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Ceremony - In the Spirit World Now

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In the Spirit World Now

Ceremony

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Six albums and over a decade in, California quintet Ceremony made jarring change the only constant in their ever-shifting approach. They began in the mid-2000s as a seethingly violent hardcore band, complete with screamed vocals, blastbeats, and 30-second songs. By the next decade, Ceremony's power violence beginnings were largely unrecognizable from the Wire-modeled post-punk of 2011's Zoo and the Factory Records-steeped goth rock of 2015's The L-Shaped Man. Four years later, sixth album In the Spirit World Now finds Ceremony reinventing their sound yet again, with ambitious arrangements and dense upbeat rock songs that lean more towards synths and sleaze than anything the band has done before. Dance-forward tunes like "Further I Was" and "Years of Love" prominently feature interplay between synth and guitar, with ferocious vocal shouts and a swaggering essence that make the band sound like Spoon covering Tubeway Army. When this approach works, it can be fantastic, as on the Chelsea Wolfe-aided title track or the moody "I Want More." When this style doesn't quite land, the band recalls the electroclash trend of the early 2000s. They achieve their best results when they split the difference between new wave synth pop and the darkly drawn post-punk they explored on their last few albums. "From Another Age" is the best example of this, as it taps into shadowy goth punk guitar lines and tormented vocals while building on a liquid synth pattern. Ceremony's arrival at In the Spirit World Now follows a similar trajectory as contemporaries Iceage, who morphed from their jagged punk roots into something more refined and musically rich by the time of their 2018 album Beyondless. Ceremony's vision is less inspired if more produced. They fare better as a dancey new wave party band than they did emulating Joy Division on their album before this, but for all its energy and drive, Spirit World is light on truly striking songs. ~ Fred Thomas

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In the Spirit World Now

Ceremony

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1
Turn Away the Bad Thing 00:04:02

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

2
In the Spirit World Now 00:03:14

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

3
Further I Was 00:03:34

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

4
/ 00:00:18

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

5
Presaging the End 00:04:21

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

6
Say Goodbye to Them 00:02:28

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

7
We Can Be Free 00:02:24

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

8
// 00:00:17

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

9
Years of Love 00:02:13

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

10
Never Gonna Die Now 00:01:16

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

11
I Want More 00:02:35

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

12
From Another Age 00:02:41

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

13
/// 00:00:11

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

14
Calming Water 00:02:42

Ceremony, MainArtist

(C) 2019 Relapse Records Inc. (P) 2019 Relapse Records Inc.

Album Description

Six albums and over a decade in, California quintet Ceremony made jarring change the only constant in their ever-shifting approach. They began in the mid-2000s as a seethingly violent hardcore band, complete with screamed vocals, blastbeats, and 30-second songs. By the next decade, Ceremony's power violence beginnings were largely unrecognizable from the Wire-modeled post-punk of 2011's Zoo and the Factory Records-steeped goth rock of 2015's The L-Shaped Man. Four years later, sixth album In the Spirit World Now finds Ceremony reinventing their sound yet again, with ambitious arrangements and dense upbeat rock songs that lean more towards synths and sleaze than anything the band has done before. Dance-forward tunes like "Further I Was" and "Years of Love" prominently feature interplay between synth and guitar, with ferocious vocal shouts and a swaggering essence that make the band sound like Spoon covering Tubeway Army. When this approach works, it can be fantastic, as on the Chelsea Wolfe-aided title track or the moody "I Want More." When this style doesn't quite land, the band recalls the electroclash trend of the early 2000s. They achieve their best results when they split the difference between new wave synth pop and the darkly drawn post-punk they explored on their last few albums. "From Another Age" is the best example of this, as it taps into shadowy goth punk guitar lines and tormented vocals while building on a liquid synth pattern. Ceremony's arrival at In the Spirit World Now follows a similar trajectory as contemporaries Iceage, who morphed from their jagged punk roots into something more refined and musically rich by the time of their 2018 album Beyondless. Ceremony's vision is less inspired if more produced. They fare better as a dancey new wave party band than they did emulating Joy Division on their album before this, but for all its energy and drive, Spirit World is light on truly striking songs. ~ Fred Thomas

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