ERRA – ‘ERRA’

By Dave Stewart

Progressive metalcore titans ERRA are back with one of their most ambitious outings in tow. Following the huge success of their most recent albums, particularly 2016’s ‘Drift’, their brand new record introduces a version of the band that definitively represents everything they’ve been building since their formation. The new record is self-titled, signalling the beginning of a new chapter for the band. This doesn’t mean they’ve changed their sound, though, not in the slightest. While ‘ERRA’ introduces episodic storytelling to their universe – tackling subjects like depression, anxiety, desperation, uncertainty and many more – this record showcases the band exactly how we’ve come to know them, weaving fresh new ideas into their already immaculate fabric.

This may be the start of something new, but that’s not to say they’ve wiped the slate clean and started with a blank canvas. The thunderous first single ‘Snowblood’, the immediately catchy ‘Divisionary’ and the deliciously melodic ‘Eidolon’ offer up a taste of some of those classic ERRA flavours. The faultless lead guitar work, the blend of angelic and devilish vocals, the impossibly tight rhythm section and sublime spacious atmospherics – it’s all here, just as sharp and imposing as ever before. But there’s far more to this record than the things you already know about them.

This album contains some of the heaviest music ERRA have ever written, and it’s a welcome surprise. The evil tones of ‘Scorpion Hymn’ burst open the gates for waves of flames to crash through, the filthy low tones and Meshuggah-like riffs setting everything in sight ablaze. ‘Gungrave’ and its machine-gun-like chugs have a similar effect, attacking every riff with an almost robotic precision that connects with devastating results. As good as the brutal bits are, the moments they explore the balance between light and dark is where the real magic happens.

‘Shadow Autonomous’ is a melodic metalcore masterclass, elegantly shifting dynamics to summon soul-stirring punches that directly connect with all your most tender areas. ‘Electric Twilight’ does something similar whilst allowing the beast to show a few more of its teeth, juxtaposing the soaring heights and harmonious glory with the occasional feral swipe from the shadows. ‘Remnant’ is a non-stop thrash-fest that rips through chaotic riffs and enormous choruses, only slowing down to tear through the occasional breakdown.

The futuristic vibes pouring out of ‘Lunar Halo’ are enchanting, capable of transporting you to another plane as the music dances around you, almost suspending you in their world. ‘House Of Glass’ feels other-worldly, too, as the band take you with them on an exploration of their new territory, a touch of prog influence seeping through with some time signature shifts and Tool-influenced motifs. Then there’s the delightfully moody ‘Vanish Canvas’ and the solemn and heart-rending album closer ‘Memory Fiction’ – if you didn’t think ERRA could get any better, one listen to this record will definitely tell you that they just have.

As expected, the musicianship on show throughout this record is nothing short of breathtaking, with every member of the band flexing their technical muscles at every given opportunity. It’s both the heaviest and the most melodic album of their catalogue, with more breakdowns than ever before that are wonderfully balanced with some of their most intricate and expansive moments. Beginning to end it takes you on a journey that’s incredibly immersive, making you feel every single shift in the mood. This is the most accomplished and mature record of their career.

It’s not just the lyrics that tell a story here, the music does too, endlessly changing and shifting to enhance the potency. It’s powerful and balanced, and yet still manages to be adventurous, both in concept and execution. This is the most accomplished and mature record of their career, and it’s a self-titled record for a reason – this truly is ERRA. Welcome to the new beginning.

DAVE STEWART

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