Review Summary: Overall this album sounds like Impulse 2, and listening from start to finish is quite a boring activity. Each song is good in itself, but as an album it has very little progression and maintains the same pace throughout. In my opinion, this is not a stand1 of 8 thought this review was well written
When I first heard Impulse by Erra, I was very impressed, and was optimistic for their future. They had great musicianship, great vocal melodies, and great breakdowns. I never thought that they were the most original band ever, but I hoped that these good musicians would do what good musicians do and evolve. Augment does not do that.
Now before anyone assumes that I hated the album, I didn't hate the album. Each song is pretty solid in itself, and some songs really stand out and make you want to listen again. However, listening to the album from start to finish is quite boring. Almost all of the songs stay with their usual format of fast lead riffs with chugging breakdown parts underneath. The vocals do their usual screaming verses, and high singing choruses. The entire pace of the album stays at pretty much a constant rate. With my first listen of the album I kept asking myself, 'haven't I already heard this?'.
What this album does do very well, are the breakdowns and the guitar solos. Their lead guitarist is very good at writing guitar solos that stand out, and can actually get stuck in your head. The solos have a very nice mix of melody and shredding, and make a lot of sense in the context of the song. Some of the breakdowns in this album are also very well written. The breakdown at the end of 'Pulse' is definitely a standout part of the album. These two factors are, in my opinion, what makes this band stand out from the other hundreds of bands in this similar genre.
Songs that stand out:
Ultraviolet, Spirits Away, Prometheus, and Dementia represent the style that I was hoping they would pursue more of. These songs sound the most different from Impulse, and have a lot more progression and melody. These songs have the what I would consider to be the most interesting guitar riffs, and guitar solos. Being a guitarist, that is very important to me. These songs also have vocal parts that feature the singer doing something different from his typical insanely high singing parts.
The song 'Dementia' deserves its own paragraph. It has a great intro that explodes into a great verse, with some of the bands best guitar riffs. The singer does some clean vocal parts that remind me of 'The Contortionist', and 'BTBAM'; considering I love both of those bands this makes a great plus. The long guitar solo about halfway through the song is perfectly placed, and makes an excellent transition into what I would consider to be one of the highlights of the entire album before the ambient part. The last two minutes are an absolutely incredible conclusion to the album. If I had to show someone any song on this album to make them buy it, this would be the song that I would pick.
To conclude, this album isn't bad. It does feature some of my favorite songs by the band thus far. My only problem, and being a musician myself it is a huge problem, is that this album does not evolve to its full potential. If this is your first Erra album, you will love it, but in the context of the rest of their music it could have been so much more. Most likely, in a few months I won't even remember or care that this album came out.
Rating independent of their other albums: 3.5
Rating in the context of their other albums: 2.5