I’d vouch for this. ’50 % of the metal loving populace of India grew up on nu metal/ metalcore’. Well for obvious reasons I cannot further substantiate this ‘supposed’ fact. Oh hell, just take a gander at your local metal scene (if in existence of course), and there is a good chance that most do metalcore. Yet again, that is not in itself a bad thing. Metalcore was always the most promotionally backed and accessible (both taste wise and availability wise) form of ‘heavy’ music that we were first rushed into, especially for those born in the late 80’s and 90’s. For once we were able to part with the almost insipid nature of most mainstream rock and find something more primal. From there on, most musical tastes (metal ones) expand and shoot off into different directions while some stick with different adaptations of the ever ubiquitous ‘breakdown’. This is not about being a hipster or uber kvlt or anything as ridiculous as those names denote. It is about exploring. With curiosity and an insatiable appetite leading the way to better music. Personally, I no longer listen much of anything metalcore, but I am darn proud to have grown with it. It was the cornerstone on which my listening palette developed early on. And it is heartwarming indeed when certain bands still have a trick or two up their sleeve to keep the genre relevant.
Slowly cleansing the cesspool that the genre has grown to become is Erra. After raising hopes and turning quite a few heads with their 2011 debut LP Impulse, 2013’s Augment was much awaited. Maneuvering out of every possible hint of a sophomore slump, they’ve brought out a release that surpasses its predecessor. Erra has always been a mix of sounds from bands more popular, and one might easily discern their influences here as well. Impressions of Misery Signals and Born of Osiris simply jut out while the cleans remind of Cove Reber from Saosin. They marry these influences and still air an authenticity that one could well call their own. With Augment, the listener is likely to be held captive by the stunning melody on showcase. Interjecting them at exactly the right places and done with a finesse almost unparalleled (except maybe Ryan Morgan’s) within the genre. Jesse Cash and Alan Rigdon simply rule the roost throughout Augment. They trade their repertoire of guitar pyrotechnics for direction and composition. The leads tow the Misery Signal line while the groovy palm muted riffs resemble Born of Osiris’. A single listen to tracks like Hybrid Earth and Prometheus, be it the vocal style or a guitar lick, is all it takes to set in. The solos in Hybrid Earth’s bridge section and towards the end of closer Dementia are sure to make their way inside your head. On the other hand vocalist Garrison Lee treads the grey area between Karl Schubach(Misery Signals) and Ronnie Canizaro (Born of Osiris) which befits the music at hand and adds a sense of power and character. The drums and the bass just seem to be happy to serve as supporting structures, which is unfortunate to a certain extent.
While the album as a whole do not really differ in overall pace and style, it does enough as a collection of great standalone songs. Erra’s brand of emotionally grappling melody espoused by djenty grooves makes for a satisfying listen. Augment is up there with Norma Jean’s Wrongdoers for top metalcore status.
Stream the entire album below