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Bay area punk band Ceremony travels back to roots with newest album

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Bay Area band Ceremony broke out of the underground punk scene for their angst-filled intensity but then ventured off for a more mature and focused with their newest album

Fans of Ceremony know that they gradually changed their sound. They evolve their sound, with every album, by looking back at older variants of punk rock.

Originally, they were known for one to two minute songs filled with very fast drumbeats and guitars along with destructive vocals similar to the blunt powerviolence bands of the 1990s. By the release of their third album “Rohnert Park,” Ceremony embraced a more nostalgic sound similar to 1980s hardcore punk bands, like Black Flag and Circle Jerks.

Despite the divisive fan base when “Rohnert Park” released, Ceremony continued with the framework to help create “Zoo,” which also sounds much different than their predecessors. They have been aiming at being multi-dimensional in presentation and not a

This time around, the band embraced the era of punk where it was transitioning between the experimental sounds of post punk to the early stages of hardcore. Ceremony is able to evoke the nostalgic tone as if they existed in that time.

Songs like “Repeating the Circle,” “Hotel” and “Video” easily capture the isolating and hypnotic nature that recalls bands, such as Wire and Joy Division. The songs lack the straight forward nature of what the band recorded for their previous albums and instead pursue detailed song writing.

Instead of the one minute bursts characterized in their albums “Violence, Violence” and “Still Nothing Moves You,” the songs in “Zoo” have a more general song length. Ceremony lets the music flow instead of forcing it to last a certain length.

Vocalist Ross Farrar in previous albums sounded angry while discussing topics like his jail sentencing or how fed up he is of the static nature living in his home city of Rohnert Park. With “Zoo,” he is able to pull off a cleaner voice while still sounding raw and discussing his personal observation of how people live in the modern world.

Even if they sound light in comparison to their earlier releases, there are still some raw and heavy songs like “World Blue” and “Ordinary People” that people can mosh to.

Another aspect that makes Ceremony’s music unique is that it sounds appropriately rough and defies the norm of trying to be crystal clear. The dirty indie-rock production compliments the songs in “Zoo.”

Fans of Ceremony’s older records will unfortunately have some trouble listening to “Zoo,” but for those who have an open mind or like older punk music will enjoy this satisfying album.

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Bay area punk band Ceremony travels back to roots with newest album