Review Summary: Erra's Neon illuminates with vibrance and grace
I was first introduced to Erra via their third studio album entitled "Drift", it really stuck out to me over competitors such as Phinehas, Wage War and to an extent Northlane in their little Progressive Metalcore bubble. The album was technical, chuggy, but was also very beautiful and emotive. Drift continues to grow on me as it stands. They struck quite the balance with weighing JT's aggressive vocals and the beautiful musicianship from Jesse and co, intertwining it together constructing tracks that had the metalcore edge but also offering captivating melodies to keep the listener engaged.
With their pretty enjoyable outing with Drift, I have been anticipating their follow up record. Overall, this is a pretty good follow-up to Drift, delivering a lot more pummelling riff's than it's predecessor had. The songwriting once again is quite impressive, following more so through the vein of Drift songwriting apposed to Augment or Impulse, although there are subtle nods to their debut and sophomore particularly in a multitude of the verse riff's that often are odd time signatures, keeping the listener invested and interested.
Highlights on the album for me are definitely Ghost of Nothing and Breach, with Ghost being pretty much a perfect post-Augment era, Erra song. It has a catchy chorus, fast pummelling riff's and drums, and also a hint of melody in lush lead guitar playing that Erra fans are oh so accustomed to. The tapping riff during the chorus is downright guitar ear candy, the track also displays a groove that a majority of the tracks on the record follows suit with. Breach starts off with a minimalist guitar piece with Jesse's vocals on top of it, it is a captivating part that I wish was utilized a little bit more in the album, but it doesn't detriment the album too much. Shortly after this minimalist portion the track quickly kicks into gear with a groovy and very Erra like riff to start off the track (and the album), the verse following displays the drums going all out with similar riff's from the first portion of the song to back it up, a great way to start off the album, get people moving quickly, and get new listeners into the album respectively.
The first single Dissaray (which admittedly made me a little worried at first) is definitely most comparable to Luminesce on Drift, a short but sweet song that doesn't overstay it's welcome, the song is very groovy, with the tempo slightly decreased compared to a lot of the other songs on the album, and it works very well. Valhalla and Ultimata are both standouts as well and definitely highlights once again.
For post-Augment Erra, this is a great way to combine their sound that they recently adopted in Drift with the almost deathcore like tendencies of Impulse and Augment, resulting in something that is ultimately more accessible than the aforementioned trio of albums. The album can be enjoyed by a demographic larger than any of the previous albums in my opinion, delivering fast pummeling riffs, and also catchy choruses and melodies with a great groove throughout to make both sides of the spectrum satisfied.