If Decyfer Down’s 2006 debut End of Grey was the transition from the North Carolina-bred foursome from its less than desirable day jobs to a full time artistic calling, the brand new Crash is the full-fledged manifestation of the group’s hard rock craftsmanship and intensely personal reflections. Not only does the disc overflow with ambition, confidence and overall creative excellence, but the aggressive endeavor also finds the players digging in an even more mature lyrical direction that simultaneously meets listeners of any association exactly where they’re at, while challenging them to make assertive strides towards increased spiritual fulfillment.
“I think you can definitely expect a deeper side of Decyfer Down in our songs, especially because we were kind of coming out of a hazy area with End of Grey,” explains guitarist Brandon Mills. “We were simultaneously working through everything and trying to figure out the best roads to go down. With this record we feel like we’ve grown collectively and also just as overall artists, so we feel it’s going to have a heavier impact just due to the growth that’s happened with all of us between the first record and now.”
Though the last few years were paved with astounding highs, including a touring whirlwind that found Decyfer Down conquering both the mainstream club and spiritual scenes, it was also plagued with immeasurable lows. For starters, the foursome faced the basic perils of the road, they experienced two robberies that resulted in missing equipment and an even more alarming accident. While a fender bender could easily be forgotten, it’s been much harder to shake visions of the group’s tour van veering off the road during an icy snow storm, colliding with a parked car, spinning across three lanes of traffic (with trailer in tow) and crashing against a guard rail, leaving Chris’ hand with several lacerations and the others severely bruised and mentally stunned.
“Being around so many bands was awesome, but at the same time, there were a lot of struggles, like living your life in front of strangers and being away from your family,” recalls vocalist/bassist Caleb Oliver before Brandon interjects. “And after the accident, we all questioned what we were doing because that was just another factor in it being such a big sacrifice to be on the road. But when we posted a blog on our MySpace page explaining what happened, it was so encouraging to see a whole page full of prayers and support from people all over the country- and other countries as well- plus people who told us how much our music meant to them. That really helped us see that God’s called us to do this, and even though we still run into obstacles, we’re a better band because of it.”
In as much as Crash is a metaphor for Decyfer Down’s ability to rise above its most straining circumstances, it’s also a call to action for anyone downtrodden to bounce back from whatever hurdle may hang between where they are and what they hope to achieve. “It’s a collision of where we all are right now,” continues Caleb of the disc’s title. “It’s really about getting to the point in life where you come to a decision that you’re either gonna let circumstances take you down or you’re going to rise above them and crash through the issues you’re facing. It’s a powerful visual as well as being easy to remember, which helps the record be so dynamic on a song by song basis.”
From a strictly musical perspective, Crash comes under the production helm of Paul Ebersold (3 Doors Down, Saliva, Sister Hazel, Skillet) and further amplifies the band’s bone crunching delivery, razor sharp riffs and monstrous melodies. As a result, Decyfer Down maintains a remarkably relevant spot within the active rock scene, evoking the likes of Sevendust, Shinedown, Alter Bridge, Theory of a Deadman, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Hinder or Seether, while still maintaining its own alternative and inventive stamp.
“We wrote a ton of songs going into these sessions and Paul helped us narrow them down and shape the direction of the disc,” shares drummer Josh Oliver. “We gained a lot of influence from the bands we were listening to and playing with, plus touring as much as we had really gets you excited about getting back in the studio. The results are some of the hard rock stuff and some of the more ballady stuff, but it’s all stepped up into a new level of artistry for us. Paul really stretched us and helped take our musicianship and songwriting to the next level.”
And as Caleb so aptly puts, the new album is a constant highlight reel of strong songs that help define the group’s current direction on their own, but are also remarkably cohesive as an entire body of work. “There’s no filler on this one because we take people on a journey,” he confirms. “We come out the gate rockin’ and go through a whole series of sounds and emotions to spread it all out. People go through so many issues and moods in their lives that it’s not a cut and dry kind of thing, so we’re focusing on a wide variety of topics they’re facing, wrapped around sounds to line up with those emotions.”
After listening to the ten-track sonic and thematic exploration, it’s clear that Crash will once again find footing with faith-based audiences and seekers wanting to get their lives on track no matter how derailed it may appear. The group credits spiritually centered bands like P.O.D., Switchfoot, Skillet, Flyleaf and Red for helping break down mainstream barriers, while also inspiring an optimal quality level and sincere lyrical dichotomy to truly stand out from the class of relative newcomers.
”Beyond the maturing process on this record, we want to influence culture with our beliefs more than ever before,” echoes Josh. “The way we write songs is based on the things that have inspired our lives the most, which often times has to do with our relationship with Christ. The songs throughout Crash speak on a lot of topics that we haven’t addressed before and we hope to take a walk through your life- your triumphs, your struggles, maybe even some of your addictions- and confront those to
the point where you find yourself being impacted by love, grace and a clear vision of how to move forward.”