Posted March 03, 2016
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer
There's something to be said about bands that consistently reinvent themselves and find new avenues to express and expand upon their creative identity. Yet, there's also something to be said about a band that has found something that works for them and consistently produces a satisfying product that utilizes the best of their particular flavor of music. Decyfer Down has consistently proven that they are the latter. Though the group gained a southern rock flare after their debut when TJ Harris replaced Caleb Oliver on vocals, they've largely built their following on a straightforward hard rock platform. This remains the case on their new independent outing The Other Side of Darkness.
Decyfer Down does rock, and they do it well. And as many of us critics are noticing, that is becoming an ever-shrinking breed. While those who felt their previous albums were too generic may remain unmoved here, this longtime fan found a lot to love.
"Dead Skin" and "Beautiful Lie" are classic DD songs with memorable choruses and a crunchy guitar structure. There's an element that sets this album apart from their past outings: the rock has been amped up a few notches and is rawer than anything the band has done before. Lead single "Nothing More" even features screaming at times and is one of the harder songs in the band's catalogue. But "Believe in Me" offers a nice contrast, a soft piano-based number that builds into a rousing rock ballad. "Lifetime" strikes a nice balance between the two styles.
An acoustic remake of "Burn Back The Sun" (originally from the band's debut End of Grey with vocalist Caleb Oliver) closes the album. It's nice to finally have a proper studio recording of the song with Harris's voice, and the stripped back approach offers a nice new take on the song. But given the short tracklisting, it does feel a little bit like filler.
A few of the songs also don't quite land as well as others, making for something of a mixed experience overall. Still, given the lack of true rock releases, this album probably satisfies even more than it would in a crowded field. It's hard to come away from this as a rockhead not having enjoyed it.
The Bottom Line: This is pure, unapologetic rock, and it succeeds at delivering exactly what it sets out to.
Song to Download Now:
"Nothing More" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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