[Note – this review was drafted 2 weeks ago, but embargoed to keep as many surprises as possible for faithful fans! So don’t read it if you want to wait till you’ve listened to guess what films the songs are based on – Mosh]
Sequels, eh? Pff. Never as good as the original. Well, except maybe Aliens. And Airplane 2 wasn’t that bad. I guess Terminator 2 was different enough not to be worse. OK, so sequels – not always as good as the original.
It’s not often an album gets a sequel, but it’s not every band that’s like Ice Nine Kills. Given the nature of 2018’s The Silver Scream, it makes sense to throw a “2” on the end and churn out more of the same, but different. A further lucky thirteen horror films get the INK treatment in this release (well, twelve plus an “influenced by” number), and part of the fun is always digging through the lyrics to work out which ones before the band release their usual tongue-in-cheek music videos. As such, and in the great tradition of movie reviews since the coming of the Internet… spoilers ahead!
We’ve had a couple of videos already with American Psycho, Child’s Play and a cheeky nod to the Umbrella Corporation making their appearance. I have my fingers crossed for some of the tracks on here to get the visual treatment because I want to see what the band can come up with relating to the source material. To throw a few around, we have Hellraiser (“The Box”), Candyman (“Farewell II Flesh”), and Cabin Fever (A Rash Decision).
The album’s title track chucks Ice Nine Kills’ tongue firmly into the horror franchise’s cheek, referencing the nature of sequels themselves, before ploughing into “A Rash Decision”. This is typical INK fare, comprising ridiculously heavy sections, harsh vocals, melodies, frenetic beats… This album really is more of the same and a continuation of what was so good about The Silver Scream. It’s the band’s ability to reference their influences and have a laugh that makes their music so good, and for these reasons two songs stick out more than any of the others.
“Wurst Vacation” is one of the tracks where I can’t work out what film it’s referencing. I thought Hostel given the title, but that was set in Slovakia whereas this song has a very Germanic feel to it. Very. Ice Nine Kills channel their inner Rammstein with the intro, producing a song unlike any they’ve done before. A similar twist is thrown in for Evil Dead-inspired “Ex-Mørtis”, being suitably “groovy” with a swing beat throughout. Trumpets, and a beat you can dance to? Check and check. The only thing missing is Bruce Campbell’s golden tones for the movie quotes.
Talking of other people’s voices, there are four guested songs. “Hip To Be Scared” with Papa Roach’s Coby Dix is already out there, but we also have “F.L.Y.” featuring Buddy Nielsen of Senses Fail, “The Box” (Brandon Saller and Ryan Kirby – Atreyu and Fit For A King respectively)… and in probably their heaviest song to date (at least vocally), George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher absolutely rips on “Take Your Pick”. It’s the perfect song for him, inspired by (I think!) My Bloody Valentine, with lyrics about various violent acts.
So back to the first paragraph… is it as good as “part one”? Yes, just. I had to think about it a little, but yes. Where Silver Scream had me at the first listen, Horrorwood took a few plays to appreciate as much, but in terms of lasting appeal it has bags (of blood). It won’t tear your soul apart, but it’ll certainly poke it in uncomfortable ways.
Header image by F Scott Schafer
Welcome To Horrorwood is out on October 15th