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Camp Kill Yourself, better known as CKY, have been around for a while with a bit of a cult following. Perhaps they are best known for the fact that drummer Jess is the brother of TV and skate board star Bam Margera though as a band they have always had their own rather large following. The bands debut album, "Volume 1" was released in 1999 and followed several years later by the excellent "Infiltrate.Destroy.Rebuild" in 2002. Then came this album, "An Answer Can Be Found", their 2005 release and since then they've also released "Carver City".
"An Answer Can Be Found" featured 11 tracks, though only one was released as a single (despite the fact "Suddenly Tragic" was almost ready to released with a video), "Familiar Realm" which was the only track to have a video completed for it. Though not the bands favourite song from the album it was the driving force behind it's success however the loyal fans will be pleased to find out that the 11 track album is full of quality with many of the tracks actually being better than the single.
The quality of the album is shown straight away with the open track "Suddenly Tragic" a track that sounds much like their older tracks with a strong vocal track and a driven guitar based backing that may make the bands fans think of "Inhuman Creation Machine"from the previous album. Though the track didn't get released as a single it would have made a lot of sense from the stand point of the bands fans. This is followed by "The Way You Lived" another track that would have recognisable qualities to the bands fans though is a much slower track than it's predecessor with an almost heavy electronic feel to it's vocals. "Dressed In Decay" is much like the albums opening track and again fans of the previous album will love this almost instantly as the band seems to just tidy up their music slightly.
"Familiar Realm" track 4 on the album is a tidy track though not one that stands out as the albums driving force in terms of quality, instead it seems to just fade into the album as another track. Perhaps it's not as strong as some hoped, or maybe it's just the fact that the previous tracks are all equally as solid. Though the following track is arguably the best on the album, and shows the bands full potential as musicians with more range in tempo and sound than the previous tracks.
Though the album is generally solid alternative rock the most unfitting track is track 7 "Behind the screams", an instrumental track that's soft a soft guitar solo that just feels out of place and un-needed on the album. Thankfully it's only a short interlude before the album gets back to it's normal ways with the final 4 tracks of the album which include the fantastic "Don't Hold Your Breath" as well as the awful "Sniped". Which seems to be the band showing they can do heavy, sadly it just shows that the band can't do heavy and he track ends up being another disappointment.
Though the album is generally good, solid CKY stuff that the bands fan will like, "Sniped" and "Behind the screams" just don't add anything really to the album. Although "Behind the screams" is a nice clever piece it feels out of place and odd in the album of heavier harder hitting rock music. For the fans they will know what to expect for those that are looking for a rock album they can do better but they can also do much worse.
CKY formed in 1998 in the borough of West Chester, Pennsylvania. They create a brand of Rock music drawing in elements of experimental Rock and alternative Metal, and their moniker 'CKY' is actually an abbreviation of their full band name 'Camp Kill Yourself'. Having now released four albums, and a fifth set for release next year CKY are still going strong as a band, and will no doubt be around for some time to come. Since December 2006 they have been signed to Roadrunner Records, however from 2001 until the April of 2006 they were actually signed to the major label Island Records.
Ive never really been a particularly big fan of CKY, however have in the past found some of their tracks to be quite enjoyable. I didnt really know what to expect from this album as some of what I have heard of CKY has been extremely dull, so I was unsure as to whether the band would shine through or slowly fade into obscurity with this full length. I was prepared to give the band a chance with this album though, and hoped that it would provide me with some entertainment after all, some of their music has appealed in the past, so why not again? Sadly, 'An Answer Can Be Found' is an album devoid of any particularly memorable tracks and failed to appeal to me one iota.
If you take experimental stoner Rock music and then combine it with Metallica laden guitar riffs then you will get somewhere close to the sound of CKY. I dont consider myself to be a massive fan of Metallica, however I will give them the credit of being a hell of a lot better than CKY are on this album. They take the riffs, but they just dont pull it off in the way that successful metal bands do their music here lacks energy and just drones along, never really getting close to being at all exciting to listen to. Having listened to this album a number of times all the way through, I can honestly say that no tracks have stood out to me, and none of the eleven tracks present here stand strong in the memory. Sitting through the entirety of this album was quite a chore listening to this band really is tediously boring and I fail to see how anyone could possibly get enjoyment out of listening to the music of CKY. Every single track on this album sounds entirely identical to the last, any by the time the final track of the album comes around you just don't really care any more.
To name the stand out tracks from this album for me is an extremely difficult task. I truly found each and every single one of the eleven on display here to be as massively unmemorable as the last, but at a push I would probably have to say that it is the tracks 'All Power To Slaves' and 'Dressed In Decay' that hold the most appeal here. The appeal isn't exactly massive on these two, but it's perhaps a little greater than is evidenced on the other nine tracks at least.
CKY released this album on the major label Island Records, however I somehow doubt that they would even be signed to a remotely major label if their drummer wasnt the brother of TVs mad man Bam Margera. It is no surprise to me that the band were dropped from their major label in the April of 2006, and quite frankly I'm shocked that they managed to stay on the label for as long as they did. CKY are a band that have never got massive, but its not because they havent had the opportunity to its because their music is awful. I advise you to steer well clear of this album, they may have arguably 'famous' connections but it doesnt change the fact that their music is dire.
Label: Island Records
Release Date: July 4th 2005
Price: £9.19 (BlahDVD.com)
Originally posted by me on my website Alt-UK.com
Any fool could write a review here that begins or ends with words to the effect of there may be an answer, but this album is not it. There seems to be a habit amongst journalists who have encountered the arrogant self-assurance of guitarists Chad Ginsburg and Deron Miller to immediately dismiss the band with a sneering smugness; a typical knee-jerk reaction prompted by a fear of self-belief. What is more rewarding is to listen to the album in its entirety with the attention that the three years of hard work that went into it deserves. Trust me, you wont be disappointed.
It would be all too easy to dismiss CKY, but the weight of this album, their third, is undeniable. Both Miller and Ginsburg have touted this as the rock album of 2005, and while it may seem a little outspoken or ignorant to make such a claim, even the uneducated must realise that at the very least the band have some dedication and conviction in the music that they are making. In an era of faceless, generic pop-rock, this alone is worth its weight in gold. The other point in the bands favour is that they simply dont sound like anybody else out there, and the glorious fact of the matter is that these guys sure as hell have the tunes to back up that rock star attitude.
From the opening of Suddenly Tragic, a tingle races down the spine that lets you know that this album is something special. Pulling off mid-tempo rock songs without being boring is a skilled craft that CKY have spent years honing, and the jump in complexity and dexterity between Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild and this, their latest release, firmly cements the bands place as masters of their craft. Deron Millers grasp on melody has moved somewhat into the melancholic, which makes the sharp descents into sneering lyrical insults and blunt rhythm work stand out all the more. With opener Suddenly Tragic the familiar CKY guitar tone returns in full force but brings with it the kind of hypnotic, driving hooks that you want to listen to for days, a trend that rarely relents throughout the rest of the record. Miller and Margeras work with previous band Foreign Objects springs to mind, suggesting that perhaps Miller is finally writing the songs that hes always wanted to.
The band have obviously done some exploration and growth over the last three years, and each song on Answer twists and turns in often unexpected directions, frequently containing three or more different riffs and with the verse/chorus structure difficult to pin down. All Power To Slaves and Tripled Manic State drop into wonderfully understated sections; low end palm muting and clean vocals showcasing melody before power. Deceit Is Striking Gold recalls earlier work in the snarling attitude of the vocals, but even this is steps ahead of the verse riffs of songs past such as Inhuman Creation Station, taking a few listens for the riff underlying the verses to reveal itself. When book-ended between the bittersweet cascade of Dressed In Decay and the dark brooding of All Power To Slaves, first single Familiar Realm simply doesnt have enough substance to stand out, and although the band claim the label picked this as the single, in context it sounds all too much like it was written for it. The ending pattern of a high octane penultimate track coupled with a ballad-like closer has been improved on since the last album; Sniped packs a mighty punch of chugging riffs and snarls, while Dont Hold Your Breath aches with longing, more understated than Close Yet Far with touches of feedback enhancing the mournful sound.
Lyrically, Answer retains Millers aptitude for verbose lyrics that often leave the subject matter open to interpretation (The universe is stalled/But your standards still stand tall/Digression of the civilised preparing for the fall), which has always worked well with the mechanical-sounding guitar work. However, at times the lyrics allow a rare glimpse into honest, heartfelt emotions, most obviously on poignant closer Dont Hold Your Breath. Its a gamble that pays off well and allows the album a little more depth and sincerity. Introspective acoustic interlude Behind The Screams is further demonstration of a band maturing and no longer afraid to reveal something of themselves within their music.
Miller has always maintained that CKY play slowed down death metal riffs, and never has this influence been more self evident than on An Answer Can Be Found. Tracks like As The Tables Turn and Dressed In Decay astound with their melodic complexity and it isnt a big jump to trace such sounds through to At The Gates or In Flames. Millers talent and skill as a musician has also never been more exquisitely showcased. In light of this the decision to omit the keyboard flourishes scattered throughout Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild is understandable the riffs this time around stand tall on their own, backed perfectly by Jess Margeras quirky and spot-on drumming. Elsewhere, Ginsburgs restrained production values and squealing solos add a refreshing extra dimension to CKY and reinforce the expect the unexpected approach of the album. Millers advancement in terms of vocals makes his clean singing the perfect compliment to the aggressively challenging guitar riffage, although fans of the bands live show will surely be aching for an injection of the roughness and energy his voice has on stage.
Overall, there is remarkably little room for improvement here. Three years of writing and recording has resulted in a monster of a rock album with all of the right ingredients: diversity, complexity and melody. Subtlety and restraint maintain a consistent quality throughout, and as the logical evolution from Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild, this is the delightful sound of a band that have matured and finally found themselves.
Oh, and by the way, this is the answer you are looking for. Give it a listen, Im sure you wont regret it.
N.B. Originally posted to Amazon.co.uk and maybe some other sites as well - this review is my own work.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Suddenly Tragic
2 The Way You Lived
3 Dressed In Decay
4 Familiar Realm
5 All Power To Slaves
6 Tripled Manic State
7 Behind The Screams
8 Deceit Is Striking Gold
9 As The Tables Turn
11 Don't Hold Your Breath
12 CKY Enhancement