Sound — 7
Decoder are a Post-Hardcore "supergroup" composed of members from VersaEmerge, Of Machines, and Oceana. While these types of bands are nothing new, Decoder are able to keep your attention for an interesting, if not somewhat rocky ride. The guitar sound on this album is very trance-like in its delivery, and for the most part, is almost free of any kind of distortion. This gives them an air that could be described as a cross between early Circa Survive and Interpol. All of the musicians are highly skilled at what they do, but the songs start to blend about halfway through, making the latter half of the album far weaker than the strong material that opens the disk.
Lyrics — 6
The vocals on this disk are very hit-and-miss. The clean vocalist, while not standing out as much as other vocalists in the genre (i.e. Anthony Green or Craig Owens) is very competent and delivers his lines well. However, the serene blissfulness set up by the band and the singer is thrown asunder when their screamer steps up and growls. The combination could be loosely compared to that of We Came As Romans...only far worse. Lyrically, they do stand out a little. One of my personal favorite lines comes from the song Transcendence, during the chorus ("The water is above us, yet it will not fall/Why is it all out of focus/I thought this was perfect now I see its flaws"). The subject matter is timeworn, but the delivery is quite refreshing.
Overall Impression — 7
Decoder have released a fairly enjoyable debut album, but the flaws are quite visible. The songs that made the best impression on me are Transcendence, Conflicts, The Horrid, and Believers. If you enjoy calm, slightly erratic music, this disk will most certainly appeal to all your desires. As for me, I'll wait for LP Number 2 to see if they've fixed the ripples.