It was just a few years after they formed that I got into the Cryptkeeper Five.  My buddy Jack Arnone had joined the group as their bassist so I used to go to see him play.  It always helped that the band constantly played at some of my favorite bars.

I really liked CK5.  I thought they were a lot of fun (especially what they wore in those early days) and had an amazing kick-ass rock/punk sound.  I played their albums Trenton Makes The Cryptkeeper Five and The Rise of the Palace Depression more times then I could count.  But then?  I sort of stop listening to the local music scene.

Just within the past year or so I found myself coming back to the Trenton music scene – first pulled back by Honah Lee and then getting into groups like Alpha Rabbit, Meeko Brando, Molly Rhythm, and more.  So when I heard that Cryptkeeper Five were releasing their newest album The Stronghold, I was pretty damn excited to hear what Trenton’s most famous band sounds like in 2017.

The short answer is they sound good. They sound damn good. They sound really fucking good. Fuck it – I’m going to say this is probably the best the group has ever sounded.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Released on August 26, 2017 – The Stronghold is CK5’s NINTH album and this album moves at supersonic speed.  Almost every song meets the car test (crank the volume all the way up, roll all of the windows down, rock the fuck out) and that is because the whole album is solid.

Let’s take the song Ignite for example.  Ignite is the best song of all the great songs and listening to it at full blast makes me want to take the streets in protest.  I want to jump right into the mosh pit and headbutt every single person in there.  It makes me want to shout as I sing along.  It makes me want to set things on fire.  Not only is it the best song on the album but it might just be one of the best songs this group has ever put out.  How many songs out there can instill that sort of excitement?

There’s two MadDog 20/20 songs (I could really go for a Strawberry Kiwi).  The first one is MadDog 20/20 No. 2 and it kicks off the album in grand fashion.  It is quite a raucous tune and really sets the tone for the rest of the album.  The album ends with a different version of the same song – titled MadDog 20/20 No. 1.  This is an extremely slower version of the song which is a duet with some amazing female singer.  I would totally credit this astounding voice but, as of yet, I am unable to find credits for the album and who she is.  Whoever you are – you made this track pop. (ED NOTE: The amazing singer is Amy Adele and she totally rocks.  AMY YOU ROCK). Following Ignite this incredibly slow version of MadDog 20/20 is my second favorite track on the album.  It is so very different then everything else on the album and that might be why it stands out from everything else.  On an album where each track shoots at you like a bullet the slow up at the very end comes as a shock.  Once you are over that shock?  You can truly appreciate how beautiful the track is.

This is one of those albums that I almost feel like I need to, once again, bust out the thesaurus because there really aren’t enough synonyms for “fucking amazing” that come to mind.  Look – this album is incredible from front to back.  As there isn’t one bad song in the bunch it just sails so smoothly.  I would kill to hear CK5 play this whole album live from front to back.


Is there anything bad about the album? I’m going to say yes. But my complaint is very minuscule as I feel the album is too short. There’s 10 songs total on the album which comes in at a mere 33 minutes. Now when you are doing punk most punk songs are going to be…shorter. That’s just the genre. But as I personally consider CK5 more rock/punk I would have been okay with a few longer songs. Don’t want to make longer songs? Fine…give a brother MORE songs!!!

With The Stronghold’s release I am officially back in total love with Cryptkeeper Five again. It really feels like it has been a couple months since I heard an album that really blew me away. The Stronghold easily accomplished that. It really shows the resiliency of the band and how they’ve continued to grow musically as a band. Cryptkeeper Five has never sounded better and my hat is off to Johnny Ott and the rest of the band.  The group also released a vinyl of The Stronghold –  something that I MUST acquire.


You can find Cryptkeeper Five’s The Stronghold on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and right on their website:

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