Concert review: ERRA w/ NOVELISTS, Void of Vision, and Make Them Suffer | 05.25.24, Red Flag (with photo gallery)

Photo of Conor Hesse of ERRA by Erica Vining

It’s official, I’m in my ERRA era.

The God of war and plague, Erra brought forth mayhem and political turmoil, which seems pretty fitting considering modern social conflict. Perhaps the recent success of the band has awoken the restless Akkadian deity?

Jokes aside, ERRA came to Red Flag on Saturday ready to solidify their divine status. Flanked by a solid trio of openers, the night was a storm of energy with frenzied head banging, circle pits, and no shortage of crowd surfers. My ears are still ringing from the assault of instruments with so many standout solos that I lost track of which was my favorite.

The opener of the night, NOVELISTS, was new to me. The French progressive metalcore band touts a female frontwoman who stole the show with her boundless energy that carried her back and forth across the stage through the six-song set list. Vocalist Camille Contreras is relatively new to the band, joining in 2023, but she blended seamlessly with the other musicians on stage. Contreras had clean vocals that evoked Hayley Williams and heavy screams rivaling Courtney LaPlante. One standout for the band was bassist Nicolas Delestrade, whose punchy bass riffs were audible over the other instruments. A downside with many of the trending new age metal acts for me is the lack of perceptible bass. NOVELISTS made sure each member of the band was heard through their set, and everyone was given a chance to show off their individual talent on stage. Contreras frequently thanked “Saint Lou-ey” for welcoming their band with a charming stage presence that endeared her to the packed venue.

Keeping with the international theme, Australian metalcore band Void of Vision took the stage shortly after NOVELISTS. Vocalist Jack Bergin in his black leather hot pants commanded attention with brutal vocals that made my throat hurt. Seriously, this man is impressive in the fact that he can scream like that every night without losing his voice. Unlike NOVELISTS, Void of Vision took the dual guitar route with no bassist, but the skill of their guitarists outweighed my frustration with the lack of depth bass can add. Plus, guitarist Mitch Fairlie appeared to be playing a left handed 7-string guitar, and as a fellow leftie I always have room in my heart for southpaw string players. Void of Vision opened with their single “EMPTY” which debuted last month, a catchy, progressive blend that borders on djent. The set was enjoyable with the band playing through songs including “Year of the Rat” and “VAMPYR,” before closing with “INTO THE DARK” off their third studio album, CHRONICLES.

Make Them Suffer, another metalcore band from down under, were the stand outs of the night for me. Taking the stage prior to the headliners of the night, the band of five came out to a roar from the crowd that was deafening despite my ear plugs. The group out of Perth, Australia, wasted no time diving into their single “Ghost of Me,” which is the kind of song that opens pits immediately. Heavy with clean vocals sparsely intertwined, “Ghost of Me” introduces us to keyboardist Alex Reade’s unclean vocals as she weaves them in with Sean Hammanis before clean harmonizing flawlessly midway through the song. Jordan Mather adds thunderous fills through the song after a strong opening, which are supported by Nick McLernon on guitar and Jaya Jeffery on bass. I found myself lost in this set with stunning visuals from their crew, lasers captivating the audience. Crowd favorite “Epitaph” came midway through the set, and the band finished with “Doomswitch” after Hammanis called for crowd surfers to high-five him in the pit.

ERRA was the final act to take the stage as a boisterous crowd was still recovering from the insane energy Make Them Suffer put forth. The only domestic band of the night, the Alabama natives are frequently referenced in any progressive metalcore discussion. Their just-released album, Cure, was front and center for the set with the title track opening the night and songs from the record including “Blue Reverie,” “Slow Sour Bleed,” and “Pale Iris” making the set list. “Dementia” off their 2013 album Augment was a standout with a stunning guitar solo played seamlessly by Jesse Cash. The set had no shortage of fog machines and lasers which make for an immersive experience and stunning photos. There was no walk out for this set, as the venue remained near capacity from start to finish, a testament to the relationship ERRA has with their fans. One thing that stood out at this show beyond the bands themselves were the merch tables. It is hard to be unique with merch, but ERRA and Make Them Suffer offered several shirt designs that felt fresh and at a reasonable $35 for shirts. ERRA had a full size foil poster for $10. These prices made it affordable for fans and the tables stayed packed through the night. The tour continues in the states through June 2nd where they close in New York, NY, before heading overseas less than two weeks later for their international leg. | Erica Vining

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