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!