Textures at The Underworld, Camden

Support: Exivious| Extremities
November 18, 2017 at The Underworld, Camden

This was it. If Dillinger splitting up wasn’t hard enough, Textures calling it a day as well certainly made it an annus horriblis for the tech world. Bringing along jazz metal compatriots Exivious (another band bidding farewell) and new act Extremities, Textures had one last jaunt around the UK, and bid their final farewell to our fair isle with a show at Camden’s Underworld. And, inevitably, I was really ill on the day.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for Extremities, given a ridiculously early start because of an early curfew, and forced to perform for several minutes to no crowd (presumably, I obviously wasn’t there to verify) because the opening of the doors being delayed. They’re also as fitting a support band as Textures could have brought: a Dutch band mixing melodic prog, metalcore and tech death at the beginning of their career supporting a Dutch band mixing melodic prog, metalcore and tech death at the end of their career. And they’re bloody good too. It’s the show of a band determined to take a great opportunity; in-your-face snarling and soaring soloing, mixed with some fine songwriting. With Textures ending, there’s a void in the tech scene that needs filling, and Extremities seem determined to be one of the bands to fill it. On this performance, I wouldn’t bet against them.

When both Textures and Exivious played Tech Fest in the summer, I was more excited to see Exivious, but ultimately unable to get into them, while Textures gave possibly the best festival headline set I’ve seen. This time, with expectations reversed, it was Exivious that ultimately blew me away, with a virtuosic masterclass in instrumental metal. With a band like Exivious, there’s always a risk that the music can just drift past you; you’re conscious of its technical qualities, but as something observed as opposed to experienced. Not so tonight; they bring urgency, an energy that amplifies their dynamic sound, engulfs you, and sweeps you along like driftwood in rapids, and leaves you at the end picking up chunks of your blown mind and with the realisation that about three layers of your face have melted away. And, as they make sure to point out at the end of the set, most of them are continuing under the name Our Oceans, who are well worth checking out.

By the time Textures are taking to the stage, the venue is rammed, and the cheering is deafening – testament to the regard they have been held in through their illustrious career. I don’t think it’s possible for Textures to play a bad show, seemingly existing on a scale from great to absolutely incredible. This show was closer to the latter. It quickly becomes apparent during ‘Regenesis’ and ‘Old Days Born Anew’ that the whole band is on top form, Daniël de Jongh’s vocals in the mid-section of ‘Regenesis’ standing out in particular. His vocal performance in ‘Reaching Home’ is an emotional dagger straight to your heart, enhanced by the beautiful guitar work and a crowd that knows every word. ‘New Horizons’ contains what is easily their biggest chorus (I had it stuck in my head for about four hours after the show) and, live, is a sight to behold. ‘Timeless’ ramps up the emotion again – melodic guitar swirls hinting at post-rock as de Jongh’s vocals hit fragile territory, and give the show a sense of finality. It’s almost a relief that the band  return for two encores (that last chance to mosh) and chaos ensues – particularly in the final one-two of ‘Awake’ and ‘Laments of an Icarus’. I’m not actually sure if they did clock up enough distance to actually make it to moon, but one thing is for sure, they will be missed.

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