Nor Cal HC Punk band Ceremony is about to release this six track CD of cover songs from the bands which have influenced them as a group; songs from Crisis, Urban Waste, Vile and others are laid down with true punk rock expertise.
Usually, I will review an album by speaking of the overall experience I had while listening to the album; often picking out one or two tracks to emphasize as great examples of the band's artistry, but in this case, Ceremony has done an impeccable job of bringing back to life a handful of the best punk songs ever and I guess the proper thing to do would be to walk you through this whole CD.
The album starts off with Urban Waste's "Public Opinion" and really gets the mood set for what's coming down the line.
It then feeds into the Pixie's classic "Nimrod's Son", bringing the full flavor of oldschool underground back with Ceremony's explosive energy. The whole album slips from one classic masterpiece into another with an incredible precision; it seems to flow like those rare mosh circles of old, the ones which were more tribal, heavy pushing but no smashing of faces, it's full of an aggression which is manifested in the strut and not Über violence... each new track doesn't throw the listener's emotional experience out of step from the previous.
This record so far feels like visiting an old friend who shares the same experiences from back in the day, a friend who would only pull out the choicest of vinyls to listen to while sharing a beer and talking of the "old days". Ceremony pulls out some true gems; the finest example of which has to be, for me at least, the third track "Holocaust" from England's legendary political punk band Crisis...I immediately recognized that twangy guitar intro; to say I was floored was an understatement, I cranked the volume up as far as it could go.
Then, once I had played the Crisis track a couple of times, it went into yet another incredible classic, this one from Orange County's Eddie and the Subtitles' "American Society".
Talk about bringing back the old days! I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes and could almost smell the acrid sweat of the southern California punk clubs I used to frequent in my youth.
Then, oh man, here it comes, the unbridled aggression with, and I couldn't believe it, one of 80's hardcore most controversial bands: Vile. The track "5 to 10", which I first heard back in '87 when a friend of mine from the east coast laid the "Solution" LP (1983) onto his record player, immediately changes the tone of the album into one of a pure punk rock assault; I mean how can it not, when throwing down a song from one of the most insolent and in your mugg east coast punk bands ever?
Once Vile had ripped through my mind, the album closes, with a surprise; Wire's "Pink Flag" which first appeared on that band's debut album of the same name back in '77. Though very much a part of the early British punk rock scene, these guys were much more complex, progressive if you will.
It's seemingly uncanny that they would place this track in the final slot, it acts almost like the winding down of your favorite toy, slowing the tempo in order to meet the inevitable which is the end of the disk itself. I have no idea if that's by chance or choice, but it works well.
Now I come to the part where I close the review with something to drive home the overall experience, but I am at a loss as to what to write; I suppose that all I can say is that the range Ceremony has hit with a mere six tracks is impressive, they have crossed the gamut of early punk history, from both sides of the pond and both coasts of the U.S., some of these songs people may not even be familiar with and it's a damn good album.
Oh, and just a note, this album will be available on August 9th, but you can pre-order this bad boy now. I also highly encourage you to check out their albums Violence Violence, Still Nothing Moves You and last year's Rohnert Park, if you like punk you're gonna love 'em too!
A little taste of what these guys are about: