Sound — 8
Ice Nine Kills are a post-hardcore band from Boston, Massachusetts. Spencer Charnas and Jeremy Schwartz formed the group in 2006 when they were in high school. They originally made music that included pop punk, emo, post-hardcore and ska into their own style of sound, but have since shifted into more of an experimental metalcore hybrid. Charnas is currently the only remaining founding member. It's the first album featuring Justin Morrow as bass guitarist, after the departure of Steve Koch. I hadn't really checked this guys out until hearing about them being featured on the new "Punk Goes 90's vol. 2" album. Ironically they're a local band for me, so it's great to see that they're giving New England a good name. I've heard about these guys on and off from a friend of two, but now that I've actually checked them out, I was quite impressed. Think of Framing Hanley meets My Heart To Fear, mainly vocally. Guitars basically give out a tasty number of riffs and breakdowns that suit the uncleans very well, while the drumming follows, and into the clean chorus. Uncleans are very remarkable. Cleans are pretty good, but not quite out in the ball park.
Lyrics — 8
Some of the tracks on this album really emphasize anger real well. In "Let's Bury The Hatchet... In Your Head," the uncleans vocals unleash power not only in the lyrics, but in anger. Some lines make feel as though he's speaking to you.
"You're as faithful as a false prophet
So here's a prophecy for you -
Yeah you'll remember me when your struggling to breathe."
The next track, has uncleans that are even more in your face, and sweet guitar rhythms.
"We are all just children of vanity
We make f--king up into life long careers
We've fallen prey to our parent's fears
We see their faces when we look into broken mirrors."
The 5th track, "The Product of Hate" was a stand-alone single, released in 2013. The song was released in order to help because of the Boston Marathon bombing.
"Set their minds free
Unstitch their eyes please
Lift the blindfold today
Because so close is so far away."
The next track, "Connect the Dots," is quite possibly the catchiest song off the album. The song starts with unclean vocals, djent-like guitar riffs/breakdowns, and booming drums that would make up for a great song for a mosh pit. "What I Never Learned in Study Hall" features guest vocals from Tyler Carter of Issues. This is the first track so far to not feature uncleans. This track certainly has the best cleans out of every other track on the album, but I don't think Tyler really did much. The next track, "So Long Steven Long" features quite possibly the catchiest chorus off the entire album, and lyrics that I also enjoy a lot.
"We are defenders of the broken life we've chosen
And there's no one else to blame
We are defenders of loss, the only ones we cross
Dig down and find the strength today."
The last thirty seconds is down and dirty with breakdowns and uncleans. The album ends with "My Life in Two," and quite honestly on a very good note.
"My head will bow in shame
When my heart stops leading the way
Who am I to play the martyr?
I'm the one to blame."
Overall Impression — 8
This album proves that Ice Nine Kills are very talented musicians, and write songs with very meaningful messages. The album marks the band's first entrance onto the Billboard top 200 debuting at #153 overall, #3 on the heatseekers charts, #13 on the hard rock charts. The album also held the #1 spot on the iTunes metal charts for the entire first week of it's release. My favorite songs are "Connect the Dots," "So Long Steven Long," and "My Life in Two." The other band that this band seems alike, regarding clean vocals, would have to be There For Tomorrow. The only thing I didn't like were that some choruses on this album seemed a bit repetitive. Other than that, these guys are a solid band. I almost forgot that they're on the Warped Tour bill this summer, so I'm sure they're a must see for me now. This is a very catchy, and heavy album, and would suit many different types of listeners. Go check them out, if you already haven't!