Tag Archives: ice nine kills

RECORD REVIEW: Vesta Collide Make Big Metalcore Debut With ‘New Obsession’

Vesta Collide‘s new album New Obsession drops January 20th and they absolutely slay it with a purely great metalcore album. The debut record is a great blend of unclean and clean vocals with just the right amount of synth to back it up. What really sets this album apart from other metalcore albums is the haunting, ominous backing track that can be found in songs like “Death Spell” and “I Can’t Sleep.”

New Obsession opens up strong with “Death Spell,” setting the tone for what the rest of the album has to offer. A personal favorite from this album would have to be “Hallucination.” It really stood out to me as having everything a great metalcore song should have and is my top pick for this album. If Vesta Collide keep putting out such great albums like this I could see them being a huge up-and-comer in the scene, touring with the likes of Miss May IWe Came As Romans and Ice Nine Kills!

For those of you who have never heard of this band before but really enjoy great metalcore I suggest you pick up this album when it drops. It does not disappoint! And check them out on there headlining tour right now and on the west coast leg of Alesana‘s Ten Frail Years Of Vanity And Wax Tour!

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Three and Half Star Rating

by Michael DeLucia 

PLAYLIST: Back To School

Even if you enjoy academics, the phrase “back to school” is always cringeworthy. It marks the end of summer fun and those damn TV commercials seem to start earlier and earlier every year. But no fear! Your HXC Magazine staff is here to make it a little more fun! Here’s a playlist to make your first days a little more mosh-tastic. (And if your teacher asks, that’s totally a word.)

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LIVE SHOTS: Warped Tour 2016 @ Holmdel, NJ

Oh man, oh man, oh man. It’s that time of year again. We caught the Holmdel, NJ date of the 2016 Vans Warped Tour and had the good fortune of watching, photographing, and moshing to bands like Every Time I Die, Old Wounds, Capsize, Ice Nine Kills and more! Check out some of our shots from that hot, hot day and see you punks again next year!

Continue reading LIVE SHOTS: Warped Tour 2016 @ Holmdel, NJ

WARPED TOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS: 2016, 2017 Lineup

The Vans Warped Tour unveiled the whole of their 2016 lineup yesterday, along with an announcement for 2017. Bands like Atreyu, Ice Nine Kills, Cane Hill, Sum 41, Every Time I Die and Vanna amongst many others were announced for this year’s Warped Tour, but probably the most uplifting piece of news was that The Ghost Inside was officially announced as the first band on the 2017 Warped Tour lineup. This will mark the band’s first confirmed live performance since a terrible bus wreck left them intensely hurt several months ago.

Continue reading WARPED TOUR ANNOUNCEMENTS: 2016, 2017 Lineup

Record Review: Ice Nine Kills ‘Every Trick In The Book’

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Ice Nine Kills have stepped up their artistic game with their latest full-length record, Every Trick In The Book. As the title implies, the band borrow from some of their many literary inspirations to create their most melodic (“Tess-Timony”) and most heavy (“Hell In The Hallways”) songs to date. William Shakespeare, George Orwell and Stephen King are just a few of the authors INK turn to for their own brand of musical storytelling, and as a lit nerd myself, I’m pretty goddamn giddy about it.

Creating songs based off of personal experiences alone is a perfectly good way to go about writing music. However, when artists look to the works of other artists both in admiration and for inspiration, something special happens: A dialogue is created between the old tales and the new tracks, and in INK’s case, the conversation is exceptionally moving. Reimagining known stories in modern ways makes for not only a fun listen but an engaging one. As the listener, you start to look for clues; little pieces of the story you already know and little embellishments added in that you’re just hearing for the first time.

While the overall sound of Every Trick In The Book is very similar to that of their last full-length, The Predator Becomes They Prey, the most noticeable and impressive difference is the band’s use of added sound effects and dialogue to enhance and enliven the stories they’re telling. “The People In The Attic,” for example, based off of The Diary of Anne Frank, is not only a great song musically, but goes above and beyond when it incorporates suspenseful dialogue and threatening sounds that recreate the terrifying moment of an S.S. officer coming for the hidden Jews upstairs. Something similar happens in “Hell In The Hallways” (Carrie is announced prom queen followed by screams) and “Communion Of The Cursed” (the possessed little girl from The Exorcist adds a demonic twist to a prayer). These moments of theatricality give the record that extra umph, turning a standard Ice Nine Kills record into a noteworthy one.

Four Star Rating

Video Premiere: Ice Nine Kills “Communion of the Cursed”

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After the release of their last horror-inspired singles “Me, Myself, & Hyde” and “Bloodbath & Beyond,” Ice Nine Kills have burst through the gates with a The Exorcist themed music video for “Communion of the Cursed.” Spooky ghost stories with grandpa, demons in the mirror, levitations and possessions are all found in this highly produced video. Vocalist Spencer Charnas also goes a little crazy, and we love him for it. The winning combination of a no-holds-barred single with a well-crafted, cinematic narrative makes “Communion of the Cursed” one of the best music videos released in a while. And when the little girl demonically chants, “Her soul is mine, and mine to keep / If she dies before she wakes / I’ll find another soul to take,” you may very well need to find a new pair of pants.

The single comes from the band’s upcoming record Every Trick In The Book, which is to be released December 4th via Fearless Records.

Bare Meaning: The Role of Women in Music Culture

Photo taken from Pinterest
Photo taken from Pinterest

There has been increasing talk of the lack of women in the hardcore scene lately. Yet for all the talk, there doesn’t seem to be adequate exploration of why this is so or of what’s truly going on here. Relative to other rock genres like metal and alternative, hardcore seems to be the most homogenous and male-dominated of all. The reasons for this phenomenon may be far and wide, but I’d like to point to one particular issue that I’ve noticed in my years of listening to post-hardcore–the lyrics.

YouTuber Jared Dines hilariously sums it up in one of his satirical videos of the scene, “10 Styles of Metal.” A few seconds into the video, when the genre title “POST HARDCORE” holds above his head, Dines elucidates in unclean vocals: “My girlfriend broke up with me/ I’m really upset about it/ It’s really my own fault/ But I’m gonna blame her.” While saying that all post-hardcore bands sport the same lyrical content is an overgeneralization, any fan can laugh at how common and, for the most part, accurate Dines’ criticism actually is. Women tend to be given a certain symbolic status of vixen or betrayer or, like in a recent Ice Nine Kills music video, succubus.

Personally, I love the music metalcore band Ice Nine Kills make, but I’ve got to admit that the video for “The Fastest Way To A Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage” is troubling. It’s become so commonplace now that we no longer realize it, or if we do, we let it pass by us as mere fact–the idea that woman is the downfall of man. In this particular case, a (sexually) voracious female demon that we watch vocalist Spencer Charnas brutally kill is the subject matter. Coupled with lyrics like “You’d be just as sexy bleeding,” this visual takes the trope to a more obvious extreme. While some of you out there may argue “it’s just a music video” or “you’re taking this too seriously,” I’d like to suggest that sometimes the effects outweigh the intent. Do most guys approach their actions or the art they make with the explicit idea that they’re going to villainize women? I’d like to guess not. But the unconscious ideas are there and they keep getting nonchalantly perpetuated, and in this instance, as an INK fan, become alienating to me.

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Perhaps the very icon for this kind of behavior is British powerhouse Asking Alexandria; or, to get right down to it, ex-frontman Danny Worsnop. The cover art for the band’s latest album From Death To Destiny is a prime example of the female figure being reduced to a purely sexual and symbolic role for the male frontman. In the image (above), the woman is placed naked in a vending machine at the male rock star’s disposal should he have a few bucks on him to spare. She is a resource of pleasure for him, an object. In short, she is dehumanized. Take virtually any strand of lyrics from Asking Alexandria over the years and you’ll find something similar. Again, AA is a band I’ve enjoyed listening to musically for a while, but lyrically it’s hard to escape “I knew when I first saw you/You’d fuck like a whore” (“Not The American Average“).

On the more pop-oriented side of the post-hardcore spectrum, Falling In Reverse‘s music video for “Good Girls Bad Guys” gives us yet another example. In the video, a car pulls up and lets attractive women out of the trunk, parading them around on a kind of catwalk for the men on the set. Their only value in the space of the video is as beautiful objects; commodities that give the men their successful, masculine status. These women are only here for the purpose of reflecting the male ego back on itself in a positive light.

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This editorial isn’t here to call out anyone specifically, or even to call out men in general. “Men = bad, women = good” isn’t the idea here, and hardcore/post-hardcore/metalcore aren’t the only genres that have issues with representation of women. Rather, the purpose of this article is to call out a prevailing attitude that I think needs some reevaluation; the attitude that, to quote Laura Mulvey, “Women are bearers of meaning, not makers of meaning.”

For me, this is the link to creating a “Women of Hardcore” serial. There needs to be a shift in perspective. By collecting interviews with various female talents in the scene, we want to emphasize these people as active contributors to music and music culture, and hopefully, show other fans of hardcore–female and male–that there is a place for them, too. So let’s go make some meaning, regardless of your sexy parts.

Nirvana Cover Songs are Stupid and Contagious

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Punk Goes Grunge really doesn’t sound all too inspiring. In a world and music scene in which Punk Goes… is a franchise, hearing breakdowns accompany Katy Perry tracks or ’90s throwbacks is nothing new.  In fact, it’s almost expected since making a solid pop cover track can help make or break a band when it comes to getting signed to a label. That being said, what happens when punk (or what’s in actuality post-hardcore, metalcore, and pop punk) try to cover grunge or metal songs?

Typically you get one of two things: either a sound so similar that you find yourself questioning why anyone covered the track in the first place or a sound so entirely different and jarring that the integrity of the initial song is completely lost.

We got our first real taste of this problem with Punk Goes ’90s Vol. 2The Color Morale made a cringe-worthy, over produced cover of the Foo Fighter‘s staple “Everlong,” Ice Nine Kills showcased an amplified  pop rock version of Green Day‘s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” and Motionless In White rendered an exact copy of Rammstein‘s “Du Hast.”  A good cover is a song that takes the base of a track and holds the nature of that song true but also adds the flair of the band covering it to make it their own.  Industrial metalcore bands like Motionless In White shouldn’t be releasing covers of industrial metal bands like Rammstein simply because there is nothing much they can do to add to that track.  Other bands, like the Foo Fighters and Green Day are such iconic faces in modern music that they simply shouldn’t be altered.  The same is to be said of Nirvana.  Absolutely no one should be covering Nirvana tracks right now, regardless of the current resurgence of Cobain’s popularity.

My anger towards this situation appeared after hearing the latest compilation of Nirvana tribute songs, Robotic Empire‘s Whatever Nevermind, in which the label collected bands such as Torche, La Dispute, Circa Survive and Touché Amoré to render classic and even not-so-classic Nirvana songs as their own.  Along with the release of this album on Record Store Day, the grand April holiday also saw the release of Comeback Kid‘s cover of “Territorial Pissings.”

Nirvana, as with Green Day and the Foo Fighters, are still incredibly relevant.  They haven’t quite fallen into The Beatles iconic fame and legendary status as people are still trying to uncover exactly who Cobain was and what Nirvana actually meant for music.  The tale of Paul McCartney and John Lennon has been uncovered, publicized and revered in a way in which releasing an entire film of cover songs like Across the Universe is both acceptable and lauded. Conversely, we’re still in a state in which we don’t quite understand most of Nirvana.  Hell, there’s still a debate on why or even if Cobain killed himself, and unless you’re Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, Butch Vig, Steve Albini or Courtney Love you probably have  no grasp on how or why he wrote and recorded music the way he did.  Being unable to interpret that significant fact of such an iconic voice and figure should lead people to have enough respect to not actually go and remodel one of Cobain’s tracks.

Grunge is the voice of indie.  Grunge is an informal outlet of punk.  Grunge is the signature rock sound of the early ’90s.  But grunge is also exceptionally dead.  There’s no way an indie/punk/post-hardcore/rock band can come in today and revive grunge.  Alice In Chains couldn’t even find success doing it when Layne Staley died.  And believe me, they tried.   If a forerunner in the grunge movement couldn’t keep it alive, there’s no way any of these more marginal bands are going to be able to.

Whatever Nevermind

Let’s talk about “Polly.”

“Polly” is one hell of a fucked up song.  For those of you who don’t know, “Polly” is about a real life rapist who held a girl captive and whose first-person perspective Cobain felt absolutely compelled to write about.  That’s fucking weird. Bands like La Dispute, who I have nothing but respect for, should not be covering that track. Not only do they do very little to change up how the song initially sounded, but they lose a lot of the eerie concepts placed behind that song because they didn’t write it.  Those twisted thoughts were not in their heads to make that track genuine or forthcoming.  It’s a cover that offers nothing to the music scene and doesn’t challenge the listener in the way that Cobain’s original version did. They probably would have had better luck covering “Rape Me,” but I guess in today’s world you can’t cover a track with that title in the same way that Slayer is no longer permitted to cover Minor Threat‘s “Guilty of Being White.”

Then there are bands who cover truly iconic Nirvana songs.  First off, it should go without saying that if it smells like the only Nirvana song you know, it shouldn’t be covered. But people still do.  “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is so well known and so iconic, that when you hear an alternative version of it, most people are inclined to cringe since they are banking on hearing those blaring soft to loud contradictions within the verse/chorus song structure and the complete inability to determine whether Cobain is saying “hello” or “how low.”  Covers typically force the coverer to pick one phrasing and pursue that translation, thus making it a decided interpretation of song we still don’t fucking understand.

Are all covers bad? No.  Circa Survive’s “Drain You” is listenable, but simply because they added very little to the track.  But with every just vaguely different track comes a track so butchered that it’s upsetting to hear.  Kylesa‘s cover of “Come As You Are,” for example, is another moment in time in which someone believes you can make that song an indie slow jam and get away with it.  You can’t.  It makes a classic song feel tired and drained. In the end you are left with the feeling that people are trying way too hard. Cobain wrote these tracks with definitive thoughts in mind. Over-thinking a track that’s already had an intention placed behind it is unnecessary and loses the effect the track initially held.

So then, are these covers ever acceptable? In my opinion, no.  Do some bands do it better than others? Yes.  In comparison to White Reaper‘s cover of “Territorial Pissings,” Comeback Kid does it much, much better.  When listening to the two side by side, White Reaper gives the illusion that they are trying to cover a Nirvana song in a well-planned, strategic manner.  Comeback Kid, however, just sound like they decided to jam out to a Nirvana track. It’s genuine fandom rather than a fabrication of a song someone bigger and more important wrote. The same can be said of Every Time I Die‘s live cover of “Tourette’s.”  ETID didn’t release the track in recorded form, and therefore hold the same genuine appreciation for Nirvana by showcasing it live and in a fashion that makes a song off of In Utero sound like a track from Bleach while still having that real old school ETID feel. But not one of these tracks are better than the originals.

No Nirvana cover will ever be accepted until Nirvana fades from mainstream relevancy.  Once Cobain becomes Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney and the world is ready for new interpretations on the grunge world, then covers can be acceptable.  But the ’90s are way too close to the now and the vocal strains inside of Nirvana’s haunting tracks are still as eerie and hard hitting now as they were twenty years ago. Let the band ride the legacy they created, and if you have to cover it, do so genuinely. Do so live. Do so in the moment without the over-thinking and strange musical additions and interpretations that help lose the messages Cobain, Novoselic and Grohl created.  And for fuck’s sake, if you absolutely have to do Punk Goes Grunge, someone hit up a Bleach song.  Maybe I’ll shut up if Josh Scogin does a cover of “Negative Creep”; maybe then I’d believe that these covers can actually happen. Until then, leave it to Kurt or keep it to live performance. The world isn’t ready for over-produced interpretations of tracks we still don’t understand.  Lose yourself in the music, don’t think so much, and in time, Nirvana will be appropriate to re-examine through cover songs.

Check out the album stream for Whatever Nevermind via Noisey right here.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Ice Nine Kills “Me, Myself, & Hyde”

Ice Nine Kills Me Myself & Hyde

Ice Nine Kills have released a lyric video for their new single “Me, Myself, & Hyde,” and like the original tale it’s based in (CGI) London. More complex than the average text-over-image clip, the video for the new song illustrates the Robert Louis Stevenson-inspired world with revived creepiness. Manic instrumentations, frenzied vocals, and a little more than an ounce of blood color this reinvented version of the classic story. Watch the video below and release your inner Hyde.

Top 10 HXC Approved Albums of 2014

10 Best Albums of 2014

2014 was a huge year for music.  We saw the first time a band from the post-hardcore scene put on a music festival that was entirely in, of and for the scene with A Day To Remember’s Self Help Fest.  We watched the aftermath of My Chemical Romance’s breakup dissolve into glorified solo projects. The Bury The Hatchet Tour finally happened, marking a long awaited resolution between Escape the Fate and Falling in Reverse. And hell, even Taylor Swift gets a shout out since more hardcore-influenced bands covered her songs than ever before.   So the real question is: what were the best musical moments of the year?  Check out our editors’ picks for the Top Albums of 2014 in no particular order and let us know what some of your favorites were!

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