Review Summary: Listen up kids, this is the best hardcore album of 2008. Aggressive, musically complex, and progressive, "Still Nothing Moves You" is a triumph on all cylinders.
I’m not going to lie; there are very few people in the hardcore scene who really want Ceremony to be the “it” band at this point. In the past three years, it is hard to say there has been a hardcore band given as wide and universal of praise in the music press as Ceremony; their first three efforts Ruined
, Violence, Violence
and Scared People
(each released successively through 2005-2007) won them many year end awards and earned Ceremony a huge following. However, after three years of everyone talking about them everywhere, you can tell certain people are beginning to wish for an end to Ceremony’s rise. Unfortunately for those people, Ceremony’s first LP on Bridge-9 Still Nothing Moves You
is the bands most accomplished and fully realized effort yet; 20 minutes of furious, oddly paced, experimental, heavy, and angry as hell hardcore.
While past comparisons to bands like Infest were common place talking about Ceremony, Still Nothing Moves You
begins to place them in a category all their own. There is a lot more punk-ish melody going on this time around, with less emphasis on fast thrash riffs all the time and more spacious songwriting. The songs are less spontaneous 30 second bursts of violence, and more well thought out 56 second bursts of aggression. The production underlines all of this, as the drums are no longer tinny messes and the guitars are pushed up in the mix, showcasing the bands evolving musical talent. While Violence, Violence
featured loud as hell riffs and abnormally high vocals, Still Nothing Moves You
lets the guitarists actually develop the songs with levels that don't make them sound like a mess of different forces colliding. Even the more throwback songs like "Twenty Four Hour Fever Watch" and "Unevent Pavement" have a distinct sound from earlier efforts due to the filled out tone the album has.
The real reason Still Nothing Moves You
shines is the musical maturity Ceremony have grown into. The album is meticulously paced, with slower droning interludes placed tactfully and fluidly in the midst of the furious riffs and vocals. Also gone is Ceremony's weak point of making iffy mid tempo songs; songs like closer "Learn/Without" achieve the same level of intensity as their faster, edgier surroundings while never needing to go into a breakneck pace. "Dead Moon California" is the epitome of what Ceremony attempt to accomplish on this record, a slowly building tenseness pervades the opening minutes as the bass dictates exactly what the song is about at any given moment; switching from a slow, crushing number to a swirling mix of guitars, drums and vocals that can only be described as "pissed off". It then goes into the more punk-influenced hardcore sound that fills out Still Nothing Moves You
, and the guitarists all interweave effortlessly as the vocals are more sublimely intense than ever before, unique in a good way. The lyrics are still pretty laughable ("I won't be skull fuc
ked by faith", "Fuc
k the government with your fists" are the highlights) and while there still isn't a line to rival "Pack your fists full of hate, take a swing at the world" to get the kids excited with on this album, at least we aren't treated to lyrics as awful as those found on most of the "Ruined" EP.
It's harder to describe Ceremony at this point than it ever has been, as they are truly attempting (and at most points, succeeding) to distance themselves from both their current peers and past influences with every consecutive release. On Still Nothing Moves You
, Ceremony can only be compared to themselves; a hardcore band with an evolving sense of melody, thrash-y but well constructed riffs, a bassist who has learned how to guide a song perfectly, a commanding drummer, and a singer who has arguably one of the most memorable voices in punk music today. Ceremony aren't for everyone, as their songs can come off as disjointed messes upon first glance and as juvenile nonsense to the jaded punx who make up the scene they play for, but it has never been more apparent then on Still Nothing Moves You
that Ceremony is the mother***ing band to listen to if you want to know what kids are going to be ripping off for the next few years.
P.S. As a final note that I did not add into my final draft is this album is epic as hell. Seriously, faggy post-rock bands ain't got nothing on this.