Two differing takes on Dutch progressive music is the order of the night in London as Textures get set to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their debut album 'Polars', with support from the exceptionally talented Exivious.
Having two members who were involved with progressive/thrash icons Cynic for a year, Exivious' progressive metal adheres tightly to jazz fusion. The band was conceived in 1997 but only released their self-titled debut effort in 2009 to outstanding reviews across the metal underground, repeatedly hailed as the new Cynic.The set opens with 'Entrust' from 2013's 'Liminal' release and the sound of the guitars is not quite aligned appropriatelywhichcontributes to the music sounding somewhat confused compared to its recorded counterpart. Nonetheless, this flaw is swiftly corrected and the quartet's lush guitar melodies with offbeat fretless bass lines and unorthodox time signatures are free to captivate the audience effortlessly.
Songs from both albums are played with such a rare technical wizardry that robs the band off any variety of hyper active stage presence. Dreamy soundscapes are painted by such songs as 'Waves of Thought', 'Deeply Woven' and 'Time and Its Changes'. The crowd's response is incredibly positive, not so easy to predict given the opposite energy and aggression of the headliners. Closer 'An Elusive Need' displays the technical prowess of Exivious for one final time before they vacate the stage to an optimum response for a support band.
The venue fills with anticipation as the progressive metalcore headliners Textures are about to hit the stage. As soon as they open with 'Surreal State of Enlightenment' from their sophomore album 'Drawing Circles', the fans turn wild and fire up a mosh pit to mirror the aggression of the music, much to the delight of the band. Textures' sound is a combination of Meshuggah, metalcore and spaced out progressive metal flourishes that lends to a high energy performance and stage presence from the members.
Celebrating the tenth anniversary of 'Polars', it comes as no surprise that all of the album save the lengthy instrumentals are included in the first part of the show tonight. The audience loves sinking their teeth into the likes of the furious 'Swandive', 'Young Man' and 'Ostensibly Impregnable' and these tracks serenade a mosh pit and hardcore dancers dominating the floor. The second set begins with 'Singularity' from the most recent album 'Dualism' and encompasses a selection of beloved tracks from the remainder of their catalogue, including 'Regenesis', 'Storm Warning' and 'Awake'. A treat is aired to the fans in the form of 'Baking Poo', an entirely new song. In a traditional Textures vein, the guitar riffs are heavy more than technical with a Meshuggah tone that incites headbanging and fist-pumping across the audience. The curtain-calling song is 'Laments from an Icarus' and punctuates the show with an explosion of vigorous energy that results in mutual thanks exchanged from fans and the band alike.
All in all a good night for those who want to see witness how versatile modern progressive metal can be. Although the pairing of a chilled opener with a brutish headliner suggests one would require a flexible mentality to absorb both acts as best as possible - and there did appear to be two disparate audiences in attendance tonight – it is fair to say that every punter went away from the concert with something prodigiously positive.
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