Almost two years to the day since releasing their superb self-titled fifth album, progressive metalcore band ERRA play Camden’s Electric Ballroom – thankfully now going ahead without any lockdown restrictions to stop them following 2022’s cancellation. Touring as part of a four-band line-up across much of Europe, they’re joined by artists that complement the blend of heavy, technical groove and melody that the headliners bring.
Openers Sentinels sit on the heavier end of tonight’s line-up, focusing on rhythm and beatdowns to drive their music forwards. They get some action from the crowd early on and provide a tight, consummate set, but in comparison to the other artists playing tonight, they do feel to miss a bit of the range that their counterparts have. Their recent tour with Lorna Shore feels a better fit for their musical style, and as good as they are both in performance and songwriting, they struggle to find traction with the evening’s audience.
In contrast, Invent Animate flows from the chaotic to the ethereal with a guitar tone harking back to djent’s heyday a decade or so ago. The range of vocalist Marcus Vik is the centrepiece of their sound, and he conducts the tightly packed crowd in following his instruction and whipping up a frenzy. The reception doubles from the prior performers, perhaps in recognition of a style more akin to the evening’s headliners, as well as in the quality of their music. The show falls on the release day of their new album Heavener which brings a further celebratory feel to their set.
Main support Silent Planet has rebounded from a horrific crash last November to shatter any illusions of their meteoric rise being slowed and put on a show packed with musicianship and emotion. Their lyrical themes resonate with the crowd and stray far from what traditional metal/metalcore would cover – a refreshing artist in the scene for sure. The band gives 110% in their performance (and it feels like they do much the same every night they play), none more so than vocalist Garrett Russell who ends the set in the crowd, much to the appreciation of the now-packed room.
ERRA takes to the stage a little later than the billed time, but any fatigue in the room is immediately evaporated by them launching into an eviscerating “Gungrave,” complete with confetti cannons at its conclusion. The sporadic crowd surfers through Silent Planet’s set have now become a steadier stream – dodging them from behind, and CO2 and confetti from the front become a challenging ballet for fellow photographers and me in the pit.
Guitarist Jesse Cash intros “Vanish Canvas” that it’s his favourite song they’ve written as a band, and it seems all on stage have genuine enjoyment with everything they’re playing; with “Nigh to Silence,” a deluxe track from their latest album, a particular highlight from the set. Lead vocalist JT Cavey’s cleans sound superb, none more so on “Scorpion Hymn,” with vocals handled entirely by him; he and Cash sharing the clean duties on the latest release being excellent on record but taken to another level live.
Moving through a set that focuses heavily on their latest release but also reaches back to Augment, Neon and Drift, the crowd remains captivated from the back through to energized at the front of the moshpit and bouncing mass of bodies. Overall, it’s been a performance well worth the wait from the headliners, enhanced by a high quality and well-fitting full line-up of artists, and all four are ones I wouldn’t hesitate to try and catch again live.