Decyfer Down has been quiet as of late, a self-admitted burnout from constant touring and an overwhelming desire to be home with their families. After reconnecting with fans on the City Rockfest Tour last year, they rekindled the spark, hit the studio and came out with the spectacular The Other Side of Darkness.
End of Grey and Crash were constantly in the hard rock rotation of albums when they came out. With their third full-length release, Scarecrow, I wasn’t impressed with the direction the band was taking, and for the first time since the band started making music, I moved on. Thankfully, The Other Side of Darkness is a return to form for the North Carolina-based Decyfer Down, retaining that unique hard rock sound from their first two albums, dropping the Southern twang of Scarecrow, one of that album’s distractions.
Decyfer Down has always toed the line of aggressive music without actually crossing out of the radio rock genre, and that balancing act is executed perfectly on this fourth full length, providing a somewhat unexpected flow to the piece — aggressive with highs, skillfully slowing it to melodic lows with the few softer tracks on the album.
The first track, “Rearrange,” is a classic example of one of the group’s aggressive tracks filled with a groove the band locks into, something they hit again on later tracks “Nothing More” and “Anchor Me.” The heavier guitar licks give the album the gravitas it needs and an energetic punch the band should focus more on in the future.
The overall theme of the record is a reflection on the struggle of getting through the “valley of darkness,” about facing the misery in life to get to the light on the other side. “Believe in Me” has an incredibly endearing message of hope, of taking shelter in God’s love through belief, even if the song is a little too soft compared to the rest of the album. “Dead Skin” and “Beautiful Lie,” some of the best tracks on The Other Side of Darkness, take Decyfer Down back to their roots and could easily be listed among the songs from End of Grey or Crash.
With The Other Side of Darkness, Decyfer Down has done one of the hardest things for a band: evolve their sound while still maintaining a firm grasp of what’s so great about their earlier music.