Album Review: Ice Nine Kills – I Heard They KILL Live!!

Ice Nine Kills are a band I discovered fairly late in the day, after the release of 2018’s superb The Silver Scream but thankfully prior to them touring the UK in support of it. The Glasgow show was insane and they show all the signs of being a band that, once we can get our lives back again, could be playing much bigger stages with much bigger productions. I Heard They KILL Live!! takes us through their headline show at their hometown of Worcester (not the real one, the knock-off in Massachusetts), nineteen tracks culled from the recent release as well as a handful from earlier albums.

As such, the track listing is going to be of high quality so as with most live albums it’s really about the production. Does it capture the live “feel”? Well, it tries. There’s a bit of crowd noise in there, but not much, and some of the between-song cheering is faded out, presumably for reasons of timing. There was a lot more audience interaction when I saw them than there is on here, too, and it’s an unfortunate truth that the set pieces featuring people in costumes just wouldn’t work well on an album!

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Musically, it’s nailed in place. The band are as tight as a hanged man’s throat-hole, with not a note out of place. The choice of songs couldn’t really be much better and it really shows off their ability as musicians and entertainers. I’d just have liked it to sound a bit more rough around the edges with the audience’s cries filtering through more audibly. Even the “scream for me, Massachusetts!” during “Love Bites” sounds like the roar was added in post from an effects reel. The audience singing a few seconds later, though, is perfection. “Tess-Timony” manages to sound great as well, benefitting from being one of the quieter songs the band have recorded.

However, this is a personal niggle and just something that I look for in a live album. As a collection of songs and a showcase of a great band, it’s a worthwhile listen and I’ll definitely be playing it through quite a few times. Roll on the chance to see them blow a venue apart for real again, though!

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I Heard They KILL Live!! is out on October 30th

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