It's hard to place exactly what, but Still Nothing Moves You is missing something. It's certainly not irony; Ceremony's Violence Violence and their followup 7", Scared People, certainly knew how to move people. If you saw the crowd at This Is Hardcore 2007, or the general ruckus they've been causing in VFWs, rental halls and shitty clubs across the country for the last few years, you have to wonder: Why the bitterness of their sophomore full-length's moniker?
Anyway, if there's disappointments to be had with the album, one might argue that the band went overboard on getting a raw recording. Abandoning Castle Ultimate Studios, where the band had recorded everything prior in their career, they chose to track the record with Dan Rathbun at Polymorph Recording in the band's home city of Oakland. Ross Farrar's vocals seem smothered by everything else, while the instruments themselves are muffled. It's definitely an ugly and grueling production job, but maybe too much so.
Musically, Still Nothing Moves You is a generally solid record with plenty of standout moments. Their bizarre instrumental interludes may not be as pacesetting or mesmerizing as they'd ideally intended, but Ceremony have further abandoned the fuck-all, one-after-another power-violence attacks to better vary their approach, nonetheless one still indebted to rabid mid-`80s hardcore.
And hey, if nothing else, the guest vocal spots are total highlights. When Sabertooth Zombie's Cody Sullivan comes in with his cue on "The Difference Between Looking and Seeing," the band offer a slow-down so methodical you'll want to punch through every piece of plaster in the room. Blacklisted's George Hirsch should provoke similar reactions when he makes his own very brief cameo concluding "Entropy: No Meaning Is Also an Answer," frustratingly screaming the most basic of ideas: "I won't find answers finding myself / can't find myself when there's nothing to find."
That might be another thing: Ceremony's lyrics have always been sort of silly, but certain moments on Still Nothing Moves You really take the cake and refrain from an otherwise apocalyptic nature that Farrar seems to narrate. How can you not crack up when he yells "Fuck the government with your fist"? The personification of religion in "He - god - Has Favored Our Undertakings" is both vehement and hilarious ("I won't be skull-fucked by faith / I am the upside down cross"); don't kid yourself, though -- next time you see the band, you know you'll be singing along to these very lyrics, albeit with a smirk.
Ceremony is a band consistently shrouded in mystery, and their new album largely keeps them on that course. Whether or not that's affected Still Nothing Moves You is debatable, but so is the fact that it offers plenty of material that will continue to move you, even if Farrar is rolling on the ground pulling his tank top over his eyes during an expertly etched hardcore firebombing or admitting he can't even feel his imagination.
The Difference Between Looking and Seeing
He - god - Has Favored Our Undertakings