When a band returns there is always speculation and pressure as expectations rise born out of pure nostalgia. CKY are no different. ‘The Phoenix’ sees an end to a lengthy hiatus, and although times may have changed, CKY sound as current as ever.
Revisiting a sound that helped gain a fan base of unrivalled loyalty, ‘The Phoenix’ is truly triumphant. There’s no rust to shake off here, and from the top ‘Replaceable’ marks a return to their roots. Bluesy yet ballsy, CKY power on with brash rock n’ roll reminiscent in places of 80’s hair metal mixed with grunge and a whole lot of heart. Now down to a three-piece, it’s clear that long time guitarist Chad I Ginsberg was made to provide vocals in CKY. His powerful voice carries every melody with guts and determination.
‘Days of Self Destruction’ kicks with huge riffs and self-indulgent solos provided by friend Brent Hines (Mastodon). Although the throwback fadeout comes with abruptness, this leads to ‘Unknown Enemy’ and ‘Head For A Breakdown’, a song that does exactly that in true Avenged Sevenfold ballad fashion, laced with acoustic guitars and showing a tender side of CKY seldom seen.
The funk undertones of ‘The Other Ones’ show how eclectic the influence are, performed in a style individual only to CKY. ‘Wiping Off The Dead’ and ‘Lies From You’ provide more riffs made for huge stages, and album closer, ‘Better Than Get Even’ provides a real exclamation mark to the sentence CKY are back!
It’s fair to say that many revival bands can’t match previous successes but with a welcome ode to earlier work and a shake-up in the vocal department, ‘The Phoenix’ is a poignant return sure to ignite a new age for the “CKY Alliance”. CKY were never just a band, they were a way of life. Although they have some catching up to do, ‘The Phoenix’ offers a powerful outlet to get back to doing what they do best.
‘The Phoenix’ by CKY is released on 16th June on Long Branch / SPV.
Words by Jay Harrison (@Just_Jay_89