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Ice Nine Kills (formerly known as Ice Nine, often stylized as ICE NINE KILLS and abbreviated to INK) are a "theatri-core" band from Boston, Massachusetts, known for their horror-inspired lyrics and aesthetic.

Initially a ska-punk band formed in 2000 by two high school friends, INK later turned to a heavier sound and is now considered part of the Metalcore scene. The band's lineup rotated heavily over the years, and frontman Spencer Charnas is currently the only founding member remaining.

Their band name comes from the fictional weapon of mass destruction in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle.

Discography:

  • Last Chance to Make Amends (2006)
  • Safe Is Just a Shadow (2010)
  • The Predator Becomes the Prey (2014)
  • Every Trick in the Book (2015)
  • The Silver Scream (2018)


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Ice Nine Kills provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: "Jason's Mom", a horror-themed version of "Stacy's Mom".
  • Album Title Drop:
    • "The predator becomes the prey" is dropped in "What Lies Beneath".
    • The titles of the band's first four albums (either word-for-word or slightly modified) are all dropped in the same song, "Rocking The Boat" off The Silver Scream (i.e. the fifth album, which doesn't get its own title drop).
  • Alliterative Title: The Silver Scream, "Freak Flag", "Tess-Timony", "Bloodbath & Beyond", "Communion of the Cursed", "Hell in the Hallways", etc.
  • American Title: "The American Nightmare".
  • Animal Motifs: "The Nature of the Beast", which is based on Animal Farm, and "A Grave Mistake" (based on The Crow).
  • Anti-Christmas Song: "Merry Axe-Mas".
  • Ax-Crazy: Unstable characters appear in every other song, but the ones that additionally have to do with axes are "Merry Axe-Mas" and "Enjoy Your Slay".
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  • Back from the Dead: The narrators of "The American Nightmare" and "A Grave Mistake".
  • Badass Boast: Frequent, since a lot of their songs have the villain as the POV character. The most overt example is probably in "Bloodbath & Beyond":
    Hunted by all mankind, but they're one step behind
    "Prince of Darkness"? Fuck that, I'm the king!
  • Bad Santa: "Merry Axe-Mas".
  • Based on a True Story: "The Plot Sickens" is about the Andes flight disaster and "The People in the Attic" is about Anne Frank.
  • Bookends: The cycle of music videos for The Silver Scream starts with the Villain Protagonist visiting a therapist, and end with him starting therapy again, this time with a different professional.
  • The Cameo: The Silver Scream is chock full of them, notably from ska-punk legends Less Than Jake, horror actress Chelsea Talmadge, and founding INK member Jeremy Schwartz.
  • Circus of Fear: The "carnival of carnage" in "IT is the End".
  • Concept Album: All the songs in Every Trick in the Book are based on works of literature, whereas The Silver Scream is themed around horror films.
  • Concept Video: The music videos for the singles off The Silver Scream share a cohesive narrative of a supposed serial killer going to therapy for his nightmares.
  • Continuity Nod: "Rocking the Boat" name-drops all of the band's previous albums in the lyrics, and was also co-written by (and features vocals by) founding band member Jeremy Schwartz.
  • Cosplay: After the release of The Silent Scream, the band would dress as horror movie characters in concerts (see page image).
  • Cover Version: INK regularly cover pop songs, with notable examples being "Thriller", "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Jason's Mom" (a parody of "Stacy's Mom").
  • Darker and Edgier: They started out as a ska-punk band, then shifted into pop-punk, and then into metalcore.
  • Death Seeker: The male narrator of "Love Bites" (which is based on An American Werewolf in London).
  • Determinator: The protagonists of "The Plot Sickens", in line with their real-life inspirations.
    If we have to crawl out, in spite of this hell
    We'll find a way out, we'll find a way out.
  • Double Meaning: Too frequent to list, but some examples are:
    • "A Grave Mistake": "grave" as in both "serious" and "a tomb".
    • "Your Number's Up": both as in "your turn's up" and "your (phone) number's up".
    • From the same song: "you'll be dying to hang on the line" — "eager to" and "literally dying".
    • "The climax of debauchery" in "Thank God It's Friday": "climax" as in "culmination" and "orgasm".
    • "She raised him right", from the same song: "raise" as in "take care of a child" and "bring back from the dead".
    • "Living the dream" from "The American Nightmare": both "living in the dreamworld" and "living the ideal life".
    • "Craven my revenge" from the same song: as a form of the verb "crave" and as a reference to Wes Craven.
  • Driven to Suicide: "Star-Crossed Enemies".
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Ice Nine Kills started out as a ska-punk band, and while traces of the genre can be found in their later music (i.e. the brass section in "IT is the End"), they have moved far away from it. Tellingly, the band no longer keeps their first album on streaming platforms.
  • Evil Laugh: "Bloodbath & Beyond".
  • Eye Open: At the end of the music video for "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage".
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Star-Crossed Enemies" fades into "Me, Myself & Hyde" via some rain sounds.
  • Filk Song: Many of their songs are based on horror movies and novels, especially on Every Trick in the Book and The Silver Scream.
  • Fountain of Youth: Mentioned in "IT is the End".
  • Full-Circle Revolution: "The Nature of the Beast":
    Time goes on and history repeats.
  • Genre Mashup: While metalcore is a genre mashup in itself, INK's work also includes elements of showtunes, orchestral music and ska-punk.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: "Merry Axe-Mas" ends with a shout of "¡Feliz Navidad!" for some reason.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: "The Greatest Story Ever Told".
  • Halloween Songs: INK have made a career our of horror-themed music and even have a song dedicated to Halloween specifically ("Stabbing in the Dark").
  • He Who Fights Monsters: "The Nature of the Beast".
    Where is the end? What have we done?
    We're what we swore we'd not become.
  • High-School Dance: The video for "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage", and the video (and lyrics) of "Hell in the Hallways".
  • Iconic Outfit: Throughout The Silver Scream promotion and tour, Charnas wore either a sleeveless Freddy Krueger sweater or a half-Jason half-Freddy shirt.
  • Identical Stranger: Frontman Spencer Charnas bears a more than passing resemblance to a young Till Lindemann.
  • If I Can't Have You...: The most common interpretation of "The Greatest Story Ever Told".
  • I'm a Humanitarian: An explicitly stated and villainous version in "Savages", a subtly implied and sympathetic one in "The Plot Sickens" ("it's hard to swallow the unthinkable...")
  • Jekyll & Hyde: "Me, Myself & Hyde", natch.
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • The stabbing sounds and dying screams and gurgles at the end of "Your Number's Up".
    • "Thank God It's Friday" ends with a calm solo, which abruptly transitions to some harsh guitar riffs along with the hook, to symbolize the first film's Jump Scare ending.
  • Long Title: Prevalent in their earlier days, as was the fashion of the pop punk scene at the time; some examples are "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage" and "What I Never Learned in Study Hall".
  • Love Triangle: "The Greatest Story Ever Told" is Type 4.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Their earlier work often coupled poppy melodies with dark, disturbing lyrics ("The Greatest Story Ever Told"). Acoustic versions of their horror-themed songs also count.
  • Metal Scream: Types 2, 3, and more rarely 1, depending on the situation.
  • Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Normally hovering around 6-9, but some of the more descriptive songs go up to 10.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Varies wildly, from 1 and 2 for their ballads ("Tess-Timony") up to 9 for their scream-heavy stuff ("The Jig is Up").
  • The Murder After: "The Greatest Story Ever Told" starts with the narrator waking up to the corpse of the woman he loved and claiming to not know what happened.
  • Murder Ballad: "The Greatest Story Ever Told", "The Fastest Way to a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage", "Stabbing in the Dark", "Your Number's Up"...
  • Mythology Gag: "Enjoy Your Slay", based on The Shining, features screams by Sam Kubrick, whose grandfather directed the most famous adaptation of the book.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Everywhere in Every Trick in the Book (with only one exception in "Star-Crossed Enemies").
  • Obsession Song: "Bloodbath & Beyond" ("It's been six years since I've had my fix, and now I'm fixed on you").
  • One of Us: The band are big horror nerds, and Charnas has been featured on Dead Meat and has done a "Top 10 Horrors" list for Hot Topic.
  • One-Man Song: "Me, Myself & Hyde".
  • One-Woman Song: "Alice".
  • One-Word Title: "Alice", "Savages".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: "Bloodbath & Beyond" is pretty clearly about Dracula, but the music video "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage" features a vampire who kills people in a shower of blood and can apparently be killed via hanging. Or not.
  • Power Ballad: See Surprisingly Gentle Song below.
  • Pun: Their songs are heavy on wordplay, with lyrics like "your neck is up next" and "don't hesitate to axe".
  • Pun-Based Title: "A Reptile's Dysfunction", "Enjoy Your Slay", "The Plot Sickens", "Tess-Timony", "Merry Axe-Mas", "Bloodbath & Beyond", etc.
  • Rain of Blood: What the Gory Discretion Shots in the music video for "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage" look like, courtesy of messy vampire kills.
  • Rape and Revenge: "Tess-Timomy", which is based on Tess of the d'Urbervilles and is a fairly subdued and non-exploitative example of the genre.
  • Rearrange the Song: Several tracks from The Silver Scream have acoustic versions with slightly modified lyrics.
  • Revolving Door Band: Frontman Spencer Charnas is the only original member remaining, and the current lineup (as of 2021) was only established in 2019.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: "A Grave Mistake".
  • Shout-Out: Deserves its own page.
  • Spoken Word in Music: The Silver Scream in particular features many spoken-word passages related to the movies that inspired the songs.
  • Switching P.O.V.: The narration in "Tess-Timony" switches between Angel's and Tess's points of view.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Their later, heavier albums feature at least one scream-free ballad ("Tess-Timony" and "Star-Crossed Enemies" on Every Trick in the Book, "Love Bites" on The Silver Scream).
  • Take That!: Ice Nine Kills were banned from playing at the Disney-owned House of Blues in Florida due to their "violent imagery." The band responded by designing a horror Disney-inspired merchandise line and having Mickey Mouse play the role of "Georgie" during live performances of "IT is the End".
  • These Hands Have Killed: From "The Fastest Way To a Girl's Heart is Through Her Ribcage":
    These bloodstained hands
    Have tied the noose.
  • Unplugged Version: The band did an unplugged set of five songs at the Stanley hotel in Colorado (aka "The Shining hotel").
  • Unreliable Narrator: All over the place, since their songs often have Villain Protagonists. A good example is "The Greatest Story Ever Told", whose most common interpretation is that the narrator is in denial about killing the woman he loves and instead blames her lover for the crime.
    I'm not a violent man but people can change
    So while you're sleeping
    I'll slit your throat and drain your blood
    And mail it to your mother
  • Villain Song: Most of the songs on The Silver Scream, exceptions being "Thank God It's Friday", "Rocking the Boat", "The World in My Hands", "A Grave Mistake" and "Love Bites".
  • Vocal Tag Team: Charnas typically does all clean vocals on their records, whereas scream duties are shared between him and at least one other band member, e.g. Justin DeBlieck on Every Trick in the Book and The Silver Scream.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Common with their music videos: "People Under the Stairs" is Inglorious Basterds, "Hell in the Hallways" is Carrie, and "The Number of the Beast" (both song and video) is Animal Farm.
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