Phenotype is the latest Nuclear Blast release from the Dutch progressive metalcore act Textures, their fifth album overall and the first part of a duo of releases which will climax with Genotype some time in 2017. Fans who have come to expect the collision of progressive rock/metal with melodic extreme metal and the roar of metalcore will find much to like here on Phenotype.
It all starts on the excellent "Oceans Collide, a track that reminds at times of the mighty Meshuggah as well as Devin Townsend, In Flames, and Scar Symmetry with its plethora of chugging guitars, polyrhythms, keyboards, and mix of growls, bellows, and clean vocal styles. "New Horizons" continues that trend, the soaring melodic vocals dueling with the harsh shouts while a bed of crushing riffs and keys cascade over tumultuous drum work. The key here though is how catchy the music is at all times, something that's not always easy to accomplish in music of this nature. Intricate drum patterns underscore "Shaping of a Single Grain of Sand", a tune that has a much more hardcore style permeating the arrangement but still sprinkled with bits of prog, with the vocals lethal at times and gorgeous at others. There's some fantastic synth patterns and blazing lead guitar on the otherwise pummeling "Illuminate the Train", allowing the band to show off their dexterity amid the thunder, and "Erosion" features arrangements that seem to blend Dream Theater at their heaviest with Meshuggah, a must hear for those that crave massive riffing atop complex polyrhythms. The wonderful keyboard instrumental "Zman" leads into the finale "Timeless", one of the more melodic & symphonic tracks on the album that sees the clean vocals taking more of a lead role, with the bellows showing up on the chorus, and the synths also playing a big part.
As the first part of this proposed two album story, Phenotype will leave listeners thrilled and wanting more. Textures are a band that have been able to find a perfect meeting point between progressive rock, extreme metal, and hardcore/metalcore, and their latest creation Phenotype is another easy recommendation.
1) Oceans Collide
2) New Horizons
3) Shaping of a Single Grain of Sand
4) Illuminate The Train
7) The Fourth Prime