Spain’s Ernia sound like death — and that’s a compliment. There’s a temptation to use hellish and demonic imagery in describing what images the band’s sound evokes on their self titled full length, but that wouldn’t do it justice. The band hit hard with a more personal, tangible take on “hell” and its associates that’s less of a show and more of a call out to the individual listener. This band present the sound of tortured souls languishing under untold weights of corruption and pain that might never, ever be erased — sound familiar?
Ernia sounds like the grindcore soundtrack to our times. Stylistically, the band give their craft welcome distinguishing factors. Although they often dive headfirst into blast beat attacks and noise tsunamis that might leave the listener gasping for air, they just as easily present a riff-centric music that remains brutal and complements their more noisy elements nicely. Each element takes a few steps forward in light of the broader combination it sits in — and the unhinged tracks take on an interestingly complex life of their own.
Whether it’s the slick production or just the musicians’ own technical prowess or both, while remaining distinct from prog, Ernia make the intricacies of their presentation clear, contributing to somewhat of a gothic sheen. There’s little lost to the realms of noise, as they make every note stand out all on its own.
Ultimately, while they remain solidly presenting as a furiously caustic sounding band, the twists and turns that they do take make sense and figure into their broadly sinister presentation that really ends up poised to “mean something” for the listener. Ernia hits them hard.
The vocal work supports this creeping and ultimately overwhelming darkness, but it does not take center stage, which lets the curiously detailed musical tracks shine more fully. Bluntly, there’s little to no hope of understanding the lyrics the first go around — which for any extreme metal fan is a familiar feature, but the deep dive into chaos doesn’t always work. Here, however, the combination succeeds since the band maintain a hold on the wildly grinding and unique core defining their December 7 Absolute Contempt Records release.
Check out the music below.