TEXTURES – Dualism

TEXTURES – Dualism
Label: Nuclear Blast

Songs List:

01. Arms Of The Sea
02. Black Horses Stampede
03. Reaching Home
04. Sanguine Draws The Oath
05. Consonant Hemispheres
06. Burning The Midnight Oil
07. Singularity
08. Minor Earth, Major Skies
09. Stoic Resignation
10. Foreclosure
11. Sketches From A Motionless Statue

Rating:
★★★★☆
I first got to know TEXTURES back in 2005 as they released their sophomore album, “Drawing Circles”. MySpace was the state-of-the-art tool for promoting emerging acts with a prolific musical community. You could especially see that when it came to Metal. The young Dutch band harnessed the platform well to its needs, building itself a strong fanbase, and was rewarded with catching the eye of Metal dinosaurs Nuclear Blast, home to their magnum opus (and album of the year 2008 for me), “Silhouettes”. Now, armed with a new singer and keyboardist, TEXTURES have released their fourth studio album – “Dualism”. The band was always DIY oriented, an approach that served well during the years. This time is no different as the album was produced in Split Second Sound studios, owned by guitarist Jochem Jacobs, while the album artwork was trusted to bass player Remko Tielemans.

The new album does not stride far from the band’s previous releases. Au contraire – if you loved “Silhouettes”, it’s damn likely you’d love “Dualism” too. It’s all here: the technical groovy playing style, thick layers of melodies on top of one another, and excellent vocal work. It’s a very focused album both lyrically and musically. The first thought that had occurred to me while running “Dualism” in my stereo was that the updated sound suits the band well. Throughout the years TEXTURES crafted a unique and organic sound while being on-par with the most powerful modern Metal productions. While recent years have grown us weary of bands, producers and record labels that follow the dogma “More is Always Better” (to you knowledge thirsty web-worms I recommend looking up Loudness Wars). The sound served in this album is a natural dish. It’s not over-processed, very round and tamed, complimented by the excellent songwriting and the musical diversity presented.

TEXTURES combine clean and extreme vocals. This album marks the debut performance of Daniël de Jongh, a skilled frontman replacing Eric Kalsbeek on vocal duties. The new singer has very similar capabilities to its predecessor, so much that one might get confused at times. After a while though, I noticed several nuances and influences in De Jongh’s vocals besides the regular clean / extreme Metal trade-off. He often reminded me FAITH NO MORE and Patton’s finest hours, especially at “Sanguine Draws The Oath”. His vocal range is wide, and he tends to sing in a much more unrestrained and wildly fashion. “Consonant Hemispheres” capture his talent at its full, documenting an intimate moment with clean guitars and keyboard craftsmanship.

There are some very TEXTURES-typical songs in this album, “Sanguine Draws the Oath” being one of them, and “Singularity”, the first single off the new record. Both songs match the quality of what we’ve learned to expect from TEXTURES in previous releases. They possess both the technical approach and the emotional one, though when judging this album as a whole reveals the graduate evolution the band has been going through. When comparing this effort to early works such as Polars and Drawing Circles reveals a progress towards slower, groovier rhythms, where every drum beat and guitar stroke is felt. One of the greater accomplishments in “Dualism” is beyond doubt the wonderful “Reaching Home”, which serves both as a single and an official video song. It’s a non-typical song for TEXTURES, defined mainly by its great guitar hook that is full of effects, with clean singing all along. An unexpected influence comes in “Stoic Resignation”, when the guitar melodies in the ambient part of the song make me associate the music to movements such as Indie, and even the Shoegaze genre in particular.

The album features two instrumentals. Lengthy and epic “Burning the Midnight Oil” and the short “Forclosure” which prepares us, obviously, for the final track – “Sketches from a Motionless Statue”. A song of many layers, feelings and styles, where once again we witness the eclectic influences the band puts into its songwriting, from the melodic elements described above, to Deathcore-ish guitars (note that breakdown… yup. Just used the “B” word here). Again, the band’s greatest strength lies in the excellent songwriting skills, especially in the way tension and relief is built both in micro (song) and in the macro (album as a whole). I often claim in my reviews that good music should take the listener on a journey. TEXTURES does that indeed, and manages to capture the listener inside its music. “Dualism” makes time run a lot faster when listening to it, though by all means it is not simple music. It takes more than one run to get to know the album, and each time, new layers and musical ideas will unfold to your ears as you get to know each song. If you’re sick of easily forgettable bands that provide superficial and simplistic music, and feel like diving in to a deep, complex album that is performed by outstanding musicians, yet easily remembered, I would recommend “Dualism”. You’ll definitely not regret trying.