Ceremony is a band in that can't be lumped into any specific category of simply punk and/or hardcore. Sure, they were named as one of the “100 bands you need to know in 2008” in Alternative Press. Sure, they've toured the US, Europe, Canada, and have Japan and Australia in their 2008 plans. And sure, they play fast, loud, aggressive music. But Ceremony is completely different. They don't care about bios, profiles, status, or anything else. If it was up to Ceremony, all you would see before the release of their upcoming Bridge Nine full-length, Still Nothing Moves You, is artwork and maybe some lyrics. Ceremony is not your typical up-and-comer in the punk and hardcore scene. Ceremony will take over the world - and they will do it on their own terms.
When Ceremony got started back in 2005, they didn't set out to become one of the best bands in contemporary punk and hardcore. Collectively, they were a group of guys who didn't know what else to do with themselves and practiced together as a band called Violent World. Eventually, their music was getting played faster and faster until Ceremony was formed. The Bay Area punk band began demanding attention in 2006 with the CD/LP Violence Violence, and it was an instant hardcore classic. Punknews stated “Quite frankly, [Ceremony] have created a modern hardcore masterpiece” and AP coined them one of 22 bands who won't stay underground for long. Shortly thereafter, the band started touring and played basements and clubs with the usual suspects. Eventually, they moved on to play shows with Bleeding Through and even getting a slot on the Live 105 radio shows with AFI. Not a bad start for a band who's songs barely pass the one minute mark and are just as fast and crazy as bands like Black Flag and Bad Brains.
The beauty of Ceremony is that it's not easy to pinpoint what influences them. Who knew that a band that has a 26-song back catalog that lasts less than 28 minutes in total named their band in homage to Ian Curtis? Ceremony is constantly reinventing themselves musically, and their broad influences like Joy Division, Pink Floyd, Negative Approach, Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies and Tom Waits are obvious reflections of that. Ceremony's vocalist Ross Farrar said, “Staying inspired is most important. We don't necessarily incorporate the sounds of the bands we like into our music, but those particular bands have a certain aesthetic degree of emotion that moves people. The minimalism and the repetitive qualities and the lyrical content is all very captivating, and listening to that sound evokes particular emotions in all of us. Whatever, though, we're just some punk hardcore people making loud sounds.” Equally as influential to Ceremony is the Bay Area of Northern California, where all of the members reside. Ross said, “Love is the Bay Area. It will always influence me. There's just something about it, you can feel it as soon as you cross the border.” Ceremony made the stunning Still Nothing Moves You, which has been looming on the horizon for the last two years. The wait was undisputedly worth it.
Still Nothing Moves You was recorded with Dan Rathbun at Polymorph studios in Spring of 2008 in Oakland, CA. Rathbun's previous work with Tragedy and From Ashes Rise was the perfect blend of a professional and powerful recording with enough grit that wouldn't compromise the vision of the band. The result is an album that takes hardcore and makes it unsafe and noisy. It's not a casual listen. There is a structure and penchant for arrangement that makes Still Nothing Moves You a 21 minute experience that is not just a blitz of 21 minutes at one speed, it is incredibly dynamic. From the brooding, discordant, and ominous intro to “Dead Moon California” throughout the album and ending with “Learn/Without” the band gives you time to breathe throughout, but it's not long before you're grabbed by the ears and shaken with shouts of “I sleep with women I don't deserve/wretched/unstable/vulnerable.” Still Nothing Moves You doesn't have singles and it doesn't have singing. With lyrics like “I won't be skullfucked by faith” (from “He-god-Favors Our Undertakings”), Still Nothing Moves You is pure venom and unrestrained anger. It's hard for a band to follow up with a new album after their previous efforts have been thought of as ‘a masterpiece', but after two solid years of plotting, planning, and writing, Ceremony made a record that will undoubtedly shake things up in an otherwise stale, predictable, and safe punk/hardcore scene. Get ready for Ceremony's Still Nothing Moves You when it's unleashed on August 5th, 2008.
Ross Farrar - Vocals • Ryan Mattos - Guitar • Anthony Anzaldo - Guitar • Justin Davis - Bass • Jake Cazarotti - Drums