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Textures - Polars CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.58 | 24 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Polars' - Textures (7/10)

For all too many underground metal bands, the debut album is often raw, unfocused, and in only the most optimal cases, promising enough to be sufficiently excited for the next album. While this is not the case for all bands clearly, this is a trend I have noticed, and was the presumption I had going into listening to the debut of the Netherlands progressive metal act Textures. A band that is now possibly the most innovative and adventurous act in the budding 'djent' metal scene, Textures' debut 'Polars' did not initially meet high expectations from me, but I found myself pleasantly amazed by the work this young band has done here. Although there are certainly still faults here and plenty of room left to grow, Textures provides a relevant listening experience from square one onwards.

Although Textures can be often best described as a crossroads between the styles of Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and Gojira, the sound here is quite a bit more based in thrash metal that later albums. Although there is still the rhythmic sensibilities of Meshuggah at work here, there's generally a much higher sense of speed and aggression here, that seems to have been somewhat lost in the later work by Textures. As it is however, the band divides their effort and sound between some lighter sections in the music. Many of the more metal installments of 'Polars' can feel a bit shallow on subtlety, but they are almost always followed and countered by a more melodic, progressive section. In that sense, the album's title 'Polars' does seem to hold some real weight when describing the music.

Although not nearly as polished as its successor 'Drawing Circles', the independently produced recording of Textures' debut is quite well done, especially in terms of capturing the band's chugging aggression. Especially when it comes to the rhythm section of the band, the musicians really do the compositions justice. The songwriting of the band is also well done, although a little shaky in parts. The first six tracks on the album do feel a little short, especially when compared to the last two gigantic tracks. The highlight here is the title track 'Polars'; an eighteen and a half minute monster of a track that towers above the rest, both in terms of its musicality and scope. A perfect closer, but it is followed by a long ambient soundscape called 'Heave', which will clearly be a point of derision for many listeners. The last track contrasts the heavy, thrashing riffage of the album by providing some otherworldly soothing hums and meditation. It does feel as if it goes on quite a bit too long in the context of the album, but it does also feel mostly like a sort of exit music; an afterthought past the de facto closer; the title track. In any case, quite well done and unexpected in the context of a metal album.

A great album, although Textures would still have a few steps to take before reaching the excellence of their next two albums.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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