Review Summary: A young band shows it's potential (and youth)
From the depths of the Birmingham/Montgomery Alabama area comes a band with a different sound from the usual music coming from these parts of America. Unlike the usual Southern Rock sound, or Southern Sludge Metal bands coming out of the Southern portion of the country, we get Erra, a five piece Progressive Metal band, with their second EP entitled Andromeda
Their sound much more borders on Periphery then their southern brethren Mastodon, with soaring guitar leads, punishing drums, and a combination of growls and melodic clean vocals. This EP starts out with the intro track, “Omega Children”. This track is really just one long (40 second) breakdown, which really does not prepare you for the next track, “Machina”. Instead of a breakdown happy band the listener might have been expecting, the band instead breaks out some technical guitar work, and shows off the talent of the guitarists. This style is retained for most of Andromeda
, with only a few nicely placed breakdowns, such as the tail end of “Of Rare Reform” and the beginning of the title track. The rest of the album is a nice collection of riffs, melodic leads, and nice vocal work throughout.
The guitarists in Erra are the ones that set the tone for the band. With everything from tremolo picking, to some sweep picking, and nicely placed riffs in-between, these guitarists show up on the talent side of things. The drumming is impressive, showing restraint, and avoiding taking over the songs with too many fills. “Isolation Blue” in particular shows off the solid drumming with some catchy kick patterns and fills. The vocals are solid on Andromeda, with the growls being good enough to make up for the lack of any real variety, aside from a few cases, and the cleans being notably impressive in “Machina” and the before mentioned “Isolation Blue”. Both vocal styles do a nice job of keeping things interesting and helping the songs along.
Although this is an impressive release by a young band, there are still some things that hold it back from being very good. The music in general is relatively standard fare. It has been done before, and done a lot, so this is nothing groundbreaking. The harsh vocals rarely differentiate from the lower toned screams, which are good, but the lack of variety does get repetitive at times. The clean vocals are good quality, but may alienate some listeners who do not care for the higher-pitched singing.
Erra is a rising young band in the metal world. Although Andromeda
suffers from some faults, there is potential; Erra just needs to branch out and try to be more original. This album has some interesting things that occur in it, and it is worth a listen if you are a fan of this style, but don't expect a groundbreaking, amazing listen.