After a three month delay due to logistical issues, the time has finally come for the Manchester date for Ice Nine Kills on the Wurst Vacation tour. The Academy is jam packed to the rafters which is no surprise since tonight’s gig has been sold out for a prolonged period.
Tonight’s main support slot is filled by Skynd with their unusual but strangely captivating True Crime music. The band have established themselves around a genre that is fairly unique, whereby a true crime news recording detailing a murder is played before each track giving the crowd a front seat to their own version of a Netflix documentary.
The lead singer who also goes by the name Skynd, fully commits to the dark imagery with black eyes, corpse-like make-up and seamlessly switches between dark bass vocals alongside some almost operatic voices to something much more sweet and innocent which creates a truly ethereal atmosphere. Supported by multi-instrumentalist ‘Father’ and a hooded guitarist, the industrial rock band create a real gothic vibe which serves as a perfect accompaniment to the horror that the crowd know is coming from the next act.
Ice Nine Kills are a band that have perfected the art of blending horror with metal music and each track is designed to merge with the theatrics of well known horror franchises – from Stephen King’s It to Hostel and Evil Dead.
Before emerging onto the stage, the Peaky Blinders theme tune plays across the speakers accompanied with smoke and customised INK Covers on the platforms at the front of the stage. After the song ends an intro is played over the speakers with an almost witch-like creepy voice introducing the band before they walk on stage.
The crowd roar as the band explode onto stage with opening track ‘Funeral Derangements’ from the band’s recent album ‘Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2’. At the start of the set, the band members have animal-like masks on with matching black suits which along with the song pays homage to Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Diving straight into the action, lead singer Spencer Charnas is immediately on the platform accompanied with his mask and rusty/dirty shovel along with heaps of smoke.
This is followed by an arm being chopped off à la Hostel during Wurst Vacation and a beheading during ‘Hip to be Scared’ whilst Spencer is dressed in the guise of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.
The imagery continues throughout with a plethora of well-known horror movies acted out on stage with the synonymous yellow jacket of Georgie and the red balloon from Stephen King’s IT making an appearance in ‘IT Is the End’ and Spencer takes on many of the props himself holding a crucifix during ‘Communion of the Cursed’ to depict the priest alongside Freddy Krueger’s knife embellished gloved hand during ‘The American Nightmare’ which also incorporates the lullaby from the original film, merging with INK’s metal sounds.
The show is a feast not just for the ears but the eyes, as the theatrics continue through every track, each one distinctly recognisable even to those who have limited knowledge of horror films. ‘The Shower Scene’ includes a recreation of the classic 1960 hit ‘Psycho’ (with Spencer dressed as Norman Bates). On the stage a shower curtain is placed with Spencer killing the actor behind it with the crowd seeing the shadows, during this segment the synonymous Psycho killing noise is played within the song.
At the start of the song ‘Stabbing in the Dark’ an actor dressed as a clown in a jumpsuit with mask stands on the platform at the front of the stage. During the song Spencer wears a Michael Myers mask along with his signature weapon with Spencer asking the crowd to scream. Towards the end of the song, a police report is mixed in accompanied by the killing sound from the movie. Following this an actor dressed as Laurie Strode appears on stage with a fight sequence included.
The band end their set on the title track from their last album ‘Welcome to Horrorwood’ with the song having multiple horror film references as opposed to a song being based on one particular film. Within the song there’s also a guitar solo from Dan Sugarman as Spencer climbs into the pit and stands on the barrier before launching into the crowd.
It’s a phenomenal set and with so much to see, it’s hard to pull it back and simply review the vocals and musicianship, since it’s so much more than that. With all the major horror films included, it is difficult to see where INK will go beyond this album without it becoming a little repetitive, but for now all the fans just simply bask in the knowledge they have attended a truly remarkable show.
Hip to Be Scared
IT Is the End
Communion of the Cursed
The American Nightmare
The Shower Scene
Assault & Batteries
A Grave Mistake
Farewell II Flesh
Stabbing in the Dark
Welcome to Horrorwood
Ice Nine Kills