1. Alpha Seed
5. Hybrid Earth
8. Spirits Away
[Tragic Hero Records]
Writing a follow up to what some would consider one of the best metalcore releases ever is no small task. Keeping things fresh in certain genres is becoming harder and harder with an ever-growing pool of bands, but Alabama-based Erra have managed. Augment, couldn’t be more aptly titled—every element of the band’s sound has been refined to near perfection. The already excellent guitar work is taken to another level with more solos crafted with utmost attention and phrasing achieve what many bands stumble. Both clean and harsh vocals sound better than ever, with the cleans sounding more comfortably performed and the harsh parts cutting like a chainsaw.
Augment takes no time to get going, with ‘Alpha Seed’ beginning with their signature lead style right into a riff that recalls the days of Veil of Maya‘s The Common Man’s Collapse, though with a very Erra twist. Standout ‘Hybrid Earth‘ is sure to be a classic and a staple of live shows with utterly punishing breakdowns and finger mangling riffs. Every bit of Augment is composed with such attention, every transition makes sense, every part of every song harmoniously adjacent to every other. Album closer ‘Dementia‘ may very well be the best song Erra have produced to date, exceeding the 7-minute mark with some of the best riffs, melodies, and songwriting the band has ever achieved. The maturity Erra have shown over the span of two years since Impulse shines at its brightest with the closing track. Production-wise, Erra have a history of having the best guitar tone in modern metalcore, as well as the most devastating drums.
All praise aside, Augment is not perfect. Though the band have quite obviously matured, they only truly show it on the closing track. The variety shown on ‘Dementia‘ is less prominent throughout the rest of the album. For a metalcore band to push the boundaries like Erra have in 2013 is something to speak of on its own. If these lads continue on the path of maturation with each album and play on their progressive influences, they could be the next Between the Buried and Me. Their style is already assimilating all the best elements of metalcore and more technically-inclined genres and pushing them to a level that most people could only hope to reach at such a young age. The future is brighter than ever for these developing metallers.
Erra’s Augment gets…