Ice Nine Kills at The Halls, Wolverhampton

Ice Nine Kills at The Halls, Wolverhampton

As rain falls from a darkened sky, something sinister comes to Wolverhampton. Tonight, Ice Nine Kills bring the Meat & Greet tour to the city for a night of horror inspired heavy metal. Ice Nine Kills are known for their truly theatrical live performance, infused with scenes dragged straight from the silver screen; this is bound to be a night to remember for those that make it out alive. The band are also joined tonight by THE HARA and Graphic Nature, making for an interesting and diverse line-up covering multiple areas of the metal genre.

Kicking things off we have Manchester trio, THE HARA, bringing with them their energetic, emotive alt rock. This is a band who formed in lockdown and immediately shot to fame, playing multiple festivals including Download Pilot, Download, Slam Dunk and 2000 Trees to name a few. The band took to the stage and very quickly got the room moving. Front man Josh Taylor, took full control of the stage, making the most of the huge amount of space available to them. Taylor has a large presence on the stage and makes it clear from the start that they aim to keep the momentum high throughout the band's short set. Early in the set, Taylor jumped down from the stage and made his way to the barrier, before jumping out into an excited crowd who kept him surfing over the crowd, before returning to the stage. It’s been a short set but it’s been the perfect way to give the crowd a taste of what the night has in store. 

 Next up, we have one of metal's most exciting up-and-comers, Graphic Nature. Seeing the band lock in a support slot with Ice Nine Kills is a huge achievement, and well-deserved. With a new album on the horizon, this is the perfect time to see the band live. Graphic Nature takes to the stage under an array of blue lights. Singer, Harvey makes his way to the centre-stage announcing the band name before they dive head-first into their opening song ‘Headstone’. Within no time, the pit has opened up within the crowd and the moshers get to it. Each song is met with rapturous applause and for those in the crowd who know the band, this is clearly, a truly exciting moment, seeing a band they’ve followed get the opportunity to play to such a big crowd. It also shows on stage as the band deliver a stellar set.

Older songs like ‘Killing Floor’ sound bigger than ever whilst the new songs such as ‘Fractured’ feel right at home proving their music is made for bigger stages. Graphic Nature’s signature sound of crushing guitars against drum and bass tracks, gives the crowd the wake up call they need to really get moving in preparation for tonight’s huge headline act. As the band leave the stage there’s much applause and cheer from the crowd for the set they have just played. This is only the start for Graphic Nature, with the new album looming it’s can only be upwards from here.

The wait is now finally over, and the eager crowd are ready for Ice Nine Kills to take to the stage. 2021 album ‘Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2’ saw the band reach new heights after redefining their sound on the 2018 album ‘The Silver Scream’. Both albums take a deep dive into the horror movie genre, blending metal with lyrics inspired by some of the most iconic horror films to date including Hellraiser, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Hostel, Saw, and The Evil Dead whilst also not shying away from modern classics such as Resident Evil and American Psycho. This all comes from the mind of devoted horror fan and front man Spencer Charnas, who was inspired by the films from his childhood.

As the lights dim, a creepy voice begins to speak to the crowd before finally announcing that the band are taking to the stage. With a roll of the drums, the band arrive onstage dressed in shirts, trousers, bow ties and suspenders. Charnas is the last to the stage, dressed in a suit and red tie, channelling his inner Patrick Bateman as the band open with Hip To Be Scared; a song based on the movie American Psycho. The chorus prompts huge sing-alongs and by the middle of the song Spencer is presented with a rain coat and axe. As the band reach the climax of the song, the crowd all know whats coming, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting or entertaining as Spencer re-enacts a scene from the film by chopping off an actor's head and presenting it to the crowd. As the song ends the lights dim to a dark red and zombies begin to stumble onto the stage before a woman comes out screaming into a walkie-talkie. This is a prelude into the second song of the night ‘Rainy Day’; a song inspired by the Resident Evil series. As drums pound and guitars crunch, Spencer wastes no time in moving around the stage and hyping up the crowd, the songs speed whipping the crowd into a frenzy. As the song comes to an end, a police man walks onto the stage, wheeling in a man who we can only assume is Hannibal Lector, as the band break into their latest song, Meat & Greet. This is a chance for the band to show off quite how dynamic their musical talents are. Once again the crowd join in and sing every word when the choruses hit. Mid-song, Lector breaks free and beats the police man to death. It's one thing to hear these songs live but to see them on stage with the addition of actors is truly exciting and really brings the music to life.

As the set continues, so do the array of additional actors taking to the stage, including at one point an actor in an inflatable shark costume to the delight of the crowd. Whilst there may be a lot happening on stage at no point does it detract from the fact that Ice Nine Kills sound incredible live. All the songs are played with absolute precision and Spencer’s voice sounds huge. The chosen setlist also shows the range of the bands playing skills, whilst some songs are brutal and fast paced others are far more melodic. A real stand out song is Funeral Derangements. This is one of the heavier songs on the setlist; a song drawing inspiration from Pet Sematary. The theatrics really add to this as a body is brought out onto the stage, as the band members put on masks similar to those seen in the film. Throughout, Spencer, carrying a shovel, often shouting ‘Get your shovels in the sky!’ As the audience throw their hands up. The crowd are also treated to a very tongue in cheek cover of Stacy's Mom, only this time its called Jason's Mom, leading to a steam of crowd surfers before the band take us back to a song that predates The Silver Scream, ‘The Fastest Way to a Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage’. Hearing older material is exciting and it still feels fitting amongst the horror-themed songs of the latest albums. 

Ice Nine Kills have proven tonight that they are one of the most exciting and theatrical metal bands on the scene, delivering a thrilling, horror filled set which did not disappoint. Their live show takes their already unique sound and heightens it, bringing it to life with an array of actors in costume bringing the horror elements to life before your eyes without ever compromising their sound or musical talent. It’s also a truly unique experience which never takes itself too seriously, allowing the crowd to truly enjoy the spectacle unfolding before them without distracting from the music. As the show comes to an end and the crowd disappears into the night, excited chatter continues proving that tonight has been a truly spectacular show which will be hard to beat.

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