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.