Ceremony - Topic

Zoo Play

With Matador Records diversifying their roster in the late 2000s to include hardcore acts such as Fucked Up, Ceremony switched from Bridge Nine Records (home to Agnostic Front and New Found Glory) over to Belle and Sebastian's label for 2012's Zoo. The Bay Area punk group's sound has undergone some big changes since their first album in 2006. Instead of specializing in complex, frenetic outbursts, Zoo hones in on the straight-ahead, overdriven crunch of classic punk. Easily mistakable for a trio due to their tight symmetry and bare-boned approach, the five-piece barely breaks midtempo, and appropriately, Ross Farrar's vocal approach is dialed back from a screech to a tuneful shout. Everything continues to feel heavy, though, and the abrupt stutter-stops of "World Blue," and the ripping one-two-three power chord punch of "Citizen" keep the band cemented in punk power and show that they can be unpredictable, even when they're reeling it in. Even in the album's breathing points -- the raw ballads "Video" and "Hotel" -- Ceremony still sound like the most aggressive, confrontational group to show up on Matador's roster. ~ Jason Lymangrover, Rovi

Still, Nothing Moves You Play

A band that lists Joy Division, Suicidal Tendencies, Pink Floyd, and Tom Waits as its chief influences is not something you come across very often. But there's a first for everything -- welcome to the wild and unpredictable world of Ceremony. On their 2008 release, Still, Nothing Moves You, the Bay Area-based group mixes all these aforementioned varied influences into a blender and comes up with a hard-hitting style that is quite comparable to the freak-out cacophony of bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan. The whole album is one non-stop bludgeoning of sonic fury; pick any selected cut ("He -- God -- Has Favored Our Undertakings" is a particularly pleasant little ditty, sporting the jolly old lyric "I won't be skullfucked by faith!"), hit play, and simply run for cover. As heard throughout Still, Nothing Moves You, Ceremony are all about unpredictability and the sonic crush. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
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