CKY – Modern Metal Masters

CKY (Camp Kill Yourself) is a Hard Rock/Metal band from Pennsylvania. They became popular with the skateboard scene in the late 90’s. In fact, when I was in high school, they played at a skate park not far from my home.

The band is decidedly horror-themed, following in the tradition of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and plenty of other metal bands. CKY is a bit different as they are not as concerned with speed and shredding (although, they are fully capable), but instead focus on heavy, slower rhythms and memorable guitar riffs. Additionally, CKY, even on their first album were experimenting with creating atmosphere with creepy ethereal tones.

With their second album, Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild, they began to sprinkle in synthesizers into their songs, making them more melodic and ear-catching.

Their third album, An Answer Can Be Found, further develops their unique sound with more synths and more virtuosity.

And finally, Carver City, which I have slowly come to realize is their best, was released in 2009.

The sound of the album is, I think, everything this band has been trying to achieve since they began recording albums. The riffs are heavy and thoroughly layered as I think possible. The synths also have multiple layers and picked to create a futuristic/horror environment reminiscent of John Carpenter films of the 80’s. The vocal harmonics turn makes each song have dynamic melodies throughout.

In short, I love this album.

Carver City, like every CKY album before it, starts with a song concerning the town of Hellview, Pop. 96.

“Hellions on Parade” begins with a screeching, hypnotic rhythm which sets the tone for the entire album. The song seems to be about a hellish uprising using political imagery like “rallies” and “agendas.”

This song has a cool bridge with a synth solo that sounds heavily inspired by older sci-fi genre films.

Even a reference to “the 96,” as being the “96 Quite Bitter Beings,” which was the name of their first song on their first album.  They have created a fictional town that has a continuous story developing across four albums.

The second track, “…And She Never Returned,” is a great horror story that sounds too real. Everything about the lyrics to this song makes it sound like a plausible abduction case or missing person story.

The sweeping synths in the background along with the slower pace really give this song an emotional edge. Last seen on Coyote Drive.

I really thought “…And She Never Returned” was my favorite track but it is always followed by “Rats in the Infirmary” and I can’t just overlook that. This song, I feel, deserves some sort of honor for being the biggest contribution to the genre in years.

I don’t know if this song is about anything other than what the title suggests, but I just know it’s great.  So there are rats in a hospital—whatever, man, I dig it.

These are just the first three tracks on the album. The rest follow suit and expand in interesting ways and always continue that signature sound the band established on their first album.

Each listener’s experience will vary. For example, if you never listen to heavy metal, you probably have no idea what I’ve been talking about.

But I do, and I think this is a great CD. It is always an amazing to hear a band you’ve listened to throughout high school and beyond evolve over time and continue to produce awesome music.

For all you Hard Rock fans, check out Carver City.