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REVIEW: Textures – “Phenotype”

The Dutch metalheads, Textures are back with some new music! After 13 years as a band, they are now going to release their fifth album Phenotype on February 5th via Nuclear Blast. Over the last two years the band worked on writing and recording this record, but they are also about to release another record titled Genotype next year. This record is rather interesting as Phenotype is a single track, which is divided into smaller tracks. But let´s see how this new music sounds!

The record starts with a progressive, mathy section which in fact sounds a little bit unprepared and chaotic, probably because there is no intro. After a while, the structure of the song gets clearer and some typical Textures riffing creates a rope to orient through this heavy opener. It is definitely a lot happening in “Oceans Collide”, while it is straight forward providing a good groove and a catchy chorus. All in all this first song seems a little bit too forced: some parts just do not flow perfectly into the other, whilst they would’ve created a more fluent feeling to it due to better structural work.  What I like is that  Daniel De Jongh´s vocals bring in a nice The Ocean vibe, which sounds pretty interesting over the heavy instrumental concept.

The single “Shaping A Single Grain Of Sand“ is probably one of the most interesting tracks on Phenotype, with its Gojira-esque riffing and progressive death metal feeling, that stands in a big contrast to the catchy clean vocals that appear in the chorus. Textures again shows, that they are masters of polyrhythms, so for sure, every fan of Meshuggah will love what the band is doing in this song, with its deep chugging and groovy patterns. Even if it is very progressive, it has some really easy composition and thus does not seem to be too complex nor catchy. Also the riffing kind of reminds me of an older As I Lay Dying, due to the Metalcore-ish feeling, which arguably also provides a good mass appeal. This riffing work on Phenotype simply sounds amazing due to the organic guitar sounds and the keen melodies that are bound into it. The high technical level and of course the tempo of this music is astonishing in every way and proves that Textures are not old-men at all. Maybe this is the difference between professional sportsmen and musicians, that musicians are getting better and better with time, while a common sportsman is done at the middle age of 30.

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 Also the work of some arabic sounding synthesizers and an interesting silent part within “Illuminate The Trail” sound  a little like Between The Buried And Me´s The Parallax II: Future Sequence with a touch of Dream Theater and this proves to be a nice contrast to the previous riffing. The band again works with repeating parts, such as the intro, the    synthesizers and of course the chorus, but compared to “Oceans Collide” it sounds way more mature and more fluent, as it has to be on a song which is more than seven minutes in length.

Outstanding in a special way is ”Meander“ – kind of interlude, which works with drums and some ambient noises. This track again shows how huge the sound of this record really is. The drums sound like melodies with the power of a thunderbolt and lead into the next song that again grooves a lot with a Meshuggah-ish feeling. “Zman” again stands in a big contrast with being an ambient piano work, that is basically based on arpeggiated chords, while it does not intrigue with a big diversity, but is still able to chill the high progressive feeling down with its minimalistic simplicity. It also leads directly into the last song, which is called “Timeless”, but is not timeless at all. If you are a rhythm fanatic, you will be able to figure out that it is based on a 5/4 time signature, wondering about that? Probably not, because it´s maybe that common for a band like Textures like a ¾ time signature is common for Waltz. The song builds up with nice melodies and ambient tremolo picking that sounds full and bright, before the last chorus appears with a piano motive of “Zman”, ending in a big conclusion. It finishes this record in a beautiful harmonic way, but does not sound like the end at all. Based on the fact that the last played note is a c# – it would need a g# to sound like an ending, due to our listening experiences, which is used to have a full cadence at the ending. This can be seen as a “semi final ending”, which seems to disappoint. Maybe and let’s be hopefully, this could be where Genotype begins. We will see what they will come up with in future, but I am sure that they will start where they ended.

Score: 8.5 / 10

Notale Tracks: “Shaping A Single Grain Of Sand” ,”Illuminate The Trail” , Timeless”

FFO: Gojira, Meshuggah, As I Lay Dying

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