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Individual Thought Patterns

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Average Rating
★★★★★
(76 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Death play super advanced, technical metal which falls somewhere between the progressive and death metal subgenres but cant truly be said to belong to either. This album displays a collection of dense, tightly constructed songs which are remarkable in that there is a wealth of melody and accessible elements buried beneath the, admittedly daunting, abrasive exterior. Death’s greatest strength seems to be their knack of introducing extremely melodic aspects to the complexity of polyrhythmic, dual guitar soaked, byzantine death metal song structures. For instance, the lead riff of ‘Trapped in a corner’ is catchy, yet jerky and twisting, designed to emphasise an inescapable situation. The song builds to an instrumental interlude, and climazes on a guitar solo which owes as much to thrash metal as early death (metal), yet wouldn’t sound out of place in a Maiden song. To return to the records tight construction, it is worth noting the immacualte attention to detail and careful self editing present. None of the songs are particuarly long, a melodic idea never outstays its welcome, while the instrumental parts, as complex as they are, are intertwined beautifully to allow for the listener to unravel their delights over time. The playing is world class, and Chuck Schulinder’s singing and lyrics exhibit more than enough competency to propel Death far above most fare of this kind. Focusing on particular songs is hard here, as each piece is so dense and intricate that only many repeated listens will really do them justice. I can say that they are certainly more accessible than anything on ‘Human’, also a great album, and that the guitar playing has advanced immeasurably.
    ‘Individual thought patterns’ is basically mandatory for fans of extreme metal. It is practically flawless, each song contains at least four or five little unique moments which mark them as favourites for life. I would also recommend this CD to progressive metal fans looking to widen their worldview and absorb something that has no prog influences and very little in the way of excess. Highly recommended.

    Posted on November 17, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • it’s a bit hard to imagine the impact that this album had when it was first released. back in 1993, there wasn’t a vast amount of death metal bands that were concerned with fusing elements of progressive rock and jazz into their compositions. Death had begun incorporating some of these styles in their Leprosy and Spiritual healing albums; but they seemed to be merely flirting with those ideas and used them sparingly within the structure of their songs. but with the advent of Individual Thought Patterns, Death found a renewed power of sound using equal amounts death metal and progressive riffing. Listening to this album and comparing it to their previous efforts, you’ll notice a really big step in production (the bass is much more streamlined and fluid here, the drums sound tighter, and the guitars more distinct), and you’ll notice the amazing advancements in songwriting. every single song on I.T.P. displays an increased presence of dynamics, agility, and creativity that really blew every other band clearly out of the water. where as Death were once an old school brutal death metal band with a lot of leanings towards classic thrash, the newfound committment to this more thoughtful approach added depth, maturity, and colour to their already impressive legacy. one thing that i love so much about this album, is that Death did not try and change the shape of their sound or their band. they never did a 180 degree turn with their music. they stayed completely metal, but they just upped the ante (and the IQ) of the entire genre (which they basically created). in other words, it all seems like a natural progression. if you are sitting here reading this review and you are a thinking “wow…sounds great, i gotta get this album”, there’s one more thing that needs to be pointed out. this album succeeds not just because of the great production, not just for the excellent songwriting, but also because of the inclusion of Andy LaRocque (on loan from King Diamond) on second guitar. the explosive power between Chuck Schuldiner and LaRocque is absolutely breathtaking. the solos sweep faster, the riffs punch harder, and the ideas are limitless. all of these factors concrete the status of this album as a classic monument to thinking man’s metal and a pinnacle for lesser bands to strive for!

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “Individual Thought Patterns” may be loosely classifiable as death metal, but such a genre-bending masterpiece as this one goes far beyond the confines of one genre. Here death combine elements of death, thrash, and progressive metal to create a very heavy album that also boasts a potent groove. “Individual Thought Patterns” is a magnificent balancing act that blends heaviness, technical precision, and top-notch songcraft. The late Chuck Schuldiner’s vocals blend screaming and singing for a fairly unique style. The guitar riffs aren’t really all that heavy, but they’re fast, precise and cruncy, backed up by lightning-fast drumming and flowing bass lines. This album is perfect for death metal neophytes like myself, and recommended for fans of death-thrash hybrids like Sepultura and Slayer, or even pure thrash bands like Metallica or Megadeth.

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This along with Leprosy is my favorite Death album. While those two albums are as different from each other as one can imagine, they represent a band that was always transforming and moving ahead.

    What ‘Individual Thought Patterns’ represents is a success on the part of Chuck Schuldiner’s song writing. He was now a seasoned musician. Whereas in the Leprosy era (‘88) he had grand visions but couldn’t actualize them, during this era he had finally penned his song writing skills. This album also brings together a band of ecclectic musicians, Andy La Rocque (of King Diamond fame) and Gean Hoglan (of various L.A. Thrash bands no one will remember except for Dark Angel) and Steve Digiorgio (ex-Sadus, Autopsy).

    The guitars are good, at first they sound kinda weird together (La Rocque’s ‘neoclassical’ style is a little bit of an acquired taste). But the riffs are as endless as they are interesting. The drum work is pretty good for Gene Hoglan, the Dark Angel drummer who I thought was highly overrated back in the day (‘86) -from a drummers prospective of course. It is in fact I believe Hoglan’s best drumming performance. The fills are interesting, the tom-rolls always different, the double-bass quads and triplets, the ride 2/3-4/6 beats, and the disappearing/reappearing crashes. Steve Digiorgio uses his bass to hold the beat and then some! He uses his bass like a bass and a guitar at the same time always playing on time or just slightly slower to give the music a kind of inverted feel. This is probably DiGiorgio’s best work (unless you’ve seen him play live.) But then again, that’s probably debateable. The bass is my favorite instrument on the album.

    As previous reviewers have alluded to, they compare this to death/jazz or simply to Jazz song writing. I find this labeling somewhat erroneous since what these musicians had in mind wasn’t something as technical as Tony Williams or Jaco Pastorius. What they were trying to do here is have a song that consisting in intro-verse-chorus-break-verse-chorus-end/outro in diverse time formats. Other bands that used this format were Atheist and Cynic (but also Thrash bands like Anacrusis). I concur with other reviewers though…THIS IS THINKING MAN’S DEATH METAL! (R.I.P. Chuck)

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Chuck Schuldiner will be dearly missed. After listening to his incredible work, I perpetually think about how saddened I am. It brings a tear to my eye to think that such a prolific, hard working soul was taken away from the world. It’s a shame that life throws these obstacles at you. He is a true metal mastermind, and he will forever influence many musical generations. He has left a legacy behind, and no metal musician will be able to say that they have not been influenced by Mr. Schuldiner.”Individual Thought Patterns” was a big step forward in the progressive direction for Death. Instead of head-on brutality, Chuck implemeneted sweet melodies and guitar harmonies, and he also offerred variations in speed to avoid monotony. The songs have elaborate structures but they don’t sacrifice the sheer awesomeness of their sound. Chuck also could not have recruited a better group of musicians to record this album. The line-up reads as a who’s who of metal legends. On second guitar, we have Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), who is one hell of a shredder, but also holds great melody. The arpeggios on this album are utterly jaw-dropping, thanks to him and Chuck. Next, we have Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Testament), who is easily one of the best bassists in metal. He even plays a fretless bass! How awesome is that? Finally, there is Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad, Testament), who is arguably the king of thrash metal drumming. He just plain rules arse. Finally, Chuck’s guitar playing and vocals are phenomenal. He and Andy dish out amazing solos, and his vocals are (I take pride in this description) downright evil. If you like traditional Death, then this may not be for you. However, I own Leprosy and Scream Bloody Gore, which I absolutely love, but Individual Thought Patterns is my favorite. It’s unbelievable. I must also point out that this album gave melodic death metal a good jump start (bands like At The Gates and In Flames would carry the torch later). Anyway, if you have any concern for your METAL health, buy this. You won’t regret it.Some highlights:Overactive Imagination: Chuck and company get the ball rolling immediately. The thrash level is insane on this track! Awesome solos by Chuck and Andy, too. One of my faves.In Human Form: Awesome mid paced metal-fest. Cool solo breaks throughout the song. Those arpeggios are so infectious!Trapped In A Corner: Probably the best song the album has to offer. Excellent, extensive solos, and riffs that drive you crazy.Mentally Blind: Simply awesome. Chuck can do no wrong.The Philosopher: Excellent closing song. Cool finger tapping intro, and heaviness to follow. There you have it folks. BUY THIS!

    Posted on November 16, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now