Decyfer Down 90Hard-driving music is a perfect match for expressing righteous anger.

Artist: Decyfer Down (
Length: 10 tracks/34 minutes

Scarecrow by Decyfer Down is hard music with heart. Though it can be blistering in sound and sentiment, it subtly expresses a Christian worldview. "Say hello to agony," listeners hear, of someone who crosses boundaries that God has established.

"Westboro" had me wondering about its significance. Where have I heard of it? It starts with a fast hard rock riff, quickly joined by pounding drums. Listeners hear the unsettling lines which provide a clue, "Hey man, that's my brother's grave you're spitting on/Hey man, this is hallowed ground/You don't belong/Just go back to Westboro, baby/Where they love to hate." This refers to the church by the same name that has become infamous for protests. The hard-driving music is a perfect match for the expression of righteous anger.

This rage, which the band expresses so powerfully, continues on the title track. The target is a modern day Pharisee. This provides commentary on the cover, which depicts a scarecrow, New Testament in pocket, but a heart filled with greed, envy and hate. It's a person who is more concerned about maintaining their self-made righteousness than helping their fellows escape the mire of sin. This confronts without coming across as judgmental. Hard music complements hard truths.

"The River" is a change-up. It starts with acoustic guitar and builds into something decidedly southern. As in Scripture, water is used to depict the burial of the old life and rising to the new.

The closing, "So in Love," removes any doubt about the band's allegiance. They openly reference God in this powerful fusion of modern rock and worship.

Absent in this recording is the doom and hopelessness that overshadows this genre. The band chronicles the struggle between light and dark without the heaviness of spirit that might leave someone in despair. The production is precise without being sterile. Others plow similar ground but this harvest is a delight.

Michael Dalton


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