Ice Nine Kills

Ice Nine Kills
Trinity of Terror Tour
Oshkosh Arena
Oshkosh, WI

The Oshkosh Arena seemed like the perfect location for a good old-fashioned brew haha. The room is large with seating that wraps around the venue in a horseshoe pattern. The stage is erected where the open end of that horseshoe is. When not hosting concerts it is primarily used as a basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks D-League team. Regardless, 3,400 plus people filled the arena and sold the venue out for the night.

How does one describe attending an Ice Nine Kills show? It can best be described as a theatrical cabaret of metal and horror. Pique your interest yet?  It should. The setlist covers songs from both of the Silver Screens albums. Mostly, the “Welcome to Horrorwood” album though. In case you have no idea about these guys’ most recent albums, each song is based on a separate horror film. A pretty unique view of songwriting. Frontman Spencer Charnas and primary owner of the band really found his niche when he moved on from creating songs about classic novels and general hardcore workings. Despite those being excellent, he created an infinite amount of metal show tune numbers that could take the band’s amazing live show to even greater feats. Well, I am proud to report they have accomplished just that. 

Let us start with the setlist. It provided so many amazing shock and awe moments with the theatrics. A few of the standouts were, “Hip to Be Scared”, “Funeral Derangements”, “IT is The End” and “Ex-Mortis”. These songs were enhanced by so many different characters that joined in. For instance, a helpless business-type person was knocked out and eventually hacked to death while in a chair center stage by a plastic coat wearing Charnas and a full-sized ax like in “American Psycho.” “Funeral Derangements” provided arguably the heaviest performance on the night. The song provides breakdown after breakdown. The laser screen in the background provided a clip of “Pet Semetary” with the band members standing out front wearing different animal masks. During that, the stage filled with smoke, and gravestones appeared on the backing boards. Charnas wields a shovel and repeatedly acts like he is digging. He acts the parts out routinely. “IT is The End” might be the most dramatic and cabaret-like of them all. It opens with a small person in a yellow coat center stage. They were reading a note just like depicted in the movie “IT” by the master of horror Stephen King. Walking out from the right side of the stage Charnas is wearing a clown mask and hands over a red balloon to the presumed child in yellow. During this, he is serenading the child without any backing vocals or instrumentals assisting him. It might have been the most impressive vocal performance I saw on the evening. With ease, Charnas transitions from a nice smooth wholesome vocalization into their traditional rough and brutal screaming that grabs at the ears. Finally, “Ex Mortis” gave every “Evil Dead” fan something to scream about. Charnas walks the stage carrying the Necronomicon and raises the dead. A woman wearing a nightgown runs the stage. On several points just like on the album you hear Ash say, “Groovy” and then the word pops up on the video board. Further proving how in time and finely tuned INK was. How could one ask for more?

Individually, bassist Joe Occhiuti and drummer Patrick Galante are the thundering force on the low end of the spectrum. Their performance was so clean and concise that you knew they were the reason you felt it. Occhiuti also has such a ferocious growl that it is often used when leading to a breakdown. Guitarist Ricky Armellino had what felt like the most vocal contributions amongst the backing vocals. Partnered with the other guitarist Chris Kelly they performed as a tight-knit shred factory. Kelly would often step forward in front of his microphone or center stage up and the metal walkway and lay down a tasty shred session. He ate up the limelight. The previously mentioned Charnas is more like an MC at times, others a skilled actor, but don’t be fooled he is a natural frontman with heart smashing screams and delicate serenades.

This quintet has found what makes them great. The production work and additional song-related ideas are bringing forth their creativity. Their freshly founded direction has truly created a new rock opera for the masses. I for one am all about it. I say bravo and let’s do it all over again very, very soon. 

1. Welcome to Horrorwood
2. Wurst Vacation
3. Hip to Be Scared
4. Stabbing in The Dark
5. Rainy Day
6. IT is The End
7. Take Your Pick
8. Ex-Mortis
9. The Shower Scene
10. Funeral Derangements
11. The American Nightmare

Using Format