While the genre is fairly oversaturated at this point, there was a time early in the last decade where bands playing progressive metalcore were uncommon. Alabama’s Erra were one of the first to emerge a decade ago, releasing a series of EP’s that eventually landed them a record deal with Tragic Hero Records. While their newer output (especially the 2016 release of Drift) earned them a growing fanbase, it’s the band’s first two records, Impulse and Augment, that laid the groundwork for future success.
Seriously, Impulse shows off many of the best aspects of the band’s technical skill right away. What Erra tends to do very well is blend the soaring melodies of many post-hardcore and rock bands with the technicality of your favorite progressive and metalcore bands. While it’s worked well on all of their albums to date, the synergy that former vocalist Garrison Lee and current guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cash had on tracks like the amazing closer “Render The Void” had are honestly sometimes jawdropping. It definitely helps to have musical talent, but the songs are well-written as well.
Take the song “Seven”, for instance. A live staple for the band earlier on, it’s a huge and bouncy song that has zero singing. However, the guitar melodies are good enough that it’s a bit more accessible to those who might not be used to heavier music like this.
One of the best songs on this album is “The Architect”, which features intelligent lyrics with Cash’s bright, Anthony Green-esque melodies. The cherry on top is the overall instrumentation that evokes their obvious Misery Signals influences. Songs like this that offer up both sides of the coin are the most effective.
While the band would go on to create a veritable upgrade in Augment (probably the band’s best to date), there’s just something about Impulse that has a cohesive bent to it. This is still some of the most compelling music you’ll find in progressive metalcore, so get cracking on this band.