ALBUM REVIEW: Ceremony – In The Spirit World Now

Release Date: August 23rd 2019
Label: Relapse Records


If you were around for the early days of cult heroes Ceremony, complete with fury and incendiary live shows, it was virtually impossible to have foreseen the left turn that they’d choose to take over the years.

They’ve gradually moved from their scrappy beginnings into a completely different beast altogether, these days taking far more inspiration from 1980s post-punk and new wave, as opposed to powerviolence. Their sixth album, ‘In The Spirit World Now’, arguably heralds a completion of this 180-degree turn.

Faster than you can say Joy Division, ‘Turn Away The Bad Thing’ opens things up fantastically. The bass line offers a lot of energy, and at the same time the synth lines help to offer a sun-drenched, optimistic mood to the song, and the synth-led break is gorgeously executed, with the ever-versatile Chelsea Wolfe helping to offer respite with a guest vocal spot.

With the title-track, there’s a yelped vocal from Ross Farrar. It’s far more controlled than on their debut ‘Violence Violence’, for sure, but there’s enough energy from the vocal delivery, as well as the band, that means this album can sit nicely alongside Turnstile‘s and Show Me The Body‘s most recent efforts. The hook game is strong in this track, and the same also goes for both ‘Further I Was’ and ‘Presaging The End’. The spoken-word interludes appear to sum up the nature of the record, too – letting loose and giving into the thrill.

‘Say Goodbye To Them’ also continues in the vein of what’s come before, as summer turns into autumn, this will offer a to drink in the last of the sun rays.

The only real criticism is that around the half-way point of the album, you feel like you know what to expect. This could be perceived as wearing their influences too firmly on their sleeve for some. Although, the middle of ‘I Want More’ features a more atmospheric section led by a dominant, slightly oppressive synth that offers plenty of excitement, adeptly switching things up from the indie-punk leanings offered earlier on the track; perhaps the inclusion more moments like this could make for a more intriguing listen. And at least the more fast-paced ‘From Another Age’ is another highlight.

While some influences are indeed very easy to pick out, this is still essential listening if you’re a natural mark for the sound offered here. All in all, ‘In The Spirit World Now’ is 33-minutes of immediately infectious post-punk, offering energy and escapism in equal measure.