Review Summary: Welcome the new day.
It’s been five long years since Textures’s last album, Dualism
, which saw the band focusing on the more melodic aspects of their music over technicality. After taking such a long break, it’s to be expected that a band would come back sounding more mature, refined, and just more cohesive as a whole. This is proven true, as Phenotype
ultimately has Textures follow up on the more streamlined sound they built on Dualism
, while introducing a few minor changes into the mix.
“Oceans Collide” kicks off with the staples of a Textures album: aggressive, technical guitars and harsh vocals gradually transitioning into slower, more melodic sections, with glimmering synths and proficient drumming remaining consistent throughout. “Shaping a Single Grain of Sand” expands on this heavily, with the placid, clean chorus contrasting the fiercer, more energetic guitar riffs and screamed vocals through the rest of the track. Production-wise, the main focus is most certainly on the guitars, but the vocals and other instrumental sections are balanced out quite well. Bart Hennephof’s guitarwork is slightly less centered on the groove-driven riffs of Dualism
and more on brisk, spirited rhythms, while Stef Broks’s drums and Uri Dijk’s keyboards contrast one another perfectly.
The atmospheric elements developed from Dualism
are even more prevalent here, with quieter, ambient-based sections littered around in tracks such as “Erosion”, and a softer, piano-based instrumental in the form of “Zman”. Compared to Dualism
, the album feels even lighter and easier to digest, with the band’s newer, less complex approach to songwriting having more time to manifest itself properly. You really do get the impression that Textures have settled into this distinct approach, and utilize their skills effectively to design a stronger album.
is not without its flaws, however. Firstly, Daniel De Jongh’s vocals weren’t a particularly strong point of Dualism
, and they’re still far from a highlight here. His clean singing is adequate enough to suit the style, but his harsher vocals lack quite a bit of power to them, and end up feeling kind of forced in the long run. The most glaring problem with the album manifests itself in the longer tracks, where the band doesn’t do anything wrong
per se, but at the same time fail to produce something impressive. Take “Illuminate the Trail”, for example: At no point does the song suddenly veer off track or the like, but there’s nothing all that remarkable about it besides a decent guitar solo towards the latter half.
In spite of its minor flaws, though, Phenotype
still stands tall at the end of the day, and is a strong indication that the Dutch metallers still have what it takes to make engaging, accessible music. One can only hope that their next planned project, Genotype
, can match up to the standards they’ve set up for themselves.