Every once in a while, a band comes along that makes you sit up and pay attention. It may be that they’re doing something pioneering, or maybe they’re just doing something so well that it demands your attention. A band that fits both of these descriptions is ERRA, a progressive metalcore band from Birmingham, Alabama. ‘Augment’ is their second full-length album, and it’s the best metal album you’ll hear this year.
It takes just 45 seconds from pressing play on ‘Augment’ for an onslaught to begin that doesn’t let up until you see a man in a clinic who prescribes you something to stop the screaming. ‘Alpha Seed’ is the the opener, and like an entrée at an expensive restaurant, it provides something that leaves you satisfied before the main course has even been served. It would be easy to be put off by the relentless open-stringed chugging, but it’s also very easy to fall deeply in love with the smooth, crisp tones of Jesse Cash and Alan Rigdon‘s guitar work. The production of ‘Augment’ is one of the main things that makes it so enjoyable, something that many knuckle dragging metalcore bands have apparently overlooked.
It’s not just the guitar work that’s excellent, though. Alex Ballew‘s drum pounding is again well recorded and, when backed up with Sean Price‘s booming bass, makes for a flawless instrumental section. There’s one thing that pushes ERRA over the edge from a solid Misery Signals-esque metalcore band though: Jesse Cash‘s beautiful vocals. Clearly influenced by Spencer Sotelo of Periphery, he effortlessly reaches the highs of Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) with the added bonus of not being an insufferable twat. There are many moments on ‘Augment’ that sound otherworldly thanks to Cash‘s talented throat work, and to top it all off there’s Garrison Lee‘s evil growling, sounding like a bulldog getting neutered.
It’s difficult to single out one particular song on ‘Augment’ as being a cut above the rest. There’s the oddly reminiscent ‘Dreamwalkers’, the earth shaking ‘Hybrid Earth’, and the crunching ‘Spirits Away’, but you really need to listen to all of ‘Augment’ to wholly appreciate how brilliant it all is. ‘Augment’ is as much a voyage across a burning ocean of apocalypse as it is a walk through a peaceful moor on a summer’s day. There’s no time for wishy-washy stories of the girl lost in high school, more there are tales of environmental discovery and scientific exploration.
Who would have thought that a bunch of bellends with electric guitars could write something of such beauty. If you have any fleeting interest in metal, you’d be an idiot to ignore ERRA. If talent equals money, then they’re fucking millionaires.
Written by MG Savage (@MGsavagewriter)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.