01. Arms Of the Sea
02. Black Horse Stampede
03. Reaching Home
04. Sanguine Draws The Oath
05. Consonant Hemispheres
06. Burning The Midnight Oil
08. Minor Earth, Major Skies
09. Stoic Resignation
11. Sketches From A Motionless Statue
I’ve heard that Textures are a fairly big deal amongst the progressive metal community. A quick skim over their Wikipedia page tells me that Dualism is the fourth release in an eight-year career for the Dutch sextet, but only in the build up to Dualism‘s release have the dawning rays of enlightenment crested the mountains of ignorance and fallen on the sparse, dusty shelves of my knowledge. Call me unfit to edit a metal blog if you will, but being able to disregard the past endeavours of a band as well established as Textures is refreshing when reviewing a new release; no preconceptions, no expectations, and everything to prove from the get-go. As it should be.
The thing that immediately strikes me is the production. Dualism sounds absolutely massive, flowing out of both speakers with an outpouring of…well, texture. New vocalist Daniël de Jongh does come across a tad strong at times – his smooth-as-butter croons and empassioned roars coming across somewhat strongly in comparison to the rest of the band – but he sounds pretty damn good, and isn’t even present for long stretches, so it is fairly unnoticeable.
There is a slightly – and it is slight – negative facet to this level of polish however. Although there are moments where it is overpowered by sheer awesome, the clinical nature of the finish makes some sections come across a little sterilised. Production values, whilst important, are often the last thing I look for, and whilst I appreciate the difference between an ear for detail and absolute garbage, I feel that some of the potential passion is lost somewhere along the way.
This is mostly inconsequential however, and probably entirely subjective. The dynamics of the music itself are of particular note, and will no doubt sound great live. Take the end of “Burning The Midnight Oil” for example; breaking from the heavy tone that precedes it, the outro is a measured but somewhat urgent build to the polyrhythmic hard-hitter “Singularity“. “Foreclosure” takes the tempo down significantly, adopting a more standard time signature (all accented with Stef Broks’ beautiful drumming – one of my favourite things about the record), but it is preceded by the utterly fantastic “Stoic Resignation“. It shows a band well in control of their craft, and in this internet age where every kid who can pick up a seven-string guitar considers themself a songwriter, it’s good to know that these relative ‘old-timers’ can still crank up the heat and show how to write an accomplished song. ‘Textures’ indeed.
It’s true though. What the majority of similar groove/djent/whatever-you-want-to-call-them metal bands we hear seem to miss a lot of the time are the hooks. The main riff from “Reaching Home” is fairly simplistic and repeated often throughout the track, but it’s by no means a bland chugga-chugga affair. It makes absolute sense that it’s the lead single, and it – along with the other multi-faceted songs on Dualism – have ensured that I’m going to be following these guys a lot more closely from this point forward.
Textures’ Dualism gets: