Sunday, May 6, 2012

Textures - Dualism

Nuclear Blast Records

Although I’ve enjoyed Netherlands act Textures’ past releases, I couldn’t help but feel that despite their best attempts, the band were still unable to shake off their Meshuggah clone status, even if they did make every attempt to broaden their musical influences as far as they could.
Since the release of 2008’s ‘Silhouettes’, the Dutch act have undergone some big changes, with vocalist Eric Kalsbeek and keyboardist Richard Rietdijk parting ways with the band midway through 2010. The news was met with concern amongst some fans that the band would struggle to bounce back from such huge shifts within the band’s line-up. But with the addition of vocalist Daniel De Jongh (Ex-Cilice) and keyboardist Uri Dijk (Who’s also a member of melodic death metal act Ethereal) to the fold (Who still comprise of guitarist/vocalist Jochem Jacobs, guitarist Bart Hennephof, bassist Remko Tielemans and drummer Stef Broks), and appearances at some European festivals to reintroduce the newly revamped band to fans, the future looked a little more promising.
Three years after the release of their less than stellar ‘Silhouettes’, Textures are back with their fourth full-length effort ‘Dualism’. And my, haven’t the band changed for the better.
The first thing you notice about the opening track ‘Arms Of The Sea’ is the vastly improved production values this time around. Every instrument seems to have its place in the mix, and the cinematic sound of them all coming together as a whole sounds so much better than anything released from the band. Outside of production, it’s Textures’ complete overhaul on the song writing front that hits you immediately. Yes, some of the band’s Meshuggah-like riffing is still present, but it’s been toned down heavily to allow a greater sense of atmospherics to broaden the sound. The third thing to really stand out is Jongh and his vocals. He not only exceeds on the aggressive vocal front (He sounds less metalcore than Kalsbeek), but the greater input of clean vocals give the band a completely different sound, with the huge choruses rising above the controlled chaos of the music below. Simply put, ‘Arms Of The Sea’ is something Textures had always promised in the past, but been unable to deliver until now.
The follow-up track ‘Black Horses Stampede’ is again something completely unexpected from the band with the aggression toned down to make way for a greater atmospheric and progressive vibe. But despite the lack of upfront guitars in the mix, the band still belt out plenty of huge riffs and Jongh’s mix of aggressive vocals and stunning clean melodies is delivered to absolute perfection.
‘Reaching Home’ is a real stand out with Jongh sticking wholly to clean vocals with huge catchy choruses throughout with a dense Meshuggah-like and epic riff structure unpinning, while tracks such as the dual tempo nature of ‘Sanguine Draws The Oath’ (Both melodic and aggressive in equal measure), ‘Consonant Hemispheres’ and the masterfully constructed ‘Stoic Resignation’ only reinforcing the obvious – Jongh’s performances and abilities to craft stunning chorus structures and range on the vocal front is a huge addition to Textures development forward.
Elsewhere, tracks such as the post-rock like instrumental ‘Burning The Midnight Oil’, the technically inclined metalcore battering of ‘Minor Earth, Major Skies’ and the majestic ‘Sketches From A Motionless Statue’ (which is preceded by the short interlude ‘Foreclosure’) only reinforce the notion that Textures have blurred the lines and have the capabilities of experimenting beyond their sound and direction of the past.
Textures have failed to really deliver anything that I would consider essential in the past, but with ‘Dualism’, the band finally have me sitting up and taking notice. As far as I’m concerned, this is Textures finest moment, and the one album that really delivers on the potential they always had but was unable to really explore with their former line-up.

For more information on Textures, check out –

© Justin Donnelly