Released: 2011, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
It’s probably fair to say the brain-storming session behind the name Textures was relatively short, given that drummer Stef Broks claims it was inspired by the band’s eclectic influences, personalities, and song structures. Still, this has freed up far more time for the band to focus on what’s important – the music itself, lest we forget.
Perhaps that’s how Textures have come to hone their innovative and complex style, converging ambient passages and brutal riffs with elements of progressive, technical, groove and all other manners of metal. Yet, having begun to truly make a name for themselves over the course of three impressive albums, Textures found themselves without frontman Eric Kalsbeek, and keyboardist Richard Rietdijk in 2009. As such, their first album since could have been lost in the stigma of new members Daniel de Jongh (ex-Cilice) and Uri Dijk. However, not content by doing things by any divisible number, these Dutch metallers have instead layered both new and old influences to create Dualism – an album that has the sort of surrounding atmosphere your lungs need to adapt to.
Don’t make the mistake of equating this with lighter-than-air fare – the song names may edge into pretentious territory at times, but underneath most still boast an iron underbelly. Case in point is album front-of-house ‘Arms Of The Sea’, closely flanked by ‘Black Horses Stampede’ and ‘Sketches From A Motionless Statue’ to cherry-pick a few. In each it’s easy to appreciate the instrumental mastery at play, with guitars never sounding overworked but instead feel almost natural regardless of technicality. In fact in some tracks, such as lead single ‘Running Home’ which boils down to a single overly-catchy riff, things feel far simpler than they truly are – something which a lot of progressive music struggles to encapsulate.
Almost instrumental track ‘Foreclosure’ moves through musical sequences with the sure-footedness of dance partners tracing well-worn steps. Then the vocals of De Jongh swoop in, albeit with a sense of distance as so not to intrude upon the music. The amount of clean vocals within the album may surprise some, but this seems to be the style that De Jongh is most comfortable in his voice gliding smoothly through the lyrics, before grabbing a thermal and reaching just that bit higher. In ‘Consonant Hemispheres’ he puts this vocal ear to good use using progressively bolder and more abrasive tones to break the building tension.
In all, listening to Dualism is like being slowly wrapped in a bubble – with all attention being drawn to the music, whilst filtering out external distractions. There’s definitely still some work to be done on the name front though – not that there’s anything wrong with Dualism, it’s just that it’s almost an undersell given the depth of music on offer here. What you have to wonder is whether by album five they’ll be able to fit it all on a disc.
Review by Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs