By Carl Begai
If you hear Dutch metal veterans Textures referred to as a better groomed version of Swedish chaos lords Meshuggah, or Hell’s version of Dream Theater, or the prog equivalent of Pantera, all three comparisons should be taken to heart. Kicking around since 2001, the band unleashed their debut album, Polars, in 2003 to critical acclaim, making it clear from the outset that predictability was not part of their musical vocabulary. Three singers, one bassist, one guitarist, one keyboardist and five albums later Textures is still walking their own line and ignoring all musical boundaries as they stomp forward. Take, for example, the new song “Shaping A Single Grain Of Sand”, the first song released off their new Phenotype album; not quite 5 minutes of progressive riff-ridiculous mayhem that doesn’t let on even for a moment how it’s going to play out by the time you reach the end. And as infectious as they come if you’re into being bludgeoned into submission.
All in a day’s work as far as Textures is concerned.
“This is my second album with the band,” says keyboardist Uri Dijk, who came on board in 2010, “but I know the first Textures album got an award for being the best metal album in Holland at the time. It set the bar quite high for Textures from the start because they were a pioneering band. in this genre of music.”
For his part, however, Uri was never a big fan of Textures prior to joining them. In fact, he bordered on being oblivious to their existence.
“I knew they were a metal band from Holland, I’d seen them play once or twice, I even knew they were looking for a keyboard player, but I wasn’t really into their kind of music (laughs). I play keyboards and I started out with Children Of Bodom, Dimmu Borgir and In Flames; I wasn’t into the progressive polyrhythmical stuff at the time.”
Immersing oneself in Textures’s brand of music is a huge leap from being a diehard Children Of Bodom fan…
“I was studying piano at the conservatory in Holland and I thought working with Textures would be a great opportunity to grow as a musician, to learn stuff I didn’t know,” Uri says of his change in focus. “I was in the process of not being such a metalhead anymore (laughs). I used to only listen to metal but at some point that started to change and I became interested in other types of music. That happened at the right time. When I joined Textures I learned as least as much as I did in the five years studying piano. I joined the band quite late in writing process for Dualism (2011) and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. I had a hard time writing keyboard parts for the riffs, I have to admit, but over the last five years I’ve really grown into the music.”
So, is it fair to say Phenotype features the re-educated musical Uri Dijk?
Dive into Phenotype and it becomes clear no single mind, no matter how bent musically, created the songs. According to Uri, the album is made up of a vast array of ingredients supplied by everybody in the band.
“I guess that’s why it’s so difficult to make an album (laughs). Looking at Children Of Bodom, where Alexi Laiho writes everything, he can crank out an album every year or two. Textures is a very democratic band and everything has to be approved by everybody. It works really well but it works very slowly (laughs). But, that ensures that we all stand by what we’re doing and we’re all pleased with the final result. In the writing process everybody pitches in, and that’s what led to the Phenotype / Genotype concept.”
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