Ice Nine Kills- “Every Trick In The Book” album analysis

Halloween edition album analysis


Album cover art depicting the different characters from the stories.

Album Overview

All Saints Day, Halloween, All Hallows Eve. October is synonymous with the holiday Halloween. A night of terror and horror. The deceased rise from the grave. Monsters are created from cadavers. Vampires roam the night as the chilled air of the Fall season leaves the hairs on your neck standing on end.

Human nature has a crooked romance with the grotesque, the vulgar, the gore, and the horror that comes from the dark reaches of the imagination. From the depths comes tales that lead way to fright and goose bumps. Writers such as Stephen King, Robert Louis Stevenson and Thomas Hardy take the horror spurned from their minds and craft lore and tales of nightmares and killers and the unknown…

The authors mentioned have written and published stories that have inspired countless creators from all sorts of art and media. In this case, music. Boston based Metalcore group Ice Nine Kills took the inspiration from the Horror, Historic, Tragic and Gothic Romantic works of film and literature to create their 2015 fourth studio album, “Every Trick in the Book.” The band members, especially front man Spencer Charmas, have a deep appreciation for literature and horror.  The album has a conglomeration of contemporary and classic horror stories with entries such as Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and Stephen King’s “Carrie” for examples of each side of the time spectrum.

The band doesn’t stop at the traditional sense of horrific stories. Entries inspired by literary works such as “Animal Farm” by George Orwell and “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank are included to showcase dark and sinister works and events in recent human history. The famous tragedy of “Romeo and Juliet” by playwright William Shakespeare is included to show that love can come to grim fates and festering grudges that come to an end of two lives.  While these are odd entries to put in a horror album but the band looks at fear as a form of horror too. The band turns the stories on their heads to create a deconstruction of the works.

The music videos add another element to the album. Ice Nine Kills created a story from three song from the album. The story is that of a young boy, sick in bed on Halloween, who goes to an intelligent teen suffering from bullying in high school. The music videos for telling this story are “Communion Of The Cursed”, “Hell In The Hallways” and “The Nature Of The Beast”.

Tracking List

As mentioned in the beginning, vulgarity plays part in the experience. Be weary of the language used in the songs. Music videos contain minor blood and gore.


1) “The Nature Of The Beast”

This song and accompanying music video tell the tale of hypocrisy of the Animal (Bolshevik) take over of Manor farm (Russia) and the corruption of the Animalist (Communist) way of living. In Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, the livestock overthrows the farmers and establish equal living for the animals until a pig named Napoleon ultimately takes the role of Joseph Stalin. The idea of animal equality and no classes is toppled and the animals became the new proletariat and the pigs become the government who carry whips. An odd entry to add to a horror album but fits since the October revolution was the start of the Red Scare which was America’s greatest fear in the time after World War One.


2) “The Communion Of The Cursed”

The Exorcist is a classic narrative horror and demon possession. The music video shows a young boy sick in bed on Halloween when his grandfather, a priest, comes to tell the story of a young girl of affluent back round name Reagan. Reagan has been ill for a time and has been showing awful symptoms and behavior. her mother enlists help of a Priest to come and exorcise the demon from her body. The band cleverly splits the two vocalists into the priest and the demon but puts a twist into the presentation. The piercing Screams are mainly used to portray the priest and not the demon, which can be used to make the statement that all being have a little shred of evil in them.


3) “Bloodbath and Beyond”

A staple of Halloween is vampires and this album gives a nod to one of the most famous of all time. Count Dracula: suave, sensual, wealthy, lady killer, and a blood sucking monster of the night. The song is less of a commentary and more of a telling of the story and personality of the Nosferatu of Transylvania. Crossing oceans of time to feast on the blood of women and keep his youth and immortality.



4) “The Plot Sickens”

In 1972, 45 people board Uruguayan Air force Flight 571 on route to Chile. Catastrophe strikes as the plane looses control and crashes in the Andes Mountains in southern Argentina ending the lives of dozens of passengers. The fear is flying comes with a tagging fear of crashing. The 16 surviving passengers crash and have to survive for 10 weeks on the mountains.



5) “Star-Crossed Enemies”

Shakespeare is an artist of poetry and an exemplary play-write. His most famous tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet”, tells of love found between the children of two feuding families: the Capulets and Montagues. The young couple share a short lived love affair while the families are killing one another as tensions escalates in Verona, Italy. The couple plan to wed and when their situation turns from bad to worse, Juliet is found unconscious and Romeo mistakes her for dead and decides to poison himself. Juliet wakes, sees her love dead and  sheathes a dagger in her heart. The band chose this song for it’s famous name and the message it portrays: Beware of grudges- they can hurt the ones you love, and be weary to love- it will make you do crazy things.


6) “Me, Myself, & Hyde”

Dr. Jekyll, a man of mercy in his heart both becomes and doesn’t become a serial killer. He both is and is not a killer as he has developed his split personality, Mr. Hyde. A classic story set in a Victorian setting. The band does a very similar vocal technique to Communion of The Cursed. the screams represent the blood thirsty Mr. Hyde and the clean vocal are the good Doctor Jekyll.



7) “Alice”

One of two diary based books, “Go Tell Alice” is very different from other works mentioned in the album. Wile Halloween gives you evil demons that haunt, “Go Tell Alice” is the story of persona demons taking over a 15 year old girl’s life. Alice becomes addicted to drugs at her young age after running away from home ad looking for an escape. She turns to drugs as her escape but the toll she deals with is immense.


8) “People In The Attic”

The period before World War Two seen the rise of the fascist Nazi party in Germany. The Nazis are an infamous name in the history of the world after the mass genocide known as the Holocaust. The Frank family, a family of Jews, goes into hiding in an attic after worry of being captured by the Fascists. Anne Frank records her time in the attic and the story continues after her capture. Anne’s diary was published, revealing the struggle of her family and he other family living in the attic.


9) “Tess-Timony”

The novel shows the wickedness of a man and the revenge of  victim. “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” is a complex novel or the tragic life of Tess Durbeyfield. Impoverished and family poor in health, Tess finds out of possible family and goes to “claim kin” and hopefully dig her way out of poverty. Alec d’Urberville, heir to the family, is attracted to Tess and after seducing her, he rapes her. Tess’ story goes from bad to worse as she has a child named Sorrow from the twisted night Alec gave her. After Sorrow passes away in infancy, Tess leaves her home and looks for a new town for work. She eventually finds love in a man named Angel and after they wed the couple separate for a year after he learns of her past as Angel is shocked she had a child with another man. During his Angel’s Leave, Tess marries Alec. Out of revenge, Tess takes justice in her own hands on Alec. A tragic ending ensues for Tess. The novel shows the wickedness of a man and the revenge of the victim.


10) “Hell In The Hallways”

Stephen King has crafted a plethora of horror and psychological narratives. “Carrie” is one of King’s most famous works and the band gives excellent treatment to the story. A teenage girl who has been sheltered and home schooled her whole life gets put into a public high school. Excitement turns to misery as Carrie is mercilessly bullied and shamed in her new school. Unbeknownst to her predators, Carrie has a secret ability hidden up her sleeve. After enough humiliation, Carrie lashes out in revenge. The story is a dark take on the bullying situation of King’s time and more relevantly, our time.

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Extra Release: “Enjoy Your Slay”

Acting as the “final chapter” to the album, the band collaborated with Shields’s vocalist Sam Kubrick, the grandson of Stanley Kubrick, to take on another Stephen King work, “The Shining.” The song tells the story of the book and reference the movie as well. The addition of Stanley Kubrick’s grandson ties the song to the director who brought about the movie.