Released: 2006, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Dutch metallers Textures are back with a new singer and a much less-hyped release (debut POLARS was named by the band as “The best Dutch metal album ever made”) in sophomore effort, DRAWING CIRCLES. Still sitting comfortably in the realm of Meshuggah-lite, the band has dropped the long-winded progressive element and horn sections of POLARS (two songs = 33 minutes?!) to create a more stripped-down album that benefits greatly as a result. The staccato riffs of Jochem Jacobs and Bart Hennephof still cut through the songs and new throat, Eric Kalsbeek, is a dead-ringer for Jens Kidman’s frightening bark but the addition of some clean vocals alongside the choppy rhythms and lurching tempos make the album a more relaxing listen than just another Meshuggah knock-off. All ten tracks on DRAWING CIRCLES flow into one another to keep the momentum up but can also be a little disconcerting to someone used to a clear cut between the music but for those with patience and an open mind, Textures is an interesting band that offers up something a little different but also familiar.
While opener “Drive” has a chugging nu-ness to it, “Regenesis” and “Denying Gravity” are biting examples of fast-paced modern metal mixed with subdued melodic sections that inject a lush, sublime feeling to the listener. The clean vocal tandem of Jacobs and Kalsbeek meet on “Illumination” and “Upwards” and it is here that Kalsbeek’s vocal diversity is first heard. Pieter Verpaalen, who sang on POLARS, had a higher range but Kalsbeek sounds like a much better and well-rounded vocalist overall. Along with “Upwards,” “Touching The Absolute” and the keyboard-rich instrumental “Surreal State of Enlightenment” feature lengthy progressive leanings along with heavy, metallic crunch that are not far off of Devin Townsend’s SYNCHESTRA or TERRIA albums. For every moment of slower tempo-ed, melancholic music, the band bounces back with tracks like “Stream of Consciousness” and “Millstone” that dig away at the root of Meshuggah’s discordant riffs and off-kilter, lurching freakouts.
Trimming the fat has given Textures a much cleaner and less pretentious album with DRAWING CIRCLES. Claiming you have released the greatest album to ever come out of your home country reeks of an attitude that even The Beatles couldn’t live up to in their claim they were bigger than Jesus and certainly not the right path for a new band to take. A little modesty will allow Textures to fly under the radar of many and could see DRAWING CIRCLES as the surprise buzz album it deserves to be but its musical diversity could also be its tragic flaw. Hopefully, listeners will allow this album to permeate their minds because the richly-textured (no pun intended) mosaic of metal that Textures has created here deserves to be heard without any ill-conceived notions of grandeur and false hype to live to up to.
KILLER KUTS: “Regenesis,” “Denying Gravity,” “Stream of Consciousness,” “Circular,” “Touching The Absolute”