Ceremony have never been out to break down genre divisions or shatter perceptions of what a hardcore band can be. The Bay Area band predominantly stick to a tried-and-true formula of short, abrasive, nasty songs with no bells or whistles. True to form, they haven't overstretched themselves with Covers. They obnoxiously elbow their way through six nuggets of classic snotty punk, and it’s a fun—if ultimately inessential—listening experience.
Kicking things off with Urban Waste’s “Public Opinion,” the band go at it with all guns blazing; it’s easy to imagine the song’s raucous refrain soundtracking a rapidly escalating riot. That’s also the case for Ceremony’s clanging, off-kilter takes on Pixies’ “Nimrod’s Son” and Vile’s “5 To 10” (which is probably the weakest track of the bunch). “Holocaust,” originally by Crisis, is by far the most menacing inclusion: Its restraint is far more unnerving than the sweat and blood splattered by the more energetic songs.
The two strongest numbers are the band’s versions of Eddie And The Subtitles’ “American Society” and Wire's “Pink Flag.” The former bobs along on the simplest of grooves and is caustic and catchy in a really satisfying way; the band infuse it with so much disaffection, you may find yourself contemplating burning a flag by the time they’re done. “Pink Flag” is pure swagger, with Ross Farrar’s deliberately flattened-out vocals a perfect match for the bobbing rhythm and the disdain bubbling away under the surface. Ceremony may not exactly bring a lot to the originals, but considering covers collections are of notoriously varying quality, this one passes on the basis of its winningly repugnant charms.
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