Erra @ Club Academy, Manchester

Erra Merch

In the cavernous room of the Club Academy underground beneath the University buildings, respite can be found from the rainy streets of Manchester. Arriving for their debut headline show in the city are progressive metalcore veterans ERRA along with a lavish bill of opening acts warranting a great deal of interest themselves. With a small festival’s worth of talents promised, the expectations are set sky high for an evening of ruthless technicality.

Setting the tone for the evening are the rhythmic demolition crew SENTINELS with songs so complicated you will be knocked off your feet every few moments, viscerally reacting to every momentary new assault. They control the chaos with the apparent ease, flowing between metres and rhythms frivolously, instigating frequent noises of disgusted approval from throughout the room. For the duration of the musical onslaught, drummer Dave Rucki smirks and grins consistently, almost as though adding insult to injury with the ease he executes incomprehensibly difficult acts with merely four limbs. While the crowd seem somewhat reserved to physically participate, that doesn’t deny the appreciation of the craft, with frequent hollering and cheers both during and after tracks, we are certain SENTINELS will have converted a fair few heads through the course of their set.

Next to the plate are INVENT ANIMATE promising somewhat of a more accessible blend of fast paced aggressive riffs, shrouded ambience, and emo inspired chorus hooks. They are another outfit rife with intricacies throughout the instrumentation, particular onus though, must be placed on guitarist Keaton Goldwire who traverses his fretboard at an awe-inspiring velocity and safe control. One aspect that does set them apart is the vulnerability displayed in vocalist Marcus Vik, particularly during clean and ambient moments. He incites an improvement in movement in the audience, getting people off their feet and waving arms in time during Cloud Cascade. Vik proposes this being “the sweatiest show on this tour”, before descending into their heaviest track thus far in Immolation Of Night, which receives a circle pit before the song has even begun, which descends emphatically into a mosh pit at least the width of the stage. INVENT ANIMATE have dutifully continued the expectation of excellence on this bill and leave the room hungry for more.

Our penultimate act of the evening is California metalcore outfit SILENT PLANET boasting tracks with unique and powerful messages along with grand sonic drama. The driving force for both aspects is vocalist Garrett Russel, who distinctly endures every emotion he conveys. He traverses between his emotive screams to spoken word sections with a fluidity that is enthralling to witness. One of the highlights of the whole set, however, was the performance of a new unreleased demo track featuring a drum and bass break that seemed to take the whole room aback and became a major talking point after the set. They closed with Trilogy, allowing much of the crowd to eagerly join in with the repeated chant of “it’s always red, the static in my head” before the final breakdown which sees a huge mosh pit erupt as well as our first crowd surfer of the night. As far as engrossing performances go, SILENT PLANET have laying a claim to be up there with the best.

With such a formidable night preceding them, it is now time for ERRA to emerge and prove their worth as our headliners. Opening with Gungrave, they dispel any illusion that they were going to let up from the calibre we had come to expect. They wield rhythm with an air of mastery, machine-like in the execution of rapid shredded patterns, embellishing with flutters and trills in an awestriking display. Guitarist and clean vocalist Jesse Cash is an emphatic watch, pulling out guitar tricks throwing his axe about his person on a whim, all while playing exceptionally.

Vocalist J.T. Cavey announces it has come time to abandon the singing section of the set displacing it for one of a heavier nature, rattling through Scorpion King before rapidly heading back to Hybrid Earth off 2013 album Augment to a budding reception of unrelenting movement and moshing. Devisionary concludes the main body of their set with a sea of hands raised clapping along with the dropped down bridge section. They return for an encore of Pull From The Ghost and Snowblood, the latter of which has the whole crowd once again raising their arms, and has Cavey conducting drummer Alex Bellew during the bridge, throwing limbs extravagantly facing away from the crowd. They depart to a raw of adoration, and we are sure it won’t be too long again before we see ERRA headlining a bigger room not far away.

For what promised to be an exceptional night from the billing of the first headline show in Manchester from ERRA, a relentless display of metal ensued and could leave even the most gluttonous fan satiated. We are left in no doubt that each act has pushed the next to perform at their apex in order to not be outdone, and we are piqued to see where each act will go next.

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