“Horrorcore icons.” – Kerrang!

Like the undead slashers celebrated in their songs, ICE NINE KILLS return with The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, a sequel of gruesome movie-sized proportion to their No. 1 Billboard Hard Rock Album, The Silver Scream. Welcome to Horrorwood carves out a fresh, bloody homage to the VHS celluloid classics that possessed singer Spencer Charnas at an early age, with a devilish new twist.

ICE NINE KILLS make music both timeless and timely, mixing metal, hardcore, and punk, with accessible power. New hard-rock-meets-horror anthems like “Hip to be Scared,” “Assault & Batteries,” and “Take Your Pick” demonstrate Spencer’s fascination with fright, obsession with pop culture, and his expertise with inescapably wicked melodic hooks and clever twists of phrase.

Imagine an album too violent and excessive for release, sickly sweet with crushing choruses and paralyzing breakdowns, put on a shelf by a suddenly fearful Fearless Records, lest it incriminates them. This is the world Welcome to Horrorwood imagines, one where Charnas is the chief suspect in his fiancé’s murder, and the body (ahem) of work he put on display serves as the damning evidence. And it’s the introduction of The Silence, a brand-new slasher for the ages of Spencer’s creation.

Drew Fulk (A Day To Remember, As I Lay Dying, Emmure) produced The Silver Scream and returned to collaborate on The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood. Album guests include Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach), George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Brandon Saller (Atreyu), Ryan Kirby (Fit For A King), and Buddy Nielsen (Senses Fail). Spencer’s longtime lyrical partner-in-crime, Steve Sopchak, and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Ferrini both return, as well.

The true-crime documentary-style narrative of “Opening Night…” quickly descends directly into the first proper song, “Welcome to Horrorwood,” which sets the stage for a new iconic slasher into the pop culture pantheon and preps a presentation of the “evidence” against Spencer. A box of videos procured from the singer’s home reveals a fresh batch of myths reminiscent of the cinematic muses of The Silver Scream, which may have this time inspired a gruesome “real life” homicide.

Each new song is slightly (and) slyly more subversive than the last, offering up immersive and escapist nightmare trips. Dan Sugarman (guitar/vocals), Ricky Armellino (guitar/vocals), Patrick Galante (drums), and Joe Occhuiti (bass/vocals) are the current co-conspirators behind Charnas, who founded the band as a teen in the early 2000s. Operating internationally as ICE NINE KILLS, the devious enterprise leaves an evidence locker’s worth of smiling faces and simmering, sinister thoughts everywhere they perform.

ICE NINE KILLS blur the boundaries between truth and fiction, skewering Hollywood in the process, stabbing with a satire to rival Patrick Bateman. “Stardom’s just an afterthought for all those stabbed in the backlot, piled up and left to rot,” the title track declares. “How’s this for an establishing shot?”

Horrorwood mixes the soaring choruses, witty lyricism, and post-metalcore riffs that are the band’s signatures, as heard in Top 10 Mainstream Rock single “A Grave Mistake” and Top 20 hit “Savages.” As its predecessor mined cross-generational horror classics like A Nightmare On Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and The Shining, The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood unleashes fresh hell upon listeners with songs inspired by a VHS aisle’s worth of Fangoria Magazine cover-worthy inspirations.

Bloody properties consumed by ICE NINE KILLS include Eli Roth’s infectious and claustrophobic Cabin Fever (“A Rash Decision”); Don Mancini’s Child’s Play franchise (“Assault & Batteries”); Alfred Hitchcock’s cultural milestone Psycho (“The Shower Scene”); Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary (“Funeral Derangements”); video-game-series-turned-film-series Resident Evil (“Rainy Day”); Mary Harron’s adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (“Hip to be Scared”); 1981 mineshaft slasher My Bloody Valentine (“Take Your Pick”); Clive Barker’s supernatural Hellraiser (“The Box”); David Cronenberg’s The Fly (“F.L.Y.”); tortuous travel nightmare Hostel (“Wurst Vacation”); the Evil Dead franchise (“Ex-Mørtis”); and the Chicago-set urban legend Candyman (“Farewell II Flesh”).

Decadent, devious, and fiercely insane, with sardonic wit to spare, ICE NINE KILLS celebrate pop culture’s darkest edges, mining a cinephile library’s worth of b-movie schlock and iconic horror on Welcome to Horrorwood and The Silver Scream. The creative marriage made in hell of music and fiction began in earnest with the Salem-based band’s Top 5 Hard Rock album, Every Trick in the Book, which brought the previous three records’ themes to new levels with literary-immersed tracks.

Helpless teens, unhelpful authorities, supernatural forces, masked killers, and “final girls” abounded in the shocking, blood-soaked songs of The Silver Scream. Each piece focused on a different horror classic, including “The American Nightmare” (A Nightmare on Elm Street), “Thank God It’s Friday” (Friday the 13th), “Stabbing in the Dark” (Halloween), and “IT Is The End” (It). For 2020’s Undead & Unplugged: Live from the Overlook Hotel EP, the band recorded in the location used in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the inspiration behind “Enjoy Your Slay,” featuring Kubrick’s grandson, Sam.

Even in the group’s high-school pop-punk band early incarnation, ICE NINE KILLS dabbled in horror-related imagery. As a young kid, Charnas found himself drawn to the horror aisle of his local video store, located inside the supermarket where his mom did her shopping. “I’d gaze upon the box covers of movies like Sleepaway Camp and Silent Night, Deadly Night,” he recalls. “I became obsessed with horror. My parents were cool with it. Around Halloween, I would walk around the neighborhood as Michael Myers. It was the idea that if I was the monster, then the monster couldn’t get me.”

Loudwire hails ICE NINE KILLS as “one of the most unique acts in metal right now.” The band’s synergy of music and lifestyle draws favorable comparisons to Slipknot and Rob Zombie. Visionary trailblazers and multimedia raconteurs, INK built a thrilling world for a growing legion of devoted true believers, with theatrical shows, high-concept videos, and inventive band-to-fan communion.