Alternative Metal, Stoner Rock, Post-Grunge, Skate Punk
June 16 2017
Chad I Ginsburg – Vocals/Guitar/Synths
Jess Margera – Drums
Matt Deis – Bass/Synths/Backing Vocals
CKY’s fifth album, The Phoenix, is a wild ride from start to finish, going from a full throttle adrenalized race to a nice slow black Sunday ride in the park. Jess Margera, sums it up perfectly when he says “We made sure that we went into the studio with our guns blazing”…”We didn’t ‘have to’ make this album, we wanted to.” Sticking with this theme the guys in CKY deliver an album that breaks the genre molds and goes all over the board. No matter where your musical sweet spot lies, this album has a song/sound for almost every listener.
CKY is a 3 piece band formed in 1998 hailing from Chester, PA. Guitarist, vocalist and co-founder Chad I Ginsburg delivers amazing vocals, ranging from gritty and dirty to smoky and melodic. Ginsburg also offers you phenomenal guitar solos in abundance on this album, making it reminiscent of many 80’s bands and their epic guitar solos. The bands co-founder Jess Margera packs a hard hitting punch banging out the beats on the drums as he has from the start. Finishing up the trio is Matt Deis (formerly-All That Remains) on bass, laying down heavy riffs and contributing the backing vocals to this album. The group is probably best known for their head bobbing, catchy tune, “96 Quite Bitter Beings” that was used in the popular MTV production Jackass and Tony Hawks Proskater 3 video game.
The band’s latest release The Phoenix offers 8 tracks that deliver a very different and unique sound with each song. It is noticeable from the start that this album does not have an over produced sound; it is raw and rough throughout and puts the listener in mind of being at a live performance. Maybe this is in part due to where the album was recorded, in the Joshua Tree desert in the infamous Rancho De La Luna studio in California. Margera was quoted as saying “It’s one thing reading about the vibe at Rancho and then it’s another thing to actually go out there and make an album.” He goes on to explain the reason for recording where and how they did stating “Listen to a Zeppelin or Pink Floyd song and put that up against the copy/past albums that are just snapped into a ‘grid’, or whatever. There’s no comparison.”
The album takes off with “Replacable,” a foot tapping infectious song, loaded with the aforementioned guitar solos having you singing along with lyrics. “Days of Self Destruction,” the first available release off of this album can be streamed and downloaded on various apps and web sites now. “Head For a Breakdown” is another track that has so many different levels that it shows the true expansiveness of this album. This song along with “Replaceable” is absolutely on the top of the list of must listen to songs on this album.
If it is a grittier, raspier sound you have in mind then may I suggest the metal sounding hymn “Wiping off the Dead.” It has dark undertones coupled with a rhythmic groove that again is versatile and will have you head banging or dancing to its murky sound. The closing track “Better Than Get Even” is a psychedelic, industrial sounding jam that again shows the versatility of the band and of this entire album. The 8 CKY songs on The Phoenix is a proverbial roller coaster, with you the listener never knowing where you may end up next. Even the more melodic groove-ridden radio friendly songs don’t make this metal head want to switch to the next track.
All and all this album is an excellent testament to what years of hard work and commitment can produce. Ginsburg was quoted as saying “We’re grown adults now with an eagle-eye perspective on who we are, what we do, and how to do it right. None of us are out there in the clouds.” This is evident in this album from start to finish. With the uniqueness of each song on this album, one can tell it was well thought out and executed. I would give this album a definite thumb up and a 4 out of 5 star rating. But decide for yourself and give the album a listen when it comes out next month on June 16. Also if you love the album make sure to check out the CKY tour dates also coming in June.