ERRA – ERRA (Album Review)

ERRA – ERRA
Released: 19 March 2021

Line up:

JT Cavey | vocals
Jesse Cash | vocals/guitar
Sean Price | guitar
Conor Hesse | bass
Alex Ballew | drums

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It just wouldn’t be right to not kick off my reviews for 2021 with one of my all time favourite bands. Back to blow your mind once more with the release of their fifth album, are the Alabama boys from one of metalcore’s finest, ERRA. And holy hell have we been impatiently waiting for this one (I promise it’s worth the wait).

ERRA came into my life when they released their third album, Drift. I distinctively remember when I first listened to it, it was nothing like I’d ever heard before. I absolutely love everything about that album, from the beautiful cover art, to the sweeping melodies, incredible vocals and just the way ‘Skyline’ still makes me want to cry and fall in love at the same time. I managed to catch ERRA back in 2017 when they were last on Australian shores, touring alongside Northlane and they were an absolute treat. Their stage presence was incredible and not even my terrible singing (and screaming) could ruin their powerhouse of a set.

I will admit I wasn’t the biggest fan of Neon, it just didn’t grab me the same way as Drift and unfortunately, just faded into the background. However, the release of their killer 2019 single ‘Eye of God’, saw ERRA give us a taste for what was still to come, like a creature ready to claw its way out from the darkness below. And after much anticipation, the creature has finally been unleashed and embodied itself in the shape of ERRA’s self titled fifth album.

Snowblood’ was the first single released last year and I am honestly still trying to pick my jaw up from the floor. This track was such a perfect choice as both a first release and the first track on the album, showcasing the band’s crushing new sound and an idea on what we could expect from the record. Ferocious, fast paced guitars echo their way over JT’s crushing vocals, while Jesse’s cleans create an eerie soundscape. The absolutely vicious breakdown riff passage sounds like it’s spitting pure fire and could easily be mistaken for a machine gun.

You like chuggy riffs? Good, because ‘Gungrave’ is drowning in them. This track is by far one of my favourites on the album, coming complete with a classic, melodic ERRA chorus we all know and love. And just when you think the song has wrapped up, you are brutally whiplashed back into one of Cavey’s finest growls. I honestly can’t wait for everyone to hear this one. ‘Divisionary’ dropped back in January as the third single off the album and if you haven’t listened to it yet, what are you even doing? The crowd chanting ‘erase, erase, erase’ gets me so hyped every time I hear it. Lyrics “small black screens are your only god now” are a big nod to how much we now rely on technology.

Immersed in technically driven guitars, ‘House of Glass’ is easily one of the top tracks on this record. Elements of dense and sporadic riffs constrict onto both the clean and unclean vocals, shifting their weight in and out making every second of this song feel like a musical cliffhanger. The use of these whirling, distorted frequency noises taking the song to a close are a huge stand out and somehow add another level of heavy onto the already chunky riffs. This track is the cement in ERRA pushing boundaries and blowing every expectation out of the water.

Around a week prior to ‘Shadow Autonomous’ being released, ERRA dropped the guitar tabs and advised us to “interpret at your own risk”. This was honestly one of the coolest ways I’ve ever seen a new song teased. Layered riffs intertwine into shifting contrasts and neat transitions. I’m also a big fan of the structure to this song. Rather than your usual heavy vocals for the verses and cleans for the chorus, both the heavy and cleans are sporadically placed so it’s erratic and diverse. Coming in at just over 5 minutes long, it doesn’t waiver or shift my focus at all.

Electric Twilight’ flourishes with riffs similar to what we heard on Drift, so naturally I’m a fan. I will say this track doesn’t seem to pack as much of a punch as some other songs on the album do. It’s not a bad track by any means, it does just feel a little plain in comparison to some of the other songs who showcase so many new elements and dimensions. We already know ‘Scorpion Hymn’ is going to absolutely melt faces live. That deep, grimy growl around the half way mark floors me every time I listen to this song. This track is heavy in every aspect of the word and almost feels too short, probably because it’s so damn good that I just want more!

The twists and turns of ‘Lunar Halo’ will leave you both dizzy and satisfied. Synthy, almost organ sounding vocals transition their way into a technical, melodically driven guitar solo with such ease. There’s so many experimental elements sprinkled throughout, it’s impossible to predict where this song will go next. I knew from the very first listen that ‘Vanish Canvas’ was my favourite song off the album. When I spoke to Jesse (full interview coming soon), he also said this track was his favourite off the record and referred to it as “the heart of the record”. It definitely feels like the ‘Skyline’ of this album, grabbing your heart with both hands and yanking it out without a second thought. Lyrics ‘let this moment break your heart’ stand out so vividly to me, Jesse’s mesmerising vocals impaling the listener in the best way possible.

Don’t be charmed by the calming guitar at the beginning of ‘Eidolon’, because when Cavey’s scream erupts into lyrics ‘lost within a dream’, you’ll probably fall off your seat. It’ll definitely be a good circle pit song; I can already envisage the carnage dirt being kicked up. In parts the screams actually remind me a little of Polaris, which I doubt anyone will have any complaints about. ‘Remnant’ leaves you no chance to take a breather from the previous song. Dynamically shifting its way from intricate guitar work, into melodic harmonies, the overall flow of this track is structured extremely well and sees ERRA’s great attention to detail brightly shine. Slightly slowing down the pace for the final track, ‘Memory Fiction’ is the perfect end to an incredible album. Jesse’s vocals on this track are second to none, dancing their way so effortlessly around the colourful, spiralling guitar chords.

Honestly, this album is a HUGE development from their last. It is unpredictable, memorable and precisely executed in every aspect. I think they’ll find a lot of their older original fans returning with this album and a huge number of new fans as well. Strong, driving, technical metalcore riffs and melodic undertones are ERRA’s bread and butter, but this album really takes all of that to another level.

ERRA have again raised the metalcore bar and I am so proud to see how far they have come.

ERRA – ERRA tracklisting:

1. Snowblood
2. Gungrave
3. Divisionary
4. House of Glass
5. Shadow Autonomous
6. Electric Twilight
7. Scorpion Hymn
8. Lunar Halo
9. Vanish Canvas
10. Eidolon
11. Remnant
12. Memory Fiction

Rating: 9/10
ERRA is out Friday via UNFD. Pre-Order here
Review By – Rhiannon Porter (@rrhiannonporter)

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  1. Jesse Cash – ERRA ‘Breaking Down the Walls of Expectations’ – Wall Of Sound

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