Textures & Exivious, The Voodoo Lounge, Dublin, November 16th 2017

 

Words: Alan Daly / Pics: Olga Kuzmenko (Olga Kuzmenko Photography)

 

Progressive metal was never my favorite genre. Not even close. And Textures were not a band that had ever made their way onto my playlist. But when I heard that the Dutch proggers were calling it quits and making a stop in Dublin on their farewell tour, I developed a case of FOMO. This was only compounded by the news that they were to be supported by Exivious; also from the Netherlands, also calling it a day, and also not previously on my radar. So tonight, I was pretty much going in blind, not wanting to regret missing the chance to see both bands for my one and only time.

Founded in 1997, Exivious have just two full-length albums to their name, but their jazz/metal crossover style was hailed as genre-defining upon the release of their debut eponymous record in 2009. The respectable and respectful audience that arrived at the Voodoo Lounge in time to catch their act seems more familiar with the band than I, giving a warm reception to the foursome, and conversing in a friendly manner with them between tracks. During the songs themselves, however, crowd participation is mostly confined to gentle head-nodding and quiet appreciation. For me, the purely instrumental setlist is unexpectedly captivating and almost hypnotic, with bassist Robin Zielhorst taking center stage between guitar-wielding duo Tymon Kruidenier and Michel Nienhuis. In one of the few brief chats between tracks, Kruidenier reminds us of Exivious’ imminent disbanding, but not to worry too much as they already have another band called Our Oceans albeit with a different musical style and direction.

The setlist tonight is drawn mostly from their second album Liminal, including the tracks ‘Movement’, ‘Entrust’, ‘Deeply Woven’ and ‘Immanent’. I’m glad I got to see and hear Exivious, and would recommend seeing them live if it were not practically too late to do so unless you can make it to their last homeland show in Tilburg on December 2nd.

As Textures prepare to perform in Dublin for the second (and final) time, the crowd swells and gathers closer to the stage. The excitement and enthusiasm for the headliners are palpable as the stage is plunged into near darkness and the chugging intro riffs and drums of ‘Surreal State of Enlightenment’ build with intensity before exploding into ‘Regenesis’, both taken from their 2006 sophomore release Drawing Circles. The immense energy on stage is reciprocated by the front rows of the audience during the heavier moments of the set, while slower tracks instigate spirited sing-alongs.

Included in the setlist are four tracks from their fifth and final offering, Phenotype, which was released in February 2016. Intriguingly, a second album’s worth of material was recorded at the same time, to be titled Genotype and originally scheduled for release in 2017, but when the decision was made to call it quits, Textures also made the surprising decision to shelve the second half of this double album. Based on how the material from Phenotype sounded live tonight, that seems like a shame, and hopefully, it will eventually see the light of day.

The frenetic performance is broken up occasionally with emotive keyboard and acoustic guitar solos making the almost two-hour set pass quite quickly. As the curfew draws near, vocalist Daniël de Jongh comments that this is the time when they would normally walk offstage for a while, but that we haven’t seen the treacherous stairs backstage, and if they used them, Dublin would be the last ones to see Textures. The encore is comprised of two tracks from the 2008 album Silhouettes, ‘Awake’ and ‘Laments of an Icarus’, and they end the night on a high note at almost 11 pm.

Textures turned out to be closer to metalcore than prog metal to my ears, and as such, are a band I would have liked to have discovered sooner. I will definitely be checking out their back catalog based on this show.

 

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