Ice Nine Kills “Cant Help Falling In Love” Cover is Love At Its Loudest
Everyone has a memory of the first record they ever heard, that one song that every time it comes on, the nostalgia just pours out. Whether you heard your first song on vinyl or on your iPhone, nothing can ever replace those childhood memories. For me, I grew up in a family where classics ruled the world, whether it was Beethoven or the Beatles, it was all about the unforgettable sounds of the past. My father, in particular, had (and still does have) a little bit of an unhealthy obsession with the king himself: Elvis Presley. Whether it was multiple trips to Memphis, or just blasting the radio, Elvis’s music was everpresent. So call it cliché, call it old-fashioned, but the first record I ever heard was Presely’s iconic ballad “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.
Love it or hate it, Elvis’s 1961 single formed the foundation of America’s music culture. It is so ingrained into our collective brains that the minute anyone hears its name, they immediately can sing it back. Its melody is timeless, Its lyrics are iconic, and its magnanimity is undeniable.
But with any classic of classic’s comes the inevitable overplay, as people quickly become sick of the song after hearing it for the 10 gazillionth time, and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is absolutely no exception. Becoming more dated by the minute, this song is desperately crying out for reinvention. Many artists over the years have attempted to answer the call. From One Direction’s Zayne Malik to 21 Pilots, artists from every genre have attempted to pay homage to this culturally iconic tune. But most of these covers have fallen short, sounding more like organized transcriptions, lacking the artistry and soul required to resurrect a musical phoenix from the ashes of time. That is, until now.
Out of the leftist of left fields, the best cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” belongs to the genre of Metalcore. Edgy and dark, yet passionate and intimate, Boston-based heavy metal quintet Ice Nine Kills breathes new life into everyone’s parents’ favorite song.
I know what you’re thinking, heavy metal and love ballads mix about as well as oil and water, but like the greatest of odd pairings, the marriage of the two results in a song that feels anthemic and romantic, and still keeps you headbanging.
In classic heavy metal fashion, the drums are the first to enter, establishing an instantly infectious 6/8 waltz tempo that you can’t help but dance to. The vocals enter in empathic fashion, with Spencer Charnas’s iconically dramatic vocal tone crooning the legendary words
“Wise Men Say, Only Fools Rush In, But I can’t help falling in love with you”.
The original melody is kept intact, but this isn’t your father’s Elvis record. The full metal nature of this anthemic cover is put on full display during the iconic “like a river flows” section. The vocals go from passionate to simply gut-wrenching. In true metalcore style, Charnas’s voice becomes bloodcurdling-ly loud and raspy, and the instrumental immediately matches, filled with heavy guitars, a slow walking drum beat, and plenty of minor chords, everything a rock fan needs. I never knew I needed to have the words “Like a river flows Surely to the sea, darling, so it goes, some things are meant to be” shouted at me, but I am more than glad to hear it.
Overall, this record is true to form, as the lyrics and melodies are the same as the original, just injected with about a trillion volts of heavy metal energy.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this cover is the music video. As the self-proclaimed kings of “Theatricore”, Ice Nine Kills never fail to deliver a combination of haunting and gory visuals and undeniable punk flare. This video is no different.
It starts out tame enough, showing Charnas in dim lighting, dressed in a classic white tuxedo, very much in the style of Elvis. But that is where the similarities end. Quickly we are presented with images of blood, murder, and various other demonic images, as is the industry standard in metal. The whole video is seen through various lenses, including a memory book and a t.v screen, but this isn’t Saturday morning cartoons. Constantly we see lover killing lover, and visions of insanity.
I think my favorite part of the video is the constant motif of Charnas in a straight jacket. Throughout the video, we see him getting madder and madder. That might sound crazy (no pun intended), but isn’t that love? When I hear the words, “Take my hand, take my whole life too, for I can’t help falling in love with you,” I can’t help but think of just how absurd that is. Love is powerful, love is all-consuming, love is loud, and love is intense. In this sense, I can’t think of a better combination than love and horror.
Forget the roses and intimate lights, love is a little bit insane, and this cover displays that perfectly. If you thought you were sick of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” I can guarantee you have never heard it like this. Capturing the best of Elvis and the best of metal, Ice Nine Kills revive this legendary ballad in a way that feels even more romantic, if not a little bit deranged. This cover makes you wanna grab somebody and shout it from the rooftops that you love them with everything you are, and what’s better than that? Trust me, you will never hear this song the same way ever again, and I would not want to have it any other way.