Ceremony – Rohnert Park LP

June 26, 2010

Ceremony LP"Rohnert Park" was perhaps this Summer's most anticipated Hardcore Punk release and it shows Ceremony moving into new sonic directions that have thrown some fans for a loop. If Ceremony's greatest weakness on previous releases was sticking too firmly to formulas, they have managed to move on from this trap. This concept album focuses on the emptiness that comes with growing up in a small town and the self destructive behavior that boredom leads to.

The album opens with a short instrumental track that has a surf feel to it and then goes into "Sick," which was released as the A side to the first single for the album. "M.C.D.F." brings to mind Government Issue's "Hey Ronnie" with its choppy beat and snotty vocals and for the most part the album alternates between this same G.I. vibe and a darker "Dance With Me" era T.S.O.L. approach. "The Doldrums" in particular seems to borrow a lot from T.S.O.L.'s "Silent Scream." Although "Back In '84" is a bit over dramatic with its "life is misery" lyrical approach, it is probably the most rocking tune and is sure to please the band's balls to the wall type Hardcore fans. "Into the Wayside Part III" closes out the album and is perhaps Ceremony's boldest musical gesture with vocalist Ross Farrar singing with a melancholy voice over a clean guitar in a tune that is mellow enough to appear on a Radiohead or Joy Division album.

While the Ceremony's approach that seems to say that "the more disturbing something is the better it is" does occasionally get a bit old, over all this album shows that they are earning the hype that has surrounded them for so long. It's great to see a Hardcore band challenging their listeners in 2010 as all too often bands seem to be happy with pleasing the status quota these days.

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