~reviewed by Joel Steudler

It's easy to drown in gushing superlatives when confronted with an album like Polars from Dutch newcomers Textures.  There's so much to appreciate.  Blazingly intense aggression, virtuoso technical performances, lush atmospheric passages, stunning production... and that's all just on the first song.  The rest of the album is even better! 

Very shortly after digging into Polars, it will be apparent to most that the music of Textures is the bastard son of Meshuggah and Devin Townsend.  This is especially pleasant since Meshuggah ceased being Meshuggah after 'Chaosphere' and turned into a mushy nu-metal band.  The world needs at least one Meshuggah, and thankfully we can now crown a new one.  All hail the new Meshuggah Of Metal, Textures!

What the hell am I babbling about?  I'll tell you.  I am adrift in a sea of insane technical drumming, crazy rhythm changes, swirling keyboard layers, elephantine guitar riffs, and paint-peelingly harsh vocals.  Pieter Verpaalen could give Jens Kidman a run for his money in terms of pure screechy testosterone laced raging.  He sounds like he's continually on the verge of vomiting his larynx straight out of his mouth and having his heart explode from over exertion.

The sporadic lead guitar lines are alternately cut like Thordendal's weird, blippy jib or are soaringly ambient, washing over the pounding drums and synth layers.  Speaking of synths, there are several very lengthy passages of eerie ambience on the latter half of the album.  They provide a stark and bizarre contrast to the unbridled killer bloodlust of the earlier tracks, but somehow feel entirely organic and at home in the ambitiously artistic compositions.

I hate relying so heavily on comparisons to other bands, but the resemblance is so striking it is impossible not to.  Whether it's hero worship or pure coincidence, Polars sounds great.  Like a ginsu-knife, Textures can saw through pure metal and yet stay sharp enough to delicately slice off thin layers of wispy, ethereal sound.  They stand with Invocator and Omnium Gatherum at the vanguard of modern progressive thrash.  

Track List:
01.) Swandive
02.) Ostensibly Impregnable
03.) Young Man
04.) Transgression
05.) The Barrier
06.) Effluent
07.) Polars
08.) Heave

Textures is:
Jochem Jacobs - Guitar, Vocals
Stef Broks - Drums, Vocals
Richard Rietdijk - Synths
Dennis Aarts - Bass
Pieter Verpaalen - Vocals
Bart Hennephof - Guitar, Vocals

Textures Official Site:

Listenable Records: