Considerable doubt was cast over the future of CKY when long serving frontman Deron Miller departed the band in 2011 citing difficulties working alongside the other band members but since the less than amicable breakup the band have continued to create their first album since 2009’s Carver City entitled The Phoenix due for release on 16th June via Entertainment One Music (which may or not be a statement of rebirth or rising from the ashes), an album which sees the return of previous bassist Matt Deis to the fold as well as veteran guitarist Chad I Ginsburg stepping up to vocal duties.
CKY waste little time getting right back to where they left off with the opening track Replaceable that showcases their signature grungy, distorted guitar tones combined with punchy riffs and enticing anthemic vocal hooks making the immediate statement that they are back firing on all cylinders. Days Of Self Destruction quickly follows featuring the impressive acquisition of a guest feature and slick guitar work by none other than MASTODON axeman Brent Hinds but just as the adrenaline starts to flow and the nostalgia is kicking in unfortunately the momentum begins to derail rapidly from there onwards. The majority of the remaining tracks never really succeed in capturing the raw energy and catchy demeanour which CKY have made a staple of their sound for the best part of 20 years. The songs just feel very safe in their approach and fail to grasp your enthusiasm as much as previous releases which appears to one of the key goals of The Phoenix as CKY have stated that this feels more like the follow up to their most esteemed album Infiltrate.Destroy.Rebuild. Tracks The Other Ones and album closer Better Than Get Even do possess some key qualities that make a solid attempt to redeem the album with their high tempo and chunky bass lines but it doesn’t really feel like enough to give this album the killer edge or instil that feeling that you instantly want to revisit.
Despite it’s high points and Ginsburg‘s strong vocal performance The Phoenix doesn’t quite grasp the splendour of days gone by and gives the impression of a band that has become comfortable with their arrangement, not really willing to push their boundaries, perhaps with the fear of alienating their core fan base that has loyally followed their turmoil throughout their career. Perhaps if the songs were presented in a different order it wouldn’t give such a strong impression of it peaking too early in comparison to the rest of the arrangement.
The Phoenix is due for release on June 16th via Entertainment One Music
Like CKY on Facebook