SiriusXM Presents The Octane Accelerator Tour featuring Ice Nine Kills Fit For A King, Light The Torch, Awake At Last
Ice Nine Kills
ICE NINE KILLS In a sea of subculture sound-alikes and would-be social media stars, ICE NINE KILLS stand tall as passionate artistic trailblazers. For over a decade, ICE NINE KILLS has built a thrilling new world for their band and their growing legion of fans. “INK” summons the most captivating elements of metal, punk and melody with theatricality, cinematic obsession, and literary fascination, creating a thrilling vision.
The Boston-based trio of Spencer Charnas, Justin DeBlieck, and Justin Morrow, (together with their onstage cohorts), conjured INK from the ground up, with the artistic confidence and perseverance of their favorite DIY punks and filmmakers.
After a decade of studio adventures and live showmanship, ICE NINE KILLS joins the ranks of likeminded hard rock acts like Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, and Marilyn Manson, in terms of the combination of music and lifestyle and cult-band reverence.
Songs like “Communion of the Cursed,” “Me, Myself & Hyde,” “Hell in the Hallways,” “The Fastest Way to a Girl’s Heart is Through Her Ribcage,” and “Bloodbath & Beyond” have amassed more than 30 million views on YouTube alone, building a story with sales, streams, and downloads that’s evident by the massive sing-a-longs at festivals, on Vans Warped Tour, and when the band headlines theaters and clubs.
Following a fourth album that debuted in the Top 5 of Billboard’s Hard Rock Albums chart, and tours with bands like Motionless In White and Every Time I Die, ICE NINE KILLS spent much of 2018 in the studio with producer Drew Fulk (Bullet For My Valentine, As I Lay Dying) crafting their most diverse and impressive offering.
The Silver Scream, the fifth record from ICE NINE KILLS, is a definitive achievement. A conceptually driven post-metalcore masterpiece with the catchiness and spirit of pop-punk and the fist-pumping anthem power of arena rock, The Silver Scream is 13 songs of horror movie inspired madness. Just as their previous album, Every Trick in the Book, drew from classic literary works (including Animal Farm, Dracula, and Romeo and Juliet), each song on The Silver Scream is a tribute to a different iconic cinema classic, the types of movies that inspire the same sort of fandom as music.
The Silver Scream stars a famous movie werewolf, a great white shark, and more than one axe-wielding movie murderer. “The American Nightmare” is about Freddy Krueger, the dreamscape stalker of the A Nightmare on Elm Street series; “Thank God It’s Friday” centers on Jason Vorhees; Michael Myers, Leatherface, Pennywise, and Jigsaw get their due as well. There’s a song for the dark avenger from The Crow.
Charnas recorded some of the album’s vocals at famous horror locations, like the houses used in the original Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Sam Kubrick, grandson of Stanley Kubrick, guests on The Shining-inspired “Enjoy Your Slay.” There’s an appearance from Stranger Things’ Chelsea Talmadge and guests from INK’s punk flavored past as well, including members of Finch, Fenix TX, Mest, and Less Than Jake, who lend their horns to the Stephen King inspired “IT is the End.”
As a young kid, Charnas found himself drawn to the horror aisle of his local video store, located inside the supermarket where his mom did her shopping. “I’d gaze upon the box covers of movies like Sleepaway Camp and Silent Night, Deadly Night,” he recalls. “I became obsessed with horror. My parents were very cool about it all. Around Halloween, I would walk around the neighborhood as Michael Myers. Perhaps it was the idea that if I was the monster then the monster couldn’t get me?”
The obsession continued into his teenage years, when he and his cousins would rent movies from Blockbuster. Wes Craven’s horror referencing Scream made a huge impression. “It was the first time I ever saw a movie in the theater where the characters were talking about Jason and Michael. I immediately fell in love with it.”
Even in the group’s earliest incarnation as a high-school pop punk band, ICE NINE KILLS dabbled in horror related imagery, from song titles to merchandise designs. Last Chance to Make Amends (2006) and Safe is Just a Shadow (2010) built a name for the band, but it was The Predator Becomes the Prey (2014) and Every Trick in the Book (2015) that really cemented ICE NINE KILL’s reputation. The Silver Scream is the natural culmination of everything that’s come before, a full, immersive catharsis.
ICE NINE KILLS is at the forefront of the natural crosspollination of subcultures. “Heavy music and horror are both escapes from our mundane struggles,” Charnas points out. “Horror gets a bad rap with some people who think it’s sick and depraved. But those who love it tend to be the people who get it, who realize you aren’t supposed to see Friday the 13th and then go kill a bunch of people at a summer camp. Aggressive music and horror movies are outlets for your demons not a blueprint for your actions. It’s an escape from reality. You could be having the worst day in the world, with your job or your significant other, and you can go and put on a great metal record or horror movie and forget about all of your problems.”
Fit For A King
Trauma and tragedy transfer from one generation to the next. As difficult as it may be, we still possess the power to break the cycle and start anew. Fit For A King ponder the pain of these cycles and the possibility to end them on their seventh full-length offering, The Hell We Create [Solid State]. The Texas quintet—Ryan Kirby [vocals], Bobby Lynge [guitar], Daniel Gailey [guitar], Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary [bass], and Trey Celaya [drums]—explore this ebb and flow with a deft, yet delicate balance of sharp metallic intensity and soaring melodic energy.
Drawing on real-life experiences, the band members collectively rallied around Ryan and his family as they endured seemingly unending turbulence…
“The album is a reflection of the events that happened throughout the pandemic,” recalls Ryan. “In short, my wife and I adopted children and had to homeschool them. She almost died from a stroke. The Hell We Create is by far the deepest and most personal record we’ve ever written.”
In 2011, Fit For A King emerged out of Texas with a searing signature style rooted in metal and hardcore and uplifted by hypnotic hooks. Following the breakout LP Creation/Destruction , they earned four consecutive Top 5 debuts on both the Billboard Top Christian Albums Chart and the Top Hard Rock Albums Chart with Slave to Nothing , Deathgrip , Dark Skies , and The Path . The latter marked their first #1 on the Top Christian Albums Chart and Top 10 on the Billboard Top Album Sales Chart. Plus, the band collaborated with fellow heavy-hitters such as August Burns Red and We Came As Romans. They’ve generated nearly 312 million streams on a catalog highlighted by “The Price of Agony,” “When Everything Means Nothing,” “Breaking The Mirror,” and “Locked (In My Head),” to name a few. Of The Path, KERRANG! raved, “This is overall a sharper, bolder, more offering from a band who might just succeed in using it as a launch pad to bigger things,” and Rock Sound hailed it as “brilliant.”
Just before the pandemic shutdown, Ryan and his wife adopted her niece and nephew. Not long after, she suffered her stroke, and the frontman stared down darkness.
“The record talks about the hell these children went through because of their abusive family,” he notes. “They went to multiple shelters and seventeen different foster homes before we were able to start fostering and later adopt them. Since they’re family, we know their story deeply. Their hell is completely created by others—like their parents and the system. After my wife’s stroke, I was ultra-paranoid. I wasn’t eating. There were these mental health phases of creating hell for myself. I’ve learned Hell is passed down.”
In order to capture that sentiment, they reteamed with longtime producer WZRD BLD [Lil Wayne, Motionless In White, Highly Suspect], recording The Hell We Create over the course of six weeks in Los Angeles. Setting the stage for the next era, the band teased the record with “Reaper.”
Now, the single “End” kicks down the door with a barrage of rapid-fire riffing offset by squealing leads, pinch harmonics, and double bass. It crashes right into the instantly unshakable refrain, “Will you stay with me? I can’t do this without you.”
“It’s about my wife,” he says. “She had a 95% blockage in the jugular vein inside of her head caused by birth control. If one day passed, she would’ve died. It was the first time I was close to an unexpected death. I wasn’t mentally or physically ready to do this, because I had never dealt with it.”
Then, there’s “Falling Through The Sky.” It hinges on a hard-hitting harmonic groove as clean vocals echo. The momentum builds towards the observation, “They say Heaven’s above, and Hell is below, so why do they feel so close?”
“It was about me coping with the idea of losing her,” he goes on. “I grew up in church. I’m still a Christian. Everything made me realize how ill-equipped I was to deal with true tragedy even with all of the scripture I’d read. Once I looked the beast in the eye, it fell apart. I needed to use those tools to deal with these demons instead of ignoring them.”
Ryan and Jonathan Vigil of The Ghost Inside trade vocals on the chaotically catchy “Times Like This” underlined by a gang chant.
“Getting a guest spot from Jonathan was surreal because I’ve listened to him since high school,” adds Ryan. “When you’re divided, you don’t fight together—you just fight each other. We are whatever the media or politicians tell us, and we’re okay hating half the country. In reality, we have way more in common than not, but it’s been orchestrated for us to stay at each other’s throats.”
The album culminates with might be the band’s deepest cut “What You Left Behind.” He reveals. “The quiet singing is my point of view. The chorus is the kids speaking to their dad who they were taken away from. The last breakdown is me speaking to their dad, ‘This is the damage you did to them. This is what you left behind when you left them’.”
In the end, Fit For A King delivers an important message on the record.
“I want to raise self-awareness,” he leaves off. “It’s not just important to fight for ourselves, but we’re fighting for others. You can reach out for help even if you’re scared. I know I was. I hope we can all reflect on not only what we put ourselves through, but what we put others through.”
Light The Torch
Time fortifies the bonds between us. Since emerging in 2018, Light The Torch have grown stronger in lockstep together as a band and as friends. Through this growth, the Los Angeles, CA trio—Howard Jones [vocals], Francesco Artusato [guitar], and Ryan Wombacher [bass]—only enhanced every aspect of their signature sound. Upheld by head-spinning seven-string virtuosity, yet also anchored to skyscraping melodies, the group crafted twelve no-nonsense and no-holds-barred metallic anthems on their 2021 second full-length album, You Will Be The Death of Me [Nuclear Blast].
“The past few years have helped me to become much more personal in my writing,” explains Howard. “Even though I’m kind of a loner, this band became real family. My experiences with Ryan and Fran inside and outside of the band truly bonded us. I think it shows in this album, it truly represents who we are as a group.”
“Every second on this record was thought-out,” adds Fran. “Howard’s performance gives me chills, because it feels so alive. There’s so much emotion in it. I know the guy very well at this point, and our friendship is a big part of Light The Torch.”
That friendship cemented over the course of the past three years. The group shot out of the gate as a contender on their full-length debut, Revival. It bowed at #4 on the Billboard US Independent Albums Chart and at #10 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart in addition to receiving acclaim from Revolver, Outburn, and many more. “Calm Before the Storm” racked up a staggering 14.5 million Spotify streams, while “The Safety of Disbelief” remains one of SiriusXM Octane’s all-time most requested songs. They also crisscrossed North America and Europe on tour with the likes of Trivium, Avatar, In Flames, Ice Nine Kills, Killswitch Engage and August Burns Red to name a few.
In late 2019, an idea for the title track “Death of Me” kickstarted the creative process. The guys returned to Sparrow Sound in Glendale, CA to once again work with the production team of Josh Gilbert and Joseph McQueen [Bullet for My Valentine, As I Lay Dying, Suicide Silence].
This time around, they also welcomed Whitechapel’s Alex Rudinger on drums. “He’s incredible,” says Fran. “He was exactly what we needed.”
Now, they kick down the door for You Will Be The Death of Me with the single “Wilting In The Light.” Howard’s instantly recognizable vocals soar over a sweeping riff and rolling beat before culminating on a massive luminous hook, “Over and over again we struggle. We’re wilting in the light, and we stumble in the dark.”
“It has a different vibe and a very interesting riff,” observes Howard. “I love it when listeners can take what they want from a song. This was a special one for us.”
“More Than Dreaming” opens up the record with gut-punching guitar and another knockout hook. Elsewhere, airy keys wrap around chugging distortion on the title track “Death Of Me.” Regarding the latter, the frontman goes on, “Most people have some source of grief in their lives. It’s relatable, and it was appropriate for the song.”
After the melodic melancholia of “Come Back To The Quicksand,” Light The Torch recharge the 1987 Terence Trent D’Arby classic “Sign Your Name” as the record’s climax. Shimmering keys bleed into an overpowering verse before it snaps into the immortal chorus beefed up with thick distortion.
“Howard stayed at my house with me and my wife for the entire recording of the album,” recalls Fran. “I like to cook, and one night during the first week of pre-production I made everyone dinner. A compilation with ‘Sign Your Name’ started playing, and I thought, ‘I can do a version that would sound awesome!’ Howard knew and loved the song too. For as crazy as it sounded, it worked so well.”
In the end, the bond between Light The Torch burns brighter than ever in the music as they deliver a definitive statement with You Will Be The Death Of Me.
“We wanted to make a fully listenable and fun album that doesn’t let up,” Howard leaves off. “At the same time, we’re showing some heart, passion, and connection. It’s what we’ve always intended to do with this band.”