Erra are a band that right now have something to prove. With ‘Drift’ being their first release since they signed to Sumerian Records, this was preceded with the outfit having somewhat of a rotating line-up, and as such evidence of stability and strength regardless is what the band must seemingly strive to provide.
This is something that’s accomplished very well on this album. With the perfect combination of metalcore and technical metal wedged into one full package, the note for something truly unique is there. As a band that feels on the cutting edge of what’s happening in music now, they give somewhat of an underground classic upon this release.
New vocalist J.T. Cavey (formerly of Texas In July) makes his debut on this record, and absolutely takes the band and makes it his own very quickly. On the record’s title-track, lines like “It pulls me under” give a truly emotional display from what the new frontman is thinking. The description of a pressurised situation, but one in which he wishes to let his mind drift, is worded almost perfectly.
Jesse Cash compliments Cavey by giving screamed vocals that legendary metalcore bands had wished they’d written themselves. This can be heard on ‘Orchard’, in what feels like traditional hardcore gang vocals are screamed along with the band on certain aspects of the chorus. Given this is an established technique, this is one that is done in a new way in a completely new direction.
The sound of duelling guitarists Cash and Sean Price give a landscape so vast and encapsulating it draws you in. The pure quality of music the two play is often something that can be envied. It at no point in this album, however, feels like it’s self-indulgent, instead going for a more subtle approach. They enable tracks like ‘Luminesce’ to become much more endearing and enjoyable. Little to no solos are included on this album, and, when they are, they’re in short bursts.
Finally, drummer Alex Ballew proves that he can handle providing a backbeat for such an expansive experience, and he can do this without even a bassist to help him keep rhythm. Ballew has an interesting breakdown on ‘Hourglass’ that makes the band look strong and powerful, leading for them to keep a strong stance forward carrying across most of this phenomenal album.
‘Drift’ is much more like a soundscape than an album. It is a moment in time, in reality to pick one song to listen to will feel sacrilege to the rest of the album. The best advice is to just pick up the album, press play, and let your mind drift along with it.
Written by Bradley Cassidy (@bradcassidy170)