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Album Review

Dutch sextet Textures seem bent on justifying their name with the challenging and complex music heard on their 2004 debut album Polars. Something akin to Meshuggah jamming with the Dillinger Escape Plan by way of Enya, the band's sonic concoctions run the gamut of musical (hard/soft) and emotional (brutal aggression/peaceful relaxation) possibilities. It's quite an undertaking, to be sure, and leadoff single "Ostensibly Impregnable" offers as good an entry point as any to the strange world of Textures. Lurching into action with a stuttering riff of almost Helmet-like minimalism, it soon adds surprisingly lush vocal harmonies to go with its perfectly Meshuggah-esque minor key break, and, finally, resolves in a pure death metal explosion. Ensuing numbers like "Transgression" and "The Barrier" provide even harsher contrasts along these same lines; their use of bountiful melodies offering mesmerizing counterpoint to the metallic madness residing in the band's polar extremity. By comparison, hardcore-infused opener "Swandive" and the instrumental, liquid ambient snippet "Effluent," might actually sound rather ho-hum, but then there are the final two tracks: the title cut and "Heave," which clock in at 18 and 14 minutes, respectively. The first is a truly epic song suite, expanding upon the album's previous experiments to attain dizzying heights of invention; but the second merely reprises the softly pulsing ambient drones previewed almost 20 minutes earlier to the point of distraction. This isn't enough to detract from Polars' meticulously conceived entirety, but it does leave a small residual concern about it all being just a tad too calculated in the end. Such issues aside, Textures give thrill-seeking extreme music explorers plenty to sink their teeth into.


Formed: 2001 in Tilburg, The Netherlands

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Hailing from Tilburg, Holland, Textures are an inventive sextet that expands (and somewhat humanizes) the oppressive progressive death metal style of Meshuggah by incorporating dark melodies and keyboard-led atmospheric passages into their off-kilter rhythmic patterns and near-hardcore aggression. Comprised of Eric Kalsbeek (vocals), Jochem Jacobs (guitar/vocals), Bart Hennephof (guitar), Richard Rietdijk (keyboards), Dennis Aarts (bass), and Stef Broks (drums), Textures formed in 2001 and spent...
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Polars, Textures
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