Review Summary: A cut above the rest.
The first time I heard Ice Nine Kills was in 2014 when “The Greatest Story Ever Told” came up on my Spotify shuffle. I was hooked to say the least. Shortly after, the group released “Me, Myself, and Hyde” through Outerloop Records. This is the single that INK fans have to thank for The Silver Scream, as it is the first time the band created a track based on a pre-existing work. Diehard INK fans predicted the well-deserved success that would shortly follow with "Every Trick In The Book," "The Silver Scream," and "The Silver Scream 2: Welcome To Horrorwood."
Unlike The Silver Scream, Horrorwood has an opening track, “Opening Night.” The opener references the story of Spencer as a serial killer which is based off the narrative in the album’s music videos. Next up we have title track “Welcome to Horrorwood,” the only song on the album not based off a horror movie. The track starts off slow and then explodes with one of the best hooks on the album. “A Rash Decision” is based off "Cabin Fever" and is the track that most closely resembles early-2010s INK. “Assault & Batteries” was the second single and takes its inspiration from "Child’s Play." I for one love the song (the “Hey Andy” intro caught me off guard) but some fans might find the cheekiness in the song to be overwhelming. I need not mention which film “The Shower Scene” is based off. Spencer shows off his vocal range on the chorus of this track. “Funeral Derangements” was the final pre-released track and is my personal favorite from the album. It is the second-heaviest song from Horrorwood. “Rainy Day” was the third single, taking its inspiration from the "Resident Evil" series. This track was probably my least favorite out of the singles, as it presents a more basic metalcore sound.
The second half of the album starts off with the first glimpse of the album fans received back in July, “Hip To Be Scared.” The track features Jacoby Shaddix from Papa Roach. This track is much more enjoyable if you have seen the source material, "American Psycho." "Hip" is one of the top tracks on the record. The next track, “Take Your Pick” featuring Corpsegrinder takes its inspiration from "My Bloody Valentine." I will give you one hint: it is the heaviest track INK have ever put to tape. “The Box” follows and it features Brandon Saller of Atreyu and Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King. This is probably the least memorable song for me personally, but it is still a solid track. The features both sound good. “F.L.Y.” with Buddy Nielsen based on "The Fly" has some good production value with the symphonic singing in the background of the track. “Wurst Vacation” sounds like it could have a home on Every Trick In The Book. “Ex-Mørtis” is grandiose in its delivery but not one of the most memorable on the album. “Farewell II Flesh” is the closer based off Candyman. It is not as bonkers as "IT Is The End" was at the end of TSS, so some fans may be a bit let down. Nevertheless, I think it is a great closer.
When it comes to flaws, there are not many. I will admit, I do miss some of what Justin DeBlieck brought to the table on INK’s past records. Ricky Armellino does a good job of filling in his shoes, though. Dan Sugarman deserves a shoutout as well for the killer guitar work on every track. Another thing I would have liked to hear is a ballad. You either love 'em or you hate 'em, but I thoroughly enjoyed "Love Bites" and "Tess-Timony" off INK’s last two records. I would probably say the original Silver Scream tops this one, however it has had over three years to sit with me at this point.
This is sure to go down as one of the best albums of the year for me personally. Unleash the evidence, or Spencer will kill you too!
“Hip To Be Scared”
“Welcome To Horrorwood”
“Assault & Batteries”
“Take Your Pick”
“Farewell II Flesh”