CEREMONY - Rohnert Park

Ceremony - Rohnert Park

13 songs
35:49 minutes
***** ****
Bridge Nine


Two years ago, I couldn’t help myself giving Ceremony’s album Still Nothing Moves You a maximum score. There may be a lot of bands trying to sound old school these days, but the Californian quintet not only rehashed old recipes, but did their very own thing with their ancient influences. Their newest record Rohnert Park goes even a step further, by digging even deeper into the earliest beginnings of hardcore music, when that genre was still much more infused with punk rock. As on the predecessor, the CD starts again with a four minute long cut, although this time it’s two pieces melded into one. Into The Wayside, Part I is a rather experimental yet inexplicably splendid intro that is taken over by the band’s single Sick, a scabby proto hardcore punk rock song with vicious vocals. From here on, hardly any song makes it over three minutes, with many even only about a good minute long. But there are always moments that allow for respite, as for instance the three minute long The Doldrums (Friendly City) which slows down the overall fast pace and makes for a nice change. Terminal Addiction may not even be two minutes long, but the weird bagpipe sounds give it a festive mood. Into The Wayside, Part II in the middle of the album also adds dynamic tension, while the concluding Into The Wayside, Part III ends the album on a quieter note.

If you subtract the blank space of the hidden bonus track, you are left with an half hour long masterpiece by one of today’s greatest hardcore bands from the world. This may seem short but is still quite a bit longer than their previous album. The hip youngsters of today might be at a loss with this basic, venomous hardcore punk sound, but I am absolutely certain that many of those who have grown tired of perfectly produced metalcore will be grateful for this rustic foray into the good old times when the music was defined by its spirit and not by an overly sophisticated production team.

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