August 8, 2011

Album Review: Ceremony's 6 Cover Songs EP


The calendar year still says 2011, but one of modern hardcore's best acts, Ceremony, should be on your radar by now as the band to play very close attention to in 2012. Just last year, they released Rohnert Park, an innovative, genre-transcending album that earned them the high honor of placing second on AwkwardSound's Best Albums of 2010 list. Since then, the DIY punks who have seen most of their outputs released on venerable Boston hardcore label, Bridge Nine, has signed on to join the outstanding roster at Matador Records, who will release their fourth LP sometime next year. While Matador is currently home to much tamer independent artists such as Sonic Youth, Cold Cave and Interpol, Ceremony will be beefing up the label's hardcore contingent by joining their contemporaries, Fucked Up, who has seen their star rise by leaps and bounds since teaming up with the indie powerhouse. Before that happens, however, Ceremony is delivering one last swan song for the label who put them on the map -- and doing so in a fashion that let's the music world know they remember where they're rooted.

The 6 Cover Songs EP is exactly as it sounds: A covers album where Ceremony unleashes their growling multi-dimensional hardcore style on "classics" by bands who've influenced their sound. It should come as no surprise that the EP starts off in typical riot-like fashion with the all-too-fitting cover of "Public Opinion," originally done by short-lived '80s New York hardcore act, Urban Waste. In conjunction with takes of Crisis' "Holocaust" and Vile's "5 to 10," it's a no brainer that Ceremony has been brought up on a steady diet of powerviolence that continues to inspire their ferocious sound today.

There's also the more left-of-the-dial picks, too, that remind us that even though the Bay Area band is in most instances consumed by a sound of fury, they have an appreciation for music outside the hardcore scene. They do just that when they flex their underlying indie rock muscle with a gruff and clanky version of The Pixies' classic, "Nimrod's Son" as well as melodically heavy spins on OC punks, Eddie and the Subtitle's "American Society" and "Pink Flag" by UK post-punk mainstays, Wire.

Ceremony's 6 Cover Songs EP doesn't necessarily reinvent the wheel on these songs nor do any of these tracks surpass the quality of the band's own music, but despite it's varied spread of influences, the EP as a whole is consistent in that it's equal parts Ceremony as well as the musicians they're paying homage to here. That's as much as you could ask for in a covers album by the impending next big thing.


Ceremony's 6 Cover Songs EP will be released August 9, 2011 on Bridge Nine Records.

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