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Last Active 02-25-21 1:37 am
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erra self titled ranked

after a week and 77 spins here are my purely scientific and in no way subjective findings

Scorpion Hymn – look no further than the fadeout to find out why this is last place, in addition to the JT cleans this time around not sounding good, but he more than makes up for it in the rest of his performance by breaking out some of his strongest and most diverse screams on an ERRA song. This is perfectly backed up by Jesse’s thunderous riffing and beefed up by Alex’s massive drums, not to mention the record’s incredible production job (goes for all of these tracks btw this shit sounds incredible). The highlight of the track comes around 1:47 where he hits a tunnel throat guttural as Jesse goes hard on that low G, which is one of the hardest hitting moments on the album and more than makes up for the song’s shortcomings to keep it in the running, but something’s gotta be the worst. Still owns

Divisionary – If the music surrounding the song is good enough I don’t really give a shit about the lyrics, so I’m not bothered by “small black screens are your only God now”, but like, I get where you’re comin from if that’s not really a winner. Thankfully, it’s a brief moment amidst a sea of Jesse’s cleans that channel exactly what I love about Saosin and Secret and Whisper (the thing which drew me to ERRA in the first place). This song owns but its best moment is that admittedly reealllly fuckin good chorus, which means compared to the other songs there isn’t as much interesting shit to offer, although the verses own hard too and Jesse breaks out a great bridge at the end. I’m also not in love with all the production choices (like the “ERASE” shit I’m not in love with), but they’re pretty easy to overlook given how strong most of the song is.

Lunar Halo – Although they admittedly execute a similar type of song in a better and more concise way with “Electric Twilight” a few tracks prior, this one feels more like a full expansion of that sonic territory, and is home to both some of the densest and most rewarding riffing on the whole album. It absolutely makes sense to me why Jesse’s so hyped on this one specifically, because the verses especially have so much to unpack in the guitarwork (1:09 or 2:24 for my favorites) plus the bridge where it all drops down to acapella Jesse and then takes right off into what is probably the record’s best solo. I even kinda dig the vocoder intro, partially because the hook of this song is huge. The length does kind of bring this song down a bit when ranked along the others though, and its transition into “Vanish Canvas”, while really cool for that track, does stretch this one out a bit too much, but it doesn't detract from all this song does right.

Memory Fiction – there are brief moments where it almost doesn’t sound like they know how to sell this poppy of a song (the lower vocals still hit my ear a little awkwardly), but when it gets going it gets the fuck going. Jesse kicks it into gear as the song progresses delivering an abundance of stunning and melodically satisfying melodies that make me very eager for the prospect of new Ghost Atlas this year. The instrumental work on the song delicately weaves between the vocal passages with engaging flurries of pretty, mathy guitarwork filling in the track. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the better songs here, a general rarity among ERRA closers, but it still does a wonderful job wrapping up the record.

Snowblood – they goddamn scorched the Earth when they dropped this as the leadoff single. Couple that with it being the opener, and it’s the perfect introduction to what’s on display with the new album. Taking you on a journey of tapping, machine gun tremolo picking, one of Jesse’s best solos in recent memory, before shifting it up in the back half and dropping 2:48 onward like a ton of bricks with what is still one of the most thrilling moments on the record. Although now that the whole album is out it’s lost a little of it’s magic, since its chorus is on the weaker end by this album’s standards, I will never forget the days when this was the only track I had jamming it in wonder of what the rest of this record would be like.

Electric Twilight – hardest grower, mostly because I don’t usually fuck with this type of ERRA song (“Drift”, “Hyperreality”) but this one blows both out of the water with some of the record’s most electrifying (heh) guitar work. This song is absurd amounts of fun, with the circus riff and the bounciness of the harmonics riff serving as some of the moments I’m most excited for when I jam this thing, not to mention that skyscraper chorus out of Jesse that’s probably the moment that gets most stuck in my head during the brief windows of time where I haven’t been jamming this.

Vanish Canvas – I guess this one kind of goes in the same category of “Memory Fiction” where the melodies are so pretty that they’re pushing the band poppier than they’ve ever been, but they sound more comfortable and confident on this one to me probably because it’s a little more slotted into their formula, and because Jesse’s stunning melodies and incredible vocal performance go above and beyond selling this poppy of a song (big shoutout 3:32 for my favorite melody). Even with all of the focus on the vocals there’s still a ton of intricate guitar playing below the surface that make the song even more colorful

Eidolon – Jesse’s voice is such a big part of why I love this band, so an all JT song is a hard sell for me, and while “Scorpion Hymn” had me come around to the idea it didn’t properly set my expectations for how good this one is. This track is incredible, although a lot of why it shines is due to the gorgeous clean instrumental sections that open and pop up towards the end of the song. Not only does it shine as one of the most beautiful moments on the entire album, as well as illuminate how amazing the bass sounds on the album, but it also makes the heavier section hit way harder. Jesse’s riffing balances both aggression and vibrancy on this song flawlessly filling in the space around one of JT’s most impressive ERRA performances (big shoutout to SORRRROOOW). I do still kinda wish there were Jesse vocals on it somewhere, even if a minimal amount (they tried writing something for the instrumental section which I really wish they fleshed out more) but everything else is top tier

House of Glass – I fell off Tool a lot over the years. I still kind of have a soft spot for their riffing style but I don’t have the patience to actually sit down with a record of theirs anymore, so the seamless integration of their riffs into ERRA’s music, especially at 1:39, is something I’m fully on board with. All of the riffs across this track are phenomenal, displaying some of the record’s strongest guitar work. This also has my favorite usage of Jesse’s lower register, which almost drones through the verses. It also holds JT’s best cleans on the whole album, demonstrating impressive chemistry trading off with Jesse in the chorus and even holding his own briefly in the verses. Jesse’s cleans towards the end serve as the highlight of the track, before dropping into one of the record’s better breakdowns that dissolves into distorted theremin madness and promptly transitions incredibly into the next track.

Shadow Autonomous – not only does this song channel that Saosin sound better than anything else on the record, with Jesse taking up over half the track delivering nothing but incredible melodies Cove wishes he could come up with, but it also essentially breaks out the “Diamond Eyes” riff in the fucking breakdown and ends with an acoustic outro that borderline calls back to the end of Andromeda’s t/t. Song is practically designed for me to love it

Gungrave – barely giving you time to breathe after “Snowblood” this incredible fucking track comes crashing in and sets the bar for how hard this album is gonna go. That record is shattered multiple times within the same song, at 1:14, 3:03, and goddamn 3:32. This is probably the heaviest ERRA track since fuckin “Augment” shit goes so unbelievably hard. Jesse’s riffing is massive, deploying nothing but crushing riffing the entire song backed up by Alex’s powerful drumming. Not to mention being home to some of Jesse’s best cleans on the whole album, with both the chorus and bridge being among his strongest moments. Even JT breaks out some sick fuckin range (again my main man 3:32). It’s so damn good and I’m glad that upon release this one is pretty universally viewed as a highlight

Remnant – my favorite ERRA song since 2013, deploying vigorous riffing like artillery right off the bat before transitioning into Jesse’s best chorus since “Augment” . The stretch from 1:32 to 2:28 is my favorite stretch of music this lineup of the band has put together, home to both JT and Jesse’s best vocal performances on the record (“DEECAAY, EEEVAPORATE, LEFT TO ROT ALONE” and “FEET UPOON THE GROOOUND” respectively). Although the magic that makes me in love with this band reaches its peak in the middle of the track, the back half does a wonderful job bringing the song to the close , following that up with some of the tightest chemistry between Jesse and Alex’s playing (big shoutout that triplet riff) before bringing things down for a colorful solo that builds into a crushing ending. This song epitomizes everything that makes me love this album and goes above and beyond in fully delivering the promise “Eye of God” signaled as far as how good new ERRA can be
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