Concept albums have been a facet of music since at least the 1950s. It’s said that one of the first was Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads. These types of albums are a great way to get across a message, where each song connects to that theme. Some of the most popular include The Wall by Pink Floyd, American Idiot by Green Day, and Watertown by Frank Sinatra (among many, many others.) While some concept albums follow a storyline, some of my favorites keep to a theme or thrust you into another world. While there are many I could name, The Silver Scream by Ice Nine Kills is one definitely worth checking out. Let’s break down what makes it so intriguing.
The Silver Scream was released in 2018 by the metalcore band Ice Nine Kills. What makes this concept album so interesting is that each song on the album is written based on a popular horror movie. From Nightmare on Elm Street to Halloween to The Shining, this album hits all the stops on movies featuring killers or dark stories. Anyone who is a fan of horror will appreciate elements of this album. Not to mention it’s the perfect album to jam around Halloween.
To describe it in greater detail, it’s best to list each song and what movie it references. You can even watch companion music videos for some of them. Watch with caution if you are not a fan of horror or gore. The music videos act more as short films that all piece together into one story, adding even more to the concept album style it’s going for. There a six music videos follow the story of a man haunted by the horrors of his past as his therapist tries to deduce if the dreams, that he has are in fact dreams or actually happening. To watch the full story, go in the following order: “Merry Axe-mas,” “American Nightmare,” “Thank God It’s Friday,” “A Grave Mistake,” “Stabbing in the Dark,” “IT Is the End.”
Not only is each song written in reference to popular movies, but Ice Nine Kills also layers creative elements like riffs from the movies or impressions of iconic moments from the movies weaved within the songs. For example, in their song, “Thank God It’s Friday” (a reference to the Friday the 13th franchise), they insert voiceovers of Jason’s mother including one where she says, “His name was Jason and today is his birthday” before launching into a breakdown and chorus. In their song “Rocking the Boat” the band nearly replicates the Jaws theme song but morphing it into a lead-up to another one of their harmonious and heavy breakdowns. One of my personal favorites is “IT Is The End” because includes a carnival music opening, heavy riffs, and use of horns and brass instruments to set the mood.
It’s so much fun to catch all the references as you listen. Some of my favorites include, “Follow me and I'll show you the truth/Face down in the fountain of youth/Just like Georgie, IT's all out of hand.” It’s the small details that make it so interesting for me. Saying “it’s all out of hand” is a reference to what happens to Georgie in IT. Then in the song “Stabbing in the Dark” the lyrics, “Behind this mask of hate/I don the devil's power/These are the devil's eyes” blew my mind the first time. The Devil’s Eyes is a reference to the fictional book in 2007’s version of Halloween written by the doctor whose 20-year treatment of Michael Myers failed. It’s little details like this that make the songs so interesting, even if you aren’t into metalcore.
This is album definitely worth checking out, even if you aren’t into horror. The efforts and creativity of this band and this album is worthy of recognition and appreciation from more people. Halloween and horror fans will likely love this album. Combining metalcore and horror together was a brilliant idea that I’m so glad exists. Still not convinced? Listen for yourself! And check out their bonus track “Your Number’s Up” based on the Scream franchise.
Written by: Kristen Petronio