Erra wasn’t always as popular as they are currently. Though the progressive metalcore band from Alabama have been around for right around a decade, it also wasn’t that long ago they were (promising!) openers for just about every metalcore tour you can think of. Not that it’s a bad thing – everyone has to cut their teeth somewhere. Erra’s strong work ethic and songwriting abilities shine through on all four of their full-lengths to date, but it’s on 2013’s Augment where the band really showed off their brilliance – providing some of the most awe-inspiring moments in all of progressive metalcore.
That’s not a descriptor we use lightly, either. While Augment is a cohesive album full of solid song structure, there are plenty of huge moments here as well. Deftly avoiding the sophomore slump that many of the bands in their scene weren’t able to, listening to tracks like “Ultraviolet” provide big experiences. Whether it’s the bright and melodic leads and sharp riffs on album opener “Alpha Seed” or the more nuanced technicality of “Hybrid Earth”, this album is where Erra really proved they were one of progressive metalcore’s brightest new stars.
Former vocalist Garrison Lee and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cash’s vocal compatibility, especially in this metal subgenre, are second to very few. Throbbing, groovy, and pulsing (hah!) melodies rears their head on the accessible “Pulse”, while the intro to “Ultraviolet” eventually gives way to highly intelligent lyrics that don’t overbear the listener – a refreshing change of pace. Erra has a strong ability to write an album closer, too. “Dementia” is arguably the best song Erra has written to date – it’s a bold, 7-minute+ song split into two distinct halves. The first half of the song alone would be fantastic on its own, but the stunning guitar solo at the end of the song really sells the kind of passion Erra have carried with them even since the release of the Andromeda EP a decade ago. Jesse Cash’s vocals are even more developed, and that’s more apparent the deeper you go into Augment – culminating in “Dementia”.
Carry me away.
While any of Erra’s 4 full-lengths to date could reasonably content for their best overall album, it’s hard to find much fault in Augment. The rare progressive metalcore album to actually get stronger as it unfolds, Augment is a modern progressive marvel that charted a course for a lengthy career. It’s essential listening.