Retro Roundtable Review: Textures – Polars
Posted by Irmelinis
Release Date: 2003
Songs: 8 tracks, 56 minutes
Genre: Progressive metal
Studio Albums: Drawing Circles 2006, Silhouettes 2008, Dualism 2011
Location: Tilburg, Netherlands
For fans of: Strapping Young Lad, Cynic, Meshuggah, Dark Tranquillity, Iced Earth, Gojira
WarpRider – This is a first for me and the one thing that stuck out immediately was the riffing. I love me some neck-bending riffs. I like the dual growl/clean vocals styles here; not too flowery nor too aggressive. Their hardcore presence adds a level of angst that I am sure gets a crowd moving. For a first listen, I am impressed, but have none of their catalog to compare it to. Time to start exploring. This one is staying in my library.
RiffRaff – I am quite familiar with Textures’ album “Dualism”. In fact I like it quite a lot. It’s very flowing, has a nice metal edge to it when needed, and the band puts up a great performance. TBH though, for as much as I enjoyed that record, I never really dug into their back catalog so this is my first listen to their debut record. While it has a lot of the elements I really enjoyed on “Dualism” on it, they are far from refined and I really don’t care for the vocals, luckily they changed vocalists down the line. This is a very rough-around-the-edges record from a band with lots of potential and great ideas, which they acted on down the line. It’s cool to see how far this Dutch band has come, but unless you already have the other Textures records, I really wouldn’t recommend spending much time with this album.
Irmelinis – Textures is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of their debut album “Polars” this year. They are doing so by going on a European tour in October, where they are playing the album in its entirety + releasing a re-issue of it (including a Pantera cover). That’s why I thought it would be suitable to give it our Retro-Roundtable treatment. Everything on “Polars” was written, produced and recorded by the band in a studio they built themselves. The record is wonderfully unpredictable and diverse, and it was released during a time where metal was getting a bit stale and boring, which made Textures music sound very fresh. Listen to the epic eighteen-minute title track, a confidently written song with many different textures, showing exactly what this band is about. They have a knack for writing songs with a punchy, dynamic sound without losing the emotional depth that is the backbone in their music.
This debut especially, gives us a nice display of all the different kinds of influences that we now hear in modern progressive metal bands. They threw in all their ideas at once: thrashy riffs and raw, strong vocals, power metal keyboards, nu-metal aggressiveness, technical Meshuggah-guitars, melodic death metal and rich, progressive structures. Stirred the pot and said “let’s see how this turns out”. The verdict? It’s absolutely delicious. For being a fully self-produced debut album. If this kind of contrasting, heavy-spacey and deeply emotional style of progressive metal hadn’t developed, with the help of bands like Textures and Tesseract, I probably wouldn’t have stayed long in the world of metal.
After a couple of line-up changes Textures have only gotten better, with their latest full length “Dualism” being a masterpiece (in my humble opinion) that is showing the band’s full potential. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out, they are a fantastic live band.
ChristopherMammal – Ah, Textures got me with this one. By that I mean they grabbed everything on me that wasn’t hidden behind plate armour. Wow, ten years have gone by quickly. During that time, djent has established itself as a stand-alone genre, in my opinion – it seems silly to put Textures in the same box as Dream Theater or Symphony X. The guitar work and the vocal style set djent apart from everything else. Along with other djent djiants like TesseracT, Meshuggah, Cloudkicker, Animals As Leaders and Scale The Summit, Textures is go-to music and, I trust, always will be. Their music is abundantly yummy.
A Metal State of Mind Score – N/A