Textures - Polars
Listenable Records
Extreme Experimental Thrash
8 songs (55'59")
Release year: 2004
Textures, Listenable Records
Reviewed by Alex

As we all get up in age some keep wandering if the things of the past we liked and enjoyed so much have passed us by in their development. I can certainly put myself among those people. Thrash metal is one of those entities that certainly evolved with time. Who could have foreseen that the days of Exodus and Forbidden will give birth to Metallica monster, and today we would put supercomplex Meshuggah and superextreme SYL in that category as well. So far, I have been able to fathom the changes. Young Dutch band Textures has decided to challenge my limits, however, by putting out a full-length debut Polars on Listenable Records.

Don’t even try and assign a genre “name” to the music Textures play. Tough aggressive passages are being held together by ever-changing polyrhythms. Don’t even try to walk or run listening to this, you are bound to stumble and fall. Then, all of a sudden keyboards hit and this entire ferocious attitude is awash in the sea of synth and keyboards atmospherics. I have to admit, the changes from A to Z within a minute span are way too hard for me to digest. Just take the title cut, which undoubtedly is an 18+ minute signature card for Textures. Death march is replaced by a dizzying display of complex mathematical riffs to be continued with a long section of just synth and whispers. While I can take all the individual parts I can’t have them all together, making the whole piece less accessible for my own taste. Transgression is the song where tough thrash and atmospherics hold together well, and Young Man is an exercise which really should make At The Gates proud seeing how they still continue to inspire young acts. The rest of the album suffers from the parts being on way opposite parts of metal spectrum (is the album name Polars a giveaway indicator??).

To further add to the weirdness two tracks are pure ambient noise. To band’s credit they don’t announce them as complete tracks on the booklet using Font 2 to type their names compared to Font 12 for the “regular” songs. Three minute break in the action Effluent is passable, but, honestly, who will not pull the CD out when proceedings end with 14.5 min Heave which has nothing but synthetic white noise squeezing your brain into a small box?

While my first impression of Pieter Verpaalen vocals was that comparable to young Bjorn Strid on Steelbath Suicide, I have changed it with multiple listens. He screams way too much and borders on hardcore vocal style not even trying to spruce in a little melody. Musicianship of Textures points to talent and giftedness of individual members, especially rhythm section of bass Dennis Aarts and drummer Stef Broks. I envy the abilities of these guys, and I would not be jealous of rhythm changes they sometimes have to execute.

While definitely pushing the envelope Textures may border on territory where fanbase has to be put together one by one. Hardcore style singing, equal mix of non-easy Meshuggah rhythms and keyboard atmospherics, white noise long tracks – nobody else does it this way. For me – I am either too old or too steady in my ways to move from one extreme to another so briskly. Whatever I say though should not deter Textures members from pursuing their own vision of metal. I am sure they will dazzle us with another tough to digest album in the future.

Killing Songs :
Young Man, Transgression
Alex quoted 63 / 100
Other albums by Textures that we have reviewed:
Textures - Dualism reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Textures - Silhouettes reviewed by Goat and quoted 64 / 100
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