Science was never one of my strongest classes in school. I was not an idiot, but I was not a star either. Like most people, different topics would catch my interest and I would excel, while others would leave me confused. One that was always on the cusp of confusion was genetics. I would always get terms like genotype and phenotype mixed up. These terms were obviously not a problem for the members of Dutch progressive metal band Textures. The band’s latest musical offering(s) deals in exactly these genetic terms. “Phenotype” will be released on Nuclear Blast Records February 5, 2016.
Since their debut album “Polars” in 2003, Textures has slowly evolved album by album into one of the most credible bands in their genre. For me, musically they have always hit that sweet spot in between TesseracT and Xerath: not too smooth and not too epic and over the top. “Phenotype” is no exception, as it does a great job of swinging back and forth between the two extremes. Opening track ‘Oceans Collide’ harkens back into “Silhouettes” territory, coming out strong behind Daniel de Jongh’s fierce vocals. This is not the only powerful track on the album, as ‘Shaping a Single Grain of Sand’ and ‘Illuminate the Trail’ take it to the next level. Filled with chunks of speed, thrash, and epic death metal, the blast beats of these songs still do not hold back the melody. Speaking of melody, ‘New Horizons’ may be one of Textures most radio friendly tracks yet, and I do not mean that in a bad way. It still packs a punch, but the melody is so infectious it could be a breakthrough track for them. “Phenotype” is cut in half by an interlude/Stef Broks drum solo titled ‘Meander.’ This leads to the second half of the album, whose tracks feel oddly similar to the first four, only in different variations. ‘Erosion,’ one of the album’s more straightforward tracks, it is full of chugging riffs and a sweet solo by newish guitarist Joe Tal. ‘The Fourth Prime’ bounces around in odd time before settling in with Daniel’s vocals during the chorus. ‘Zman’ and ‘Timeless’ basically come together to form one song, the former showcasing the talents of less newish keyboardist Uri Dijk, leading into the epic, uplifting, melodic closer.
Textures actually recorded two albums, “Genotype” and “Phenotype.” The reason for Textures interest in genetics translates into “Genotype” and “Phenotype” in this way; the band combined all of their musical influences and ideas together to create an example of what they thought were the member’s collective musical traits. This resulted in a genotype (genetic code) which became the nine songs on “Phenotype.” This formula has yielded one of the band’s best albums to date. The follow-up, “Genotype,” is a 45-minute long conceptual track that presents the root material of “Phenotype” in a totally different context. “Genotype” will be released about the same time next year. Until then, we have “Phenotype” to enjoy.
- Oceans Collide
- New Horizons
- Shaping of a Single Grain of Sand
- Illuminate The Train
- The Fourth Prime
Playing time: 43:43
Release date: February 5, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast