An Answer Can Be Found
CKY have been my favourite band for a good few years now, and their past releases Volume 1 and Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild have always been in some sort of rotation in my CD collection. The songs are driven by the riffs and vocals of Deron Miller, who is one of the most original guitarists I've heard. Backing him up on drums (and more often than not doing a damn fine job of it) is Jess Margera, brother of the now infamous Bam, and guitarist/producer/madman Chad Ginsburg. Volume 1 was a greatly varied piece of work, incorporating all kinds of styles onto one CD, whereas IDR was a more straightforward riff/chorus affair. Over the three year wait for this CD CKY promised it would be the best work of their career, with the main difference being the solos that hadn't appeared on a CKY record before. It was with enormously high expectations I got hold of this, looking to see how it ranked next the V1 and IDR (which I rank equally high).
1. Suddenly Tragic - 4:54
Sweet little drum intro, followed by a very nice, very recogniseable CKY riff. Vocals are classic Miller, his voice is as good as ever. Lyrics are entertaining, with some very cool little lines including the album's title "an answer can be found". Pre-chorus is fantastic, catchy as hell, with a typical fast CKY riff. Chorus is a more melodic affair, with Miller's voice soaring in places, and ending with a ball-shredding scream. Very cool. Another verse and chorus, each with equally intriguing lyrics, with the pre-chorus sounding a little harsher second time round. Solo is actually pretty good, nothing majorly technical or impressive, but I'll be damned if it doesn't sound great and fit this song perfectly. Another pre-chorus and chorus. Verse riff finishes off the song in style. In all, it's a very cool song, with a very familiar feel to it, whilst still sounding different to their older material.
2. The Way You Lived - 3:50
Nice intro riff, with the drums coming in shortly after. Slower than the last track, but the riff going under the verse is just as catchy. Deron's voice is excellent, and the way the verse morphs into the chorus is excellent. The song isn't exactly as great as the last, but the quite breakdown and following riff after the first chorus get it back on track. It's definately a solid track, with song very cool lyrics (and some not so great ones). Chorus is something of a let down after the verses, but it's not really bad. Another quite bit, which sounds as great the second time, with that sweet riff and it's into an unusual sounding solo. Very good though, the solo and the rythm behind it quickly build to a climax which works prefectly. Another chorus, and this song is done with a feedback fadeout. I like this track, and if the chorus had come off a little different I would probably rate it another 5/5, but as it is it doesn't have that awesome feel.
3. Dressed In Decay - 3:15
Right into a vocal verse, interesting lyrics, cool riffing after the vocals stop, very CKY. Back into the vocals, and the underlying rythm riff is perfect for the chorus. Very listenable song. Picks up a bit going through the second verse, which is also great. Melodic, but still with that riff-based CKY feel. The guitar riffs are great here, not too fast, and damn catchy. Bridge after the second verse is a little weird, with some strange effects on the guitars, but it's a nice pause before we hit the chorus again. I like this song a lot, it's got an excellent chorus and is backed up by solid verses. No real solo, which is a shame, and the bridge is a throwback to older CKY stuff, but neither of these has a negative impact on the song overall.
4. Familiar Realm - 3:55
Another slower song. The rythm riff is entertaining enough., the lead sounds a bit odd. The verse is alright, nothing spectacular. The riff behind it is nothing on the madly catchy stuff they've done previously. The chorus makes up for it, with a slightly different riff, and the vocal hook is great, brilliantly done. The "break down, carry on line" after the chorus is a bit odd, but it works. The solo is great. Effects laden like the rest, but with a little speed, and a very good ending. Fits perfectly. Another verse, another chorus, and a fade-out. Not a stand-out track, but decent all the same. Solid, nothing more.
5. All Power To Slaves - 3:28
Very cool intro riff. Bouncy, catchy, and still down to earth, as much sense as that makes. Basically, it sounds awesome. One you'll be looking up tabs for ASAP. Verse vocals fit perfectly, with the lyrics complimenting the music very well. The word "fall" is held as the song changes pace to a slower, palm muted affair with some sounds going over it. The slowdown for the chorus, isn't bad, doesn't ruin the song at all. A sung "all power to slaves", then back into another verse, then chorus. Up next is the solo, which sounds far better than the others on the CD so far. It has it's fast moments, and it's nicer moments, and generally is bloody brilliant. Another chorus, this time ending with a primal scream of "all power to slaves", ending the song very well. This is definately a highlight track, though I can't help but feel it would have sounded all the sweeter if Deron had ended each chorus with that yell before that intro riff kicked in again. Great song, great solo from Chad.
6. Tripled Manic State - 3:23
Another kickass fast riff starts this song, with a slower, yet still heavy and cool as hell riff coming in, and then another sweet riff. This song has some of CKY's best guitarwork yet, if not ever. Brilliant. Deron's voice comes in slowly and sounds amazing here. Almost yelling, something he's always done well, but another slowed down chorus. What's with all the slowed down choruses on this record? Is this metalcore or what? Back into more riffing, and another great verse with that sweet guitar riff, and Deron's voice shining. Ends with a scream, which I love to here from Miller. Chorus again, with another sweet as hell solo, which is really far too short, it's nothing more than a very cool fill. Verse segment, and end with a scream. Well done guys, another great piece of work. The constant chorus slowdowns really start becoming apparant here though, even tedious. Still a high scorer.
7. Behind The Screams - 1:34
A short acoustic piece. Sounds fingerpicked. Interesting little interlude, not something I was expecting from CKY. I'm not going to rate this, because at 1:34 it really isn't anything more than a quiet filler.
8. Deceit Is Striking Gold - 2:59
Groovy as hell. Riffs and vocals mesh perfectly, and sound fantastic. Bouncy, catchy, groovy, outright goodness. Very different to the usual CKY stuff. I love it. Chorus is again more melodic, but sounds excellent here. My favourite song on the album. Bridge is excellent, slow yet not, followed by the best riff on the record before another verse. I can't describe how incredibly cool this song sounds. It's almost heavy, but nowhere near slow or too melodic. Another chorus and another sweet riff, another one that makes me want to pick up my guitar. Another chorus (yes, that's four) and it's done. No solo, but some absolutely genius riffs, insanely catchy melodies, and lyrics have never fit so prefectly with the music they're being sung to.
9. As The Tables Turn - 4:08
Back to a heavier sound, with an industrial sounding riff opening it, very quickly joined by vocals. Riffs are alright, nothing outstanding. The vocals are very melodic, and go well over what's being played. The pre-chorus is great, with some excellent lines sung by Miller (what I think is the pre-chorus, it has a fast-ish riff going under it). Nothing to shout about, but this is still a very cool sounding song. Includes the line "the butcher's hand", the original title of this album. Another slower chorus (seriously, what's going on here?), and another cool verse and pre-chorus. Solo is short, simple, and nothing brilliant. Fits nicely, nothing more. Long outro, with "as the tables turn" repeating over and over. Nothing fantasic, but nothing actually bad. Just raises itself above mediocre with some interesting riffing in the middle of the song.
10. Sniped - 3:17
Nice heavy, cool riff brings it in. Heaviest track on the album, and it sounds sweet. Growled vocals go great over the palm-muted riffs making up the verse. Chorus is excellent, very cool riff, sounds very brutal. You can here Miller's death-metal influences here, whilst retaining some of the CKY sound in the chorus guitar. This really sounds nothing like the rest of the album, and probably wouldn't sound like CKY without the signiture guitar sound and the melodic portion of the violent chorus riff. The bridge slows the song down considerable, with a fairly dull solo going over it, sounded a lot like the moogs on previous CKY CDs. Ends with a nasty, vicious one-liner. This really does sound nothing at all like CKY, which isn't necesarrily a bad thing, just unexpected. It's a cool track, but it doesn't fit with the feel of the rest of the album. Then again, variety has always been something prevalent in an excellent CKY record; Volume 1's tracks varied greatly from just one to another. Heaviest thing I've heard from CKY, and definately not bad.
11. Don't Hold Your Breath - 4:02
An acoustic, quiet number rounds off this album much like Close Yet Far did the last one. Intro reminds me very slightly of Metallica's acoustic work. This song sounds a little cheesy, more so than CYF, with some nice little vocal harmonies. The chorus is very reminiscent of Close Yet Far, but doesn't hold a candle to it. Lead interlude follows the chorus, and it's back into another verse. Lots more vocal harmonies that vary from sounding cool to outright cheesy. Chorus kicks in again, and is slightly fiercer, leading into another lead interlude, then a full on solo. The solo is actually pretty good, fits the song well, with some harmonising at the end. Short, sweet, and to the point. A final chorus comes in, repeats, and ends the album. Nothing spectacular, doesn't have the heart-wrenching feel that CYF did (which I think is something they tried to re-create for this song), but it works.
So was it worth the torturous wait? Yes. Did it live up to everything I'd expected? Hell no. I was expecting the CKY equivalent of Master Of Puppets or Rust In Peace, and it's definately not the defining moment in music I was hoping it would be. What is, however, is an excellent record, with a good few standout tracks, and a few embarassing moments. It's easily up there with Volume 1 and IDR (both excellent records), and though it does show progression from IDR, this progression seems to be "add effects-driven solos and give lots of songs slow choruses". Although these work great with the old CKY formula to give fans something fresh yet familiar, this is not a record to draw in new fans by the truckload. But this isn't a bad thing, as it shows CKY are sticking to their guns and putting out the music they and their fans love, while varying it enough to make it worthwhile to pick up more than one of their CDs. This is one of those CDs that does grow on you with each listen though, so don't just spin it and throw it away if it doesn't click straight off.
Bottom line, if you like CKY then this should definately be in your collection ASAP. If you've never heard of CKY and are interested in hearing what all this talk of riffing is about, then it might be worth trying to check out some of the better tracks (All Power To Slaves, Suddenly Tragic) and picking it up if you develope a fondness for them. If you didn't like CKY before, this isn't going to change your mind, and I (and probably the rest of the Alliance) wouldn't have it any other way.