This post has been a long time coming. Almost two years ago now I enthusiastically posted about finally tracking down the first two Cipher demos entitled Serial and Clockwork. This is on top of tracking down all of their OTHER fairly obscure releases over the past decade or so. Finally this fully-deserving band can have their full discography posted.
Cipher was one of the more unique bands I stumbled upon when I first delved into the world of hardcore. I believe it was 2001 when I first saw the band live at The Hangout in Edinboro, PA. At the time they were primarily playing material from the Protoculture EP (1999), Burnthalos 6" (2000) and their most recently released Antidote EP (2001). Despite only knowing the track "Reaching Higher States" from the music video I had somehow came across at the time ... the set definitely raised the creativity bar for what I wanted and expected out of hardcore at the time.
The intensity exuded by the band was what I always knew Cipher to be. Unbeknownst to me at the time, however, the band had several DIY releases under their belt already from the late 90s. Two demos (Serial and Clockwork, respectively) and a full length entitled Recognize which featured most of the demo tracks being re-worked and re-recorded. It took me several years to track these down but I eventually did (much to the chagrin of the band itself haha). While the earlier releases lack the perfection of the aforementioned EPs, they were still vicious in their own right. The songs played out a bit longer than perhaps they needed to, but these extended lengths only allowed for Moe to further illustrate his always poignant lyrical stances.
Speaking of which, despite the progressive and technical musicianship; Moe Mitchell, the band's vocalist, always managed to take a focal point in the band. While this was always the case, the lyrical content was truly pushed to the forefront of the band on their final two full lengths entitled Children Of God's Fire (2005) and The Joyous Collapse (2010). In an effort to further highlight the message of the band, Moe even would partake in self-sustaining spoken word tours in which he would have small groups of people gather for a night of socio-political conversation surrounding some of the topics covered on their upcoming releases (not to mention a sneak peek at some of the new tracks). The emphasis that the band put on teaching tolerance, respect and reverence towards each other and the world as a whole will never be matched.
Throughout all of the years of relentless touring and undeniable self-promotion, the band always considered Pittsburgh to be a home-away-from-home ... playing multiple years of the Sincerity Fest that I book annually. In fact, the band is nearly solely responsible for the fest even continuing after it's first (and failing) year. It was through the motivational and encouraging words of Moe and Danny that I decided to trudge forward to build the fest into the success that it is today. One of the cooler live videos I've found posted of the fest can be seen here as Moe shot the footage while performing.
Unfortunately, however, tragedy struck in the summer of 2011 when founding member and personal friend of mine, Daniel Bobis went missing while on vacation abroad with his wife. The incident received mainstream press coverage all across the country as efforts were made to search and rescue. Unfortunately the news came about that Danny's body was found washed ashore as he had apparently been a victim of a surfing accident. Danny was no amateur surfer and, in fact, had coordinated, coached and founded a surfing club for the students at his local high school. In return for all of his efforts to both the hardcore, surfing and general community at large, Danny Bobis Beach was named in his honor. His memory lives on strongly to this day through all of his efforts; both musically and personally.
The band's legacy lives on as well through the efforts of those who's minds were sparked through the works, actions, and efforts of the band. Danny was honored at the Long Island Hardcore Fest in 2012 with Moe joining Tripface on stage during their reunion set for a cover of Reaching Higher States. I'd post a video but that would be the third video of the same song in this post haha.
We remember the efforts of Cipher quite well here in both Pittsburgh and at the Path To Misery blog.
And always remember ... MOSH IN THE MIDDLE!!!
DOWNLOAD: The First Era (Serial demo, Clockwork demo & Recognize full length)
DOWNLOAD: The Second Era (Protoculture EP, Burnt Halos 6" & Antidote EP)
DOWNLOAD: The Final Era (Children Of God's Fire and The Joyous Collapse)