder they find in their new, captive surroundings. Musically we tried to create an aura as brutal as the film and as beautiful as the chilling score composed by Charlie Clouser. The song features Randy Strohmeyer on guitar from one of our biggest early influences – Finch!"

A Grave Mistake

"In 1994 the world was given its darkest anti-hero film of all time, Alex Proyas’ visually invincible film, The Crow. Featuring a brilliant performance by the late Brandon Lee – he was killed in a tragic on-set accident – the film tells the story of a man avenging the death of himself and his wife, who were murdered the night before their wedding night. The movie has resonated deeply with audiences across the world since it’s release over two decades ago. This is our tribute to not only this cinematic work of art, but also to a gifted actor who was taken away from us long before his time."

Rocking The Boat

"The first ever official summer blockbuster was the 1975 Steven Spielberg directed mega hit, Jaws. In this track we tried to capture the impending doom of not only the story but also John Williams' incredible score, which is one of the most iconic movie scores of all time. Lyrically we managed to namedrop every single Ice Nine Kills release into the story. The song also features a guest vocal performance from INK co founder Jeremy Schwartz who co-wrote the track with us. This track is meant to serve as a real treat for the old school Ice Nine Kills fans."

Enjoy Your Slay

"Check in and relax at the last resort you’ll ever stay in, The Overlook Hotel. This track pays tribute to Stanley Kubrick’s crowning achievement, the 1980 classic, The Shining. Based on a brilliant piece of literature written by the master of horror, Stephen King, the film and song tell the story of Jack Torrance, a newly hired hotel caretaker and his descent into madness at a haunted hotel in the winter off-season. Will he succeed in killing his wife and son? Listen and find out! The song is written from the perspective of the hotel and features a haunting guest vocal appearance from none other than director Stanley Kubrick’s grandson, Samuel Kubrick!"

Freak Flag

"This song is our tribute to what I believe to be Rob Zombie’s Citizen Kane of horror films, The Devil's Rejects. We tried to capture the insanity and underlying underdog spirit of the film by channeling the power and raw intensity of Zombie’s direction. The message is clear: be careful who you fuck with. Rob Zombie embodies everything that metal and horror stand for, so how could we not pay tribute to that!"

The World In My Hands

"The brilliant Tim Burton film, Edward Scissorhands, is where the inspiration for this track came from. We wanted to capture the stunning visual element of the film while also paying tribute to the monumental score crafted by esteemed composer, Danny Elfman. The song is from the perspective of Edward, the kindest most loving soul in the world who has been cursed with deadly weapons for hands. The track features one of my favourite pop-punk singers out there, Tony Lovato of Mest."

Merry Axe-mas

"In 1984, a small budget Santa slasher film, with an unbelievably clever marketing campaign and premise, was unleashed on the public to a heavy backlash from PTA groups across the country. Banned almost immediately upon it’s release, Silent Night, Deadly Night's infamous reputation only fuelled the hype and granted this film the eventual cult status it so deserved. Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr. and penned by Michael Hickey, we wanted to make this song as sleazy, funny and violent as the movie that it was inspired by. Fa-la-la-la-la… Feliz Navi-dead!"

Ice Nine Kills The Silver Scream album cover

Love Bites

"Two of my favourite genres are horror and comedy, and few movies manage to combine the two as well as the 1981 John Landis laugh riot bloodbath, An American Werewolf In London. The film to me is timeless so I wanted to write a song that was void of a timestamp. Musically I drew from Weezer and The Pixies, and lyrically we tried to mirror the tongue-in-cheek nature of the screenplay. The song features a beautiful guest vocal performance from our very talented friend and actor, Chelsea Talmadge, who can be seen on both seasons Stranger Things."

It Is The End

"The Silver Scream closes with a song that pays tribute to Pennywise the dancing clown from one of the scariest books and films of all time, IT. Originally a novel by Stephen King, two very different films have been adapted for the screen. Jovial and friendly at first, Pennywise can switch to the embodiment of evil at the drop of a hat, so I wanted to capture that as best as I could in my vocal performance. Perhaps my favourite song on the album, it features incredible guest performances from two of my favourite bands of all time – Less Than Jake and Fenix TX. Will Salazar of FT, who co-wrote the chorus with me, does guest vocals, and JR and Buddy from LTJ provide the sinister circus-like horn section that enhances the twisted carnival of carnage that is Pennywise."

The Silver Scream is out now and available to buy from Amazon.

In the new issue of Metal Hammer, we investigate Ice Nine Kills' fascinating, horror-filled story. In stores now and available to order online.

Rob Zombie on the cover of Metal Hammer