The Grammy-nominated Christian rock act's follow-up to 2008's Crash will floor their long-time fans and win them legions of new followers. Boasting a tantalizing mix of moody anthems, driving guitars and a heavy sound that is matched by weighty spiritual lyrics, SCARECROW proves the old adage, "good things come to those who wait."
The title track, "Scarecrow" speaks to the fear of things that are different and unfamiliar, and how that fear keeps us from being accepting of people outside the church. "The River" weaves in unexpected Americana and southern rock influences before cranking up the volume. Decypher Down hearkens back to their 2006 groundbreaking debut, End Of Grey, but with the added depth and layers that only age and experience can bring. SCARECROW offers up radio-ready hard rock that is accessible and edgy, without being predictable and off-putting.
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Deciphering the Scarecrows| Posted July 19, 2013 Scarecrow has been a slow-building storm for Decyfer Down. After weathering the transition from original frontman Caleb Oliver to TJ Harris during production of 2009's Crash, fans settled in to wait on an uncertain future release. After four years, the band is delivering the long-promised follow up with the August release Scarecrow.
From opening track "Memory," it's clear that this album is going to carry a level of grunge and twang in the guitar tone not heard on previous Decyfer Down releases. This may be largely due to the fact that this album is the first that is truly in the hands of TJ Harris, and he directs it more towards a scorching, distorted grit than towards the smooth dark-edged sound of Crash. "Westboro" establishes that the band isn't afraid to talk about what's getting under their skin, as the song denounces the hate-filled behavior of an infamous church. The lyrics equate the church's behavior to building a hell on earth rather than the kingdom of Heaven.
"My Worst Enemy" paces itself a little more evenly than the first two tracks, giving itself more musical breathing room as it explores the theme of spiritual self-destruction. "Say Hello" features heavily distorted riffs by guitarists Brandon Mills and Chris Clonts alongside some of the stronger songwriting on the album, wrestling with trying to let go of a harmful past relationship. "Say hello, cruel irony," the song mourns with a lingering, regretful melody.
"Bleeding Lies" is one of the slower selections. This is another song of introspection, the singer recognizing that he has become exactly the man he shouldn't be while inviting truth to perform its healing surgery. This song utilizes the upper stretch of Harris's range well, stretching the melody upwards in an anguished plea. Rock single "Fight to Win" follows, grinding out a riff to support an anthem for when right and wrong go head to head.
Title track "Scarecrow" is perhaps the strongest offering, using the image of a hollowed out, rotting scarecrow to mirror the empty judgment and scornful pride of leaders abusing their power. The scathing chorus spits the words "scarecrow, save yourself! / Hollow soul, I don't need your help."
"The River" deviates from the status quo. From the first verse's sliding dual guitar bed it's clear that this is more country-influenced than the rest of the album, drawing both musically and thematically from some classic folk and southern spiritual themes. "Take me down to the river / wash the dirt from my hands. / I've been traveling so long in this foreign land," the song prays.
"Some Things Never Change" is the song of a prodigal, outlining the path of a heart always wandering from God's will yet always being drawn back by God's grace. The album's Christian rock single "So In Love" closes out the collection. Given that this is by far the most accessible track on the album it's a good choice for a single, straying at times into territory close to worship as it earnestly declares the beautiful need to find our identity in Christ and His love alone.
After Decyfer Down's long silence, it's good to hear new material from the rock outfit. This album shows lead singer TJ Harris truly taking the band's direction into his hands, owning a sound that has progressed from but still ties into the original sound of 2006's End of Gray. Although the pacing is at times rushed and the songwriting is a little hit or miss, the hit moments certainly drive home. Thematically, the album boldly strikes a balance between calling out the prideful while also recognizing a personal need for grace, backing it up with aggressive guitar grit and striking melodies.
Fan| Posted October 06, 2014
I'm a big fan of this album. If you are a fan of Metal and Hard rock then you really love this album. You won't be disapointed by an song on here. Get this album as soon as possible. You will love it and want to play it all day ever day.
Scarecrow| Posted September 26, 2013
It’s been five years since Decyfer Down’s last album Crash, but now they are back with a new lead singer and new record Scarecrow.
The formula is still the same with this Christian band, as they incorporate some post-grunge sleaze with their usual hard rock roots.
“Memory” opens up with some energetic guitar riffs from Brandon Mills and Chris Clonts and thrashing drum beats by Josh Oliver. New vocalist and bassist TJ Harris has a strong rock voice which in certain instances sounds a lot like Shaun Morgan from Seether, as his snarl suits the aggression on show. There are also cleaner melodic moments where his voice is better displayed.
“Westboro” is based on the confrontational church of the same name, with lyrical references of how the actions of this outrageous group have caused so much disgust across the world. There are some blues riffs contained as the verses flow, but all in all it is a pretty ineffective song that fails to get their point all the way across.
“Say Hello” has some decent guitar distortion on a song that is slightly softer than what has come before. The chorus is one of the strongest on show, but unfortunately it is one of the very few high points on the album.
“Fight To Win” is the first single to be released, and it’s also the heaviest song on Scarecrow. The hard rocking chorus fails to truly ignite, and leaves the listener at a loss as to why it was chosen as the promotion lead for the record.
“So In Love” ends proceedings with a soft ballad that lyrically borders on Christian worship. The guitar rhythms are toned down and the drumming is delicate, and it is arguably one of the better moments on a disappointing album.
Lasting only thirty-five minutes, it’s hard to see what Decyfer Down have been doing for the last five years because Scarecrow falls short in so many ways.
Musically, most of the songs start off promisingly but they fail to evolve into something more. Strong choruses are severely lacking, which is a common need for a good hard rock release. There are only a couple of decent moments in the form of “Say Hello” and the closing “So In Love”, but not even those songs can save Scarecrow from being left out to dry in a field.
Solid Album| Posted September 20, 2013
I love this album. It has their Hard Rock songs a more mellow ones like I am so in Love with you. "The River" is a bluesy rock song that is awesome. I really like it. Well worth the price of admission.
Different| Posted September 13, 2013
This CD is quite different in sound than their previous 2 efforts. Westbro is one of the best songs and it has an in your face type vibe to it. It is a message that needs to be spoken about though. The church has been hyporitical. They say love but then turn around and hate. You need to get this CD it is not wort it to NOT get it.
Best stuff Yet| Posted September 05, 2013
This album really is some of the best stuff that they have put out so far. I love how smooth the entire album is. It all seems to run together in a good way. I feel like I am listening to a story that they are telling me. It is just amazing!!!
Scarecrow| Posted September 02, 2013 You really should buy the third album Scarecrowby Decyfer Down. These rock worshippers will make you praise with their songs. And you really need to listen to their music. Let's adore Him!!!!!!!!!!!!
A New Grunge Sound Elevates The Album to Slightly Above Average| Posted August 20, 2013
After a long 4 year wait Decyfer Down returns with their 3rd album Scarecrow, and the result is a bit mixed. They mix their old southern rock style in with more grunge rock. While the songs that do have those grunge-like elements sound good, the songs that have more southern rock to them sound simplisitc and a tad bit generic. Even though the album has that problem, it's still worth a listen.