Lead Hands
Lead Hands


3.5
great

Review

by Muzik Dizcovery Reviews USER (19 Reviews)
January 17th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Decoder creates a technically great, but monotonous debut album.

Decoder is a band of afterthoughts. Four of the five members were in three bands, two of which have soared in popularity since the initial break while the third has broken up. I'm not too sure that vocalist Spencer Pearson formerly of VersaEmerge, vocalist Keith Jones and guitarist Jack Burns formerly of Oceana, and drummer Brent Guistwite formerly of Of Machines regret their decisions now. After teaming up with bassist Bryce Sipes and signing with Rise Records, ex-home of both Oceana and Of Machines, Decoder brings together influences from all three of their former bands together, creating a more artistic and technical album then any of those bands (minus maybe Oceana's Clean Head) have ever released. However, the band could have tried experimenting a bit more, instead holding the record back from being a breakout.

The dark, yet atmospheric mood is felt immediately in the first track, "Dreamwalker", as if to show right off from the bat that this isn't an ordinary Rise Records output. Before long, Spencer's clean vocals become reminiscent of Anthony Green with a better lower register. "Transcendence" takes a page from the book of Oceana, combining the heaviness of The Tide with the dark, progressive feel of Clean Head. However, the screams seem mostly unnecessary, weak both vocally and in their placement. This is not the case in "Conflicts", as the intelligible screams in the chorus go much better with the music than the lower pitched, more brutal screams. The song shows that the band does have the ability to write a catchy hook, even though they do not take advantage of that throughout the album, instead mostly focusing on the music of the album.

Midway through the album, it becomes apparent that most of the songs do not stick out on their own. The song structure is pretty consistent throughout, with the cycle of a little singing, to screaming, to a singing chorus occurring in pretty much every song. I had hoped "The Light" lived up to its name as a more atmospheric piece that was focused on Spencer's vocals. However, as throughout the album, the screaming seems to be thrown in and takes away from the song. "The Horrid" is anything but horrid, as the chorus is one of the catchier ones, and the ending is powerful, with eerie harmonies and background screams that are sure to invoke chills. "The Giver" and "The Taker" surprisingly do not go together as opposites, as "The Taker" is probably the "heaviest" track on the album and although "The Giver" is much more atmospheric, the screams still take a key role in the track. Closer "Holding On" is finally a track that sounds instrumentally different than the rest, piano taking the lead in the instrumentation. Spencer's vocals soar as the song approaches the climax, crescendos going hand in hand with the raising of pitch, while the screams are finally placed in the perfect place. The album ends with the band finally starting to win me over.

It is clear that Decoder took the safe way out this time, simply wanting to please Rise Records rather than creating the music that they are capable of. With the loss of Oceana to both Clean Head and another label, Decoder simply took the void of the band rather than living up to their potential. The song structures are generic, and do not allow the talent of the members to shine. The band has not been together for very long, and it is possible that the whole album was rushed. The future is still extremely bright for the band, and hopefully this album will sell well enough to allow the band a bit more room for experimentation next time around.

Projected Score: 7.7/10



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 17th 2011


10618 Comments


Too big an indentation between paragraphs 1 and 2. Great review.

SHAKEandBAKE
January 17th 2011


1310 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the atmosphere of this album. Nice review.

PinkBlackberry
January 18th 2011


2346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I agree 100% with the monotony of the release, It's so oppressively dark and sad I feel like it needed to be cheered up a bit. But to me the fact that the CD is so incredibly well done (despite the flaw I mentioned) and the Vocals are so beyond amazing that I feel it's a small discrepancy to the record as a whole.

tkxxx7
January 18th 2011


6153 Comments


"...heaviest" track on the album while although "The Giver" is much more atmospheric, -"

if you switch "while although" with "and while" or "and although" it'll read a lot better

tkxxx7
January 18th 2011


6153 Comments


awesome , pos'd

TheOceanInside
January 25th 2011


439 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

TO EVERYONE COMPLAINING ABOUT THEIR LACK OF A DIFFERENT SOUND, DARK EERIE WAS WHAT THEY WERE GOING FOR, SO WHY DID ANYONE EXPECT ANYTHING DIFFERENT?


i just learned this myself btw. watched a pre-release vid. srry for the caps..

wyankeif1337
January 25th 2011


6739 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

IT'S OKAY BROSKI CAPS ARE COOL

dbizzles
March 3rd 2012


321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'finally placed in the perfect place.'

'finally placed perfectly.' would work just fine, bro.

Funeralopolis
March 3rd 2012


11752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

so would how about no

Digging: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt



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