Overall Score: 10/10 Contagion: 10/10 Riffs: 10/10 Innovation: 10/10 Pros: A superbly composed collection of fresh approaches and nostalgic signatures. Cons: Could use a few more tracks
CKY rise from the ashes and return to incendiary form with their innovative fifth album ‘The Phoenix’.
Eight long years since ‘Carver City’ shared its secrets, ‘The Phoenix’ takes flight at a crucial time for a band that could so easily have disappeared into obscurity. Chad I Ginsburg takes the helm for the first time since Deron Miller’s departure and as such ‘The Phoenix’ is a commanding gesture of longevity – with Chad at the forefront of CKY’s bright future, they’re in capable, experienced hands.
Opening on the sass-athon of ‘Replaceable’ packed with attitude and a quirky riff, the West Chester outfit’s unique character and distorted guitars remain paramount. Meanwhile, ‘The Other Ones’ swaggers into the room with bold intent and blistering electrics as the unpredictable ‘Lies From You’ proves the most reminiscent of prime early ‘00s CKY as Jess Margera’s tireless sticksmanship comes into its own.
The gritty contagion of lead single ‘Days of Self Destruction’ brings back their unruly street reputation and wouldn’t feel out of place on their ever traditional skate videos, while ‘Unknown Enemy’ presents a brand new understated groove and a wholly welcome change of scenery. In stark contrast, the gritty ‘Wiping Off the Dead’ brings back the sinister factor in CKY’s own subtly intimidating way that we saw roaming ‘Carver City’ the last time this incredibly versatile band graced our ears.
The maturity of the last eight years shines through ‘Head for a Breakdown’, fuelled by an infectious riff from Chad. Taking such a drastic step so far out of their comfort zone has paid off immensely, down to Chad’s subtle chill-inducing closing whispers. The album draws to a close on a mostly atmospheric number, ‘Better Than Get Even’ comes packed with instrumental twists and turns, relying on Chad’s stunning guitar work to pull its elements together. With almost Dire Straits-esque electrics, the individuality of ‘The Phoenix’ hinges on these two daring tracks.
Now a beautifully effective trio, CKY are by no means running out of steam as they storm toward their twentieth year together. ‘The Phoenix’ is back in flight and not a moment too soon, CKY have so much fire left in them.
‘The Phoenix’ is available on Friday 16th June via eOne.