A lot has changed since Ceremony recorded their 2010 album Rohnert Park. The band took on a new member (Andy from Paint it Black and Blacklisted fame) and moved over to hipstertastic Matador Records for their March 6th release Zoo. So how is one of my favorite hardcore bands latest release? Meh.
Let’s get this out of the way now, you will not find any of the blistering hardcore Ceremony is known for on Zoo. Singer Ross foreshadowed this with on Rohnert Park’s opening track “Sick” (“Sick of Black Flag/Sick Of Cro-Mags… Sick of hardcore”), but shit, you actually won’t find ANY hardcore on Zoo at all.
The 10 tracks have a very garage rock sound to them, and you can definitely hear some Pixie / Joy Division influences (I never thought I’d be saying that about a Ceremony record). Vocally, Ross abandoned the hardcore shouting in lieu for an incredibly reverbed, detatched calling.
The songs themselves aren’t bad, in fact they’re actually played incredibly tight, and there are a few gems on here such as Hysteria and World Blue. I also like the lyrical concept of the album (you can read about it on Ceremony’s website if you’re interested) but Zoo just lacks the edge and passion that made me love Ceremony to begin with.
If you liked Ceremony’s more experimental songs on Rohnert Park such as Terminal Addiction or The Doldrums, you’ll probably like Zoo, but as for me, Zoo just screams mediocre and boring. Maybe it will grow on me eventually or maybe I just need to hear the songs live (which I’ll be doing in April when they come around Philly), but right now I’m going to go listen to Violence Violence.
Ceremony – Hysteria