I'm going to confess something right off the bat... Prior to The Predator, I had never listened to Ice Nine Kills. I fell victim to thinking that they were just another generic post-hardcore band simply because of their name - a stupid mistake, I know. As soon as I hit the play button and "The Coffin Is Moving" starting ringing through my ears, I noticed just how stupid my mistake was.
The Predator opens with the vocalist screaming "We are the walking dead". As he nears the end of the line, the listener is greeted with the first surprise of the EP; impressive guitar leads from a post-hardcore band! "The Coffin Is Moving" features several excellent riffs, a little guitar solo, above average drumming, and very strong vocals, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. The second track, "Father's Day", isn't quite as technical but it sounds just as good because the clean vocals are even stronger than they were on the EP's opening track.
While the first two tracks on The Predator were full of energy, "What I Never Learned In Study Hall" (which features Tyler Carter) almost seems like a rock ballad/interlude. However, this is by no means a bad thing; it just gives the listener more variety. Ice Nine Kills soon gets back to the style heard on the first two tracks, though, with my personal favourite titled "A Reptile's Dysfunction". This track is definitely the most full song on the EP, combining the excellent leads heard on the first track, the catchy cleans heard on the second track, and the strong screams heard throughout the EP. But wait...there's more! "A Reptile's Dysfunction" also features some ambient leads that are reminiscent of 'djent' bands like TesseracT and Monuments, and a huge breakdown!
The final track is a cover of Adele's "Someone Like You". In all honesty, I wasn't very fond of the cover at first because it sounds like something that should have been on Punk Goes Pop 5. However, as the song went along and the screams came into play, it slowly started to become more appealing to me. Even though it was becoming more appealing to me, I would have preferred if Ice Nine Kills left this cover off the EP. In an otherwise nearly perfect release, "Someone Like You" is the only weak spot.
The post-hardcore/metalcore genre is heavily over-saturated with mediocrity and The Predator was a very pleasant surprise, because simply put, Ice Nine Kills does this sound right. Instead of the typical "breakdown, chug, clean vocal chorus, chug, chorus, breakdown, chorus" formula, Ice Nine Kills throws in several eyebrow-raising leads and the drumming is spectacular. There is still a fair share of chugging and a few breakdowns, but everything is executed very well and usually accompanied by melody. If you're a fan of heavier post-hardcore (Like Moths To Flames, for example) with a touch of more technical metalcore (Oh, Sleeper), I suggest that you keep your eyes/ears out for Ice Nine Kills and their forthcoming release, The Predator.
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