Decyfer Down took the rock arena by storm with their debut release End of Grey in 2006.
Though it wasn't much more than just some generic rock, they garnered for themselves many fans. When it was announced that the guys
would be losing their lead vocalist, Caleb Oliver, naturally fans worried. But they can rest at ease, as Decyfer Down have found a replacement
in former Fighting Instinct frontman, TJ Harris.
And it's a replacement that fits very well, as there are times where you can't really tell much difference.
And so, 2009 delivers the new and much delayed album from the Decyfer Down, Crash.
From the first few seconds, you can tell what you're getting yourself into. The first track, "Crash," starts with the seemingly
meaningless lines "Feel the pressure let it go, feel the pressure let it GO!" getting things started off fairly stereotypically.
And the verses of the song have the same vocal pattern as part of "I Am You" by Demon Hunter. "Desperate" follows up with a Puddle of
Mudd feel in the vocal department, and "Fading" (which, along with "Wasting Away," seems to be a very overused song title in rock music)
has a little section at the end ("Wait, it's all that I can take, and every single day a part of my soul is fading, but now I'm
letting go somehow, unshackled and unbound, I'm calling out Your name") that again draws a reference to some of the more melodic
Demon Hunter or possibly some Finger Eleven (with a hint of Red thrown in when it comes to the strings). Then there's the album
closer "Forever With You," which could pass as a Kutless song (if Jon Micah Sumrall were singing instead), and the extremely
predictable "Best I Can," which gives off somewhat of a Three Days Grace vibe.
"Ride With Me" offers some Seether style in the vocals and the guitar riffs. And the lyrics, at times, don't make much sense.
The song is inviting someone who is tired of the world's garbage to come along and get freed from it, which is a good message,
but the chorus is a little messy, "Ride with me, we're gonna tell you where to leave it all and who to follow, lose control,
we're gonna set it off, if you want to scream, ride with me." At first it's fine, but then it seems a little pushy when they say
they're gonna "tell you" who to follow. Then it just doesn't make sense when they get to the "set it off" part,
as well as the "if you want to scream, ride with me." What?! "The Life" has more of the mediocre lyrics when it says,
"Never could find a true reason to pass through this season, now I gotta move on and survive, till I find the life." Granted,
I've heard worse, but I still find it hard to believe that this could pass as good songwriting.
To sum it up, it's nothing new. Decyfer Down's Crash sounds like many, many other bands. Not that it's always a bad
thing to be compared to or to sound like another band, but if the bands you're being compared to aren't exactly good bands either,
then it's a bad thing. And for the most part, Decyfer Down sounds like a lot of other mediocre bands. So Crash is not an
album I can recommend to the person looking for a quality rock album. Admittedly, though, it's not ALL bad. There are a lot of good
guitar riffs throughout the album that can easily get you pumped, especially if you're at a live Decyfer Down show. So if you're
looking for just a bunch of mindless rocking out, Crash would be good for you. But if it's quality you want, don't even
bother with this.
- Review date: 4/29/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
It's been about three years since End of Grey, and with Decyfer Down's long gestation period
comes much anticipation for a fulfilling second outing. To anyone who was hoping for a big progression or evolution in
style, this will not be your cup of tea, which is a little unsatisfactory considering the long period between albums.
With practically zero progression, any of these tracks could have passed for inclusion on End of Grey. As far as the
vocals go, with vocalist/bassist Caleb Oliver's exit arrived Fighting Instinct's lead singer T.J. Harris, and he fills in
quite nicely. It's a noticeably different vocal style, but unless you were strongly attached to Oliver's vocal approach,
it should be no problem getting used to the alteration. Some may attest that this record isn't distinctive enough, and to
some extent that's true, but again, if End of Grey was enough to satisfy you, Crash should sink in pretty easily.
But when all is said and done, there are no surprises on Decyfer Down's sophomore album, and it could have been - and
should have been - more than it was.
- Roger Gelwicks of Jesusfreakhideout.com