Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ceremony - Zoo

People don't start hardcore bands because they're happy. People start hardcore bands because they're dissatisfied with their lives, society, whatever. When Ceremony started, they played fast, short songs about anger and violence. It's hard to maintain the anger which fuels music like that.

The Ceremony on their new album, Zoo, is still easily identifiable as the same band that recorded Ruined and Violence Violence, but it's clear that the initial rage in those early records has died down into a somber acceptance that our civilization is sometimes good, sometimes bad, but always inescapably extensive. The insert that comes with the LP folds out into a poster with a collage of aerial photos. Looking closely, you see that it is made of the same photos repeated over and over, but cut differently each time. All the same, yet disconnected... an endless zoo in which we are all caged.

Zoo feels similar to Ceremony's last album, Rohnert Park, both in sound and theme. Some of the songs drone in repetition, others flare up in abrupt moments of residual anger.

Like Black Flag's My War or Poison Idea's Feel the Darkness, some fans of the band's early work may not appreciate this record. Others will see it as a logical next step for a band that reaches the limits of hardcore and keeps going, possibly even better than what has come before it.

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