Punk and hardcore are pretty traditional mediums. You veer a little to the left or to the right, it's inevitable your going to be branded a "sell-out". Sometimes the bands succeed (see Fucked Up). More often the bands fail (see Poison the Well). Ceremony is the perfect example of the former; a band who's continued to grow, credibility intact, in part because they're undeniably raw, and in part because they're just that damn good.
Ceremony's first two albums, Violence Violence and Still Nothing Moves You, were largely hardcore punk/thrash affairs, dissonant and unyielding in their punishment. Something interesting happened on their third album though. Rohnert Park demonstrated a controlled tension, a kind of beautiful anger, only reserved for the classics of the genre. Melody seeped in, best demonstrated on the Adolescents-influenced "the Doldrums". And not just melody. Each song was becoming it's own primal mover and shaker. "Into the Wayside", "M.C.D.F", and "Back in '84" were some of the rawest, angriest tracks I'd heard in years. I was starting to get the feeling that this would be a band that was going somewhere.
Intuition proved correct as the band was quickly snatched up by Matador, one of the top independent labels in the States. Not knowing what to expect I've been waiting (not so) patiently for that first full length to come in the mail, and, in the meantime finally caved and downloaded some tracks. At first, my reaction was kind of meh. But slowly, over the course of a couple weeks, I've begun to really dig these tracks. Supposedly, the album has a much more Sex-Pistols-ish vibe to it, which is ok by me. I continue to hear growth with each new song. Below is one of the new tracks. If your as swayed by good punk rock as I am, you'll go on Matadors site, and order this album right now. It doesn't come out until March 6, so you have more than enough time to get acquainted with their back catalog (Rohnert Park really), and see why I hype this band so hard.