Alabama outfit ERRA have made a real name for themselves on their own terms, becoming one of the big names of the progressive-tinged metalcore boom of recent years. ‘Neon’ is the band’s fourth studio effort to date.
The record starts off well enough, with ‘Breach’ showcasing expertise in both the quieter and louder dynamics. J.T. Cavey‘s harsh vocals and the lighter parts of the song definitely stand out. The guitar work of Sean Price and Jesse Cash is the strongest asset of this band, coming to the fore on another highlight in ‘Signal Fire’.
However, sadly, there are many songs on this record like ‘Monolith’ and ‘Hyperreality’ which all tend to blend into one. Despite the impressive technicality this band possess, there’s nothing to separate them from a lot of their contemporaries. You can predict exactly when the choruses and breakdowns are going to come in.
By the time we get to ‘Disarray’, it’s like the album has shown the same groove and style of riffing for its entirety. The biggest downfall of ‘Neon’ is that it sounds like exactly what you’d expect a stereotypical Sumerian Records release to sound like.
If Anthony Green already had copyists in 2004 (the other Saosin members allegedly heard Cove Reber‘s audition tape and thought Green was playing a prank), guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cash is one of many that still populate this earth in 2018. He isn’t a bad vocalist by any means, and is very good at what he does; it’s just that his delivery is one of the most hackneyed tropes of the scene.
On a similar note, at the start of ‘Ultimata’ you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to ‘A Match Made In Heaven’ by Architects. Open your eyes; the album cover is not an inverted image of an eclipse. The guitar riff at the start is almost an exact copy of the aforementioned song. We all know there’s no music without influences, but you’re not getting away with this one, guys.
But, let’s be fair; the last three songs, ‘Ultimata’ included, are very good. They pack a considerable punch, and peak much more interest as opposed to what has come before. The riffs and bounce offered in ‘Expiate’ shine through especially well.
So while ‘Neon’ ends very strongly, and it’d be great to see ERRA go for it in that kind of vein on their next effort, you’re left wondering how much life there is left with this brand of metalcore.