MONDAY MOTIVATION: Ice Nine Kills

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If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

Before I was ever thought of as a music nerd I was a drama nerd. I was the kid in the back of his middle school math class who was repeatedly caught reading Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman instead of learning long division, and while Math may still be difficult for me at times I have no regrets. Great dramatic writing is only made better with innovative musical accompaniment, and unfortunately there is very little of that to be found in the world of music today. The bands who do offer it however, are often so good you almost understand why aspiring musicians never even attempt to find a similar sound.

I probably couldn’t tell you the first band I discovered that used what I would describe as ‘theatrics’ in their music, but I remember thinking it would spawn a musical revolution. The avant-garde nature of larger than life rock and roll is something that has left me in awe all my life, and it continues to grab my ear even in today’s overcrowded music scene. I wish I had a good reason for this, but it’s simply what I like, and I think if you give it a chance you will grow to love it as well. That is, if you don’t already.

New England has been considered a hub for many alternative sounds over the last century, and thanks to a group called Ice Nine Kills the home of the Patriots and Red Sox is quickly becoming known for a new take on alternative music that has genre fans losing their damn minds. It’s theatric rock like My Chemical Romance or Coheed and Cambria might produce, but its influenced by a wide array of post-2000s punk music that gives the group an undeniable edge that is incredibly hard to deny. It’s as if they have stumbled on a way to meld aggression and dramatics without coming across as simply trying too hard to get attention, even though that is exactly what they will receive when their new album arrives in stores later this week.

Every Trick In The Book is a 10-song collection of material inspired by some of the greatest novels ever written. Each track is based on material found in a different literary classic, and they’re each performed in a theatrical style that is entirely the creation of Ice Nine Kills. It’s part punk and part metal, with just a dash of pop, and damn near overloaded with thick synth/keys to make the accompaniment a little more epic. I fell in love from the moment the first song hit my ears, and I have continued to fall deeper in love with each repeat listen over the last month. The album will not released until December 4, but you can get a taste right now:

A lot of the Monday Motivation posts I have written were born out of a deep connection to the material or artists mentioned, but this entry is a little different. I have no connection to the band, and I don’t think the music necessarily moves me on an emotional level, but something about Every Trick In The Book  keeps me coming back again and again. The fact music like this is not only being made, but produced by a band with very little money or fame, is a reminder to me that the best thing you can do in life is whatever feels best to you. Art should be a reflection of self, and in the case of Ice Nine Kills their art is an unabashed open door into their reality. It’s the kind of honesty I think we should all strive for in life and art, and I hope listening to it will inspire you as much as it has me in recent weeks.


James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.