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TRACK LIST: 1. Swandive 5:09 2. Ostensibly Impregnable 3:23 3. Young Man 3:58 4. Transgression 4:20 5. The Barrier 2:58 6. Effluent 3:11 7. Polars 18:30 8. Heave 14:27 All tracks: by Textures. LINE-UP: Peter Verpaalen - lead vocals Jochem Jacobs - guitar; vocals Bart Hennephof - guitar Dennis Aarts - bass Stef Broks - drums Richard Rietdijk - keyboards With: Wouter Wierda - sax (on 4) Produced by Textures. Engineered by Jacobs & Rietdijk.
Prolusion. "Polars" is the debut album by the Dutch band Textures. The CD container represents a digipack with some very impressive artwork.
Synopsis. Having read the CD press kit, I think that the band should have titled this album "Poles", and not "Polars", especially since their lyrics are in English, and (thus) the album is above all destined to the English-language listeners. Well, six out of the eight tracks presented here are songs, and the music on four of them: Swandive, Ostensibly Impregnable, Young Man, and The Barrier represents a highly diverse and complex Prog-Metal with elements of Techno Thrash and Black Metal and excellent harsh vocals. The saxophone solo on Transgression (4) determines the appearance of elements of Jazz-Fusion on it in particular and the slight change of the album's predominant stylistics in general. This process was successfully continued on the epic Polars, and here, we have Classic Prog-Metal with elements of symphonic Art-Rock and atmospheric Space Rock. Another distinguishing feature of Polars is the alternation of harsh and high-pitched vocals on it, though purely instrumental arrangements cover about two thirds of this song. However, I wouldn't say that the 18-minute title track of the album is much better than the shorter songs, though it is certainly more diverse than any of them. In fact, all six of the songs on the album are great and contain a wide variety of essential progressive features, among which frequent changes of a musical direction and the continuous use of the odd meters along with complex stop-to-play movements are especially evident. While being original compositionally, the music on each of the songs on "Polars" has nevertheless much in common with that of Mekong Delta on "Dances of Death" and Garden Wall on "Forget the Colours", which is above all due to the fact that the basic textures:) of all three of these albums are similar among themselves. The 3-minute Effluent (6) is an instrumental piece filled with a mysterious atmosphere and consisting of slow spacey symphonic passages of synthesizer. Overall, this is a very impressive piece and reminds me of Stonehenge and Sphinx excellently performed by Black Sabbath's keyboardist Geoff Nicholls on the band's "Born Again" and "Seventh Star" albums respectively. Another instrumental: the 14-minute Heave (and this is the last track here) sounds too much like a prolonged version of Effluent and, thus, gets boring quickly. I wonder whether the band really considers Space music as one of the two directions of their style. It would be inept, to say the least.
Conclusion. The hero of this review is a masterpiece that Heave deprived a half of the rating star of. This track should have been either radically shortened and put somewhere in the core the album or just removed from it. Nevertheless, I am sure that this album will have a huge success among the connoisseurs of (a true!) Prog-Metal, and not only.
VM: Agst 4, 2003
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