From the opening scream on “Oceans Collide,” you are on notice that Textures are indeed back and more brutal than ever. “Phenotype” marks a new chapter in the history of Textures. Guitarist and chief songwriter Jochem Jacobs is no longer in the band. While Jacobs assists on the production side of things, he does not play or write on “Phenotype.”
The biggest question for me was if the band could survive losing Jacobs. Fortunately, “Phenotype” is the proof that they weathered this storm rather nicely. “Phenotype” is heavier than their previous album “Dualism” and I did love the overall balance of “Dualism.” Having said that, “Phenotype” has more layers to it and is a much tougher nut to crack. Once you have cracked it, it is a VERY satisfying album.
Initially, it might seem like that “Phenotype” is just heavy and fucking insane but repeated listens reveals the intricacies and melodies underneath the madness. For example, “New Horizons” has plenty of hooks both comfortable (“We are going to feel this
We are going to be this”) and brutal (“All we can do now is face it”). You are basically slapped in the face by vocalist Daniël de Jongh when you least expect it. “Shaping a Single Grain of Sand” is ALMOST speed metal but that’s the thing about Textures…the song changes before you know it. They use time changes and tempo changes to keep the listener on their toes.
I have to say that I am sick of this band being mislabeled as metalcore or djent when they are neither!! Textures are VERY technical, at times VERY heavy and still have melody too. “Illuminate the Trail” shows how far the band can push each element of their sound. It’s HEAVY but it does let you up slightly at the right moments, especially midway through where the song goes a completely different direction. There’s some insane drumming from Stef Broks on this track and really the whole album. Broks is a vastly underrated drummer and gets to showcase his talent on the track “Meander.”
Another long time member that gets a chance to step into the spotlight is keyboardist Uri Dijk, who most of the time is giving the band a backdrop to cause their destruction. But on “Zman,” Dijk gets to be front and center. It’s an atmospheric piece that leads perfectly to the closing track “Timeless” which is one of my favorite songs on the album.
“Phenotype” is actually one of two albums that Textures has recorded. The other “Genotype” is not due to be released until 2017. It would appear that Textures is alive and well. “Phenotype” is NOT an easy album by any means. It is complex, difficult and at times daunting. I have always said that prog should challenge the listener. “Phenotype” is a big challenge that is well worth conquering. The one question is, are you up for that challenge?
3.Shaping A Single Grain Of Sand
4.Illuminate The Trail
7.The Fourth Prime