Death
Individual Thought Patterns


5.0
classic

Review

by Andrew Buckley USER (16 Reviews)
June 30th, 2011 | 44 replies | 4,897 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Evil Chuck melds the best aspects of tech death and prog metal together and leaves the chaff behind, creating an album that's even smarter than that Earth-sized brain on its cover!

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

For my money (which admittedly, ain’t much lately), Individual Thought Patterns is one of the most flawless, intelligent, and all-around BEST albums I’ve ever heard in my life, heavy metal or otherwise. Now, let us take a moment to examine why that is; first off, it’s one thing to have a pristine, glistening, immaculate production on an album, another thing to have a line-up full of nothing but instrumental virtuosos, and yet another thing to have songwriting that fills up an uninterrupted 10 tracks/39 minutes with nothing but incredibly intricate, dynamic, highly compelling material with nary a misfire to be heard.

But still, it’s yet another thing when you have all three of those elements present on the same record; sure, some albums have one element, maybe even two of them, but all three?? It’s like lighting striking in the same place twice, like winning the lottery three times in a row, like rain on your wedding day; it just CAN’T happen! It’s almost like the metal gods should’ve traveled to Tampa back in ’93, set foot in Morrisound Studios, and f ucked with ITP’s production and Chuck’s songwriting skills (this being back when they still could, before he died and become one of them in metal heaven), and banished Schuldiner, LaRocque, DiGiorgio, and Hoglan to the four corners of the Earth, never again to reunite and hog so much metal awesomeness to themselves.

Fortunately for us, since the metal gods don’t actually exist, Chuck & the gang did complete Individual Thought Patterns, and blessed us with Death’s finest moment. Every other Death record has some merit, but while Human was hampered somewhat by a muffled production and a few dud tracks, and the final two albums went too slick with their productions, and had weaker songwriting overall, ITP was blessed by what might be my favorite production job of any album (hard to believe its 18 years old now), with every single instrument given its own superb, polished sound, as well as a strong clarity inside the overall mix, so we never lose track of any of them, even the often-neglected bass.

Performance-wise, ITP also has the finest line-up Death ever assembled (perhaps even of any metal band line-up), with extreme drumming icon Gene Hoglan alternately precision-blasting away and keeping up relatively loose, flowing drum rhythms, as well as throwing in generous amounts of intense drum fills to spice things up. Bass guru Steve DiGiorgio does an incredible job with his lively, jazzy playing (the fact that you can hear him a helluva lot better here than on Human doesn’t hurt), and finally, Andy LaRocque and Chuck himself share rhythm/lead guitar duties, trading off thrashy, intense riffing and ambitious, fluid, winding, unpredictable, high-energy solos, which are scattered generously throughout every song. The guitar duo’s playing never fails to impress me, and as far I’m concerned, track-for-track, ITP is the ultimate guitar album.

Finally, let’s talk a little bit about ITP’s songwriting/general style, the factor that I feel is most responsible for its greatness; now, I’ve seen ITP described as being a tech death album as well as a prog metal album, but just glancing at the song lengths, none of which even exceed 5 minutes, you might be wandering how ITP could be prog-y, seeing as how songs in that genre typically last for an eternity. To find the answer, let’s go by halves; the tech death half of ITP comes from its complex but relatively-short song structures, but the songwriting here lacks the somewhat-disjointed, bi-polar, blind aggression that characterizes tech death, where the songs undergo random changes for seemingly little reason, and with a usually only tenuous connection to what came before (I love me some tech death, but you know it’s true!).

On ITP, however, the songwriting always has an extremely strong sense of continuity and a cool, collected intelligence to it, belaying the frantic instrumental work. The songs don’t abruptly switch into another riff just to show off, but rather, keep up a logical, continuous flow that always feels like it evolved naturally out of what came beforehand, and is smoothly moving forward into what's next. This interconnected approach is what reminds me of progressive metal (at least, the good prog metal) on Thought Patterns, and combined with the tech-y intensity of the instrumental work, plus the shortness of tech death with no prog-y bloat, all combines together to create its greatest strength.

Individual song-wise, ITP has more than enough variety to satisfy, from the relentless speed of opener “Overactive Imagination”, the more brutal impact of “Jealousy”, the surprisingly-slow battery of “The Philosopher”, and just about anything else you’d care to name, without a single miss in the entire batch. I wish I could force myself to single out more individual songs here, but it’s just so hard when an album’s so uniformly, all-around great as ITP; it’s almost a crime to draw any more attention to a single song. Yes, a few tracks are slightly less memorable than others here, but they’re still all great, so no real complaints to be had here.

So, I know I’ve praised this one up a f uckton in my review, but what can I say? It’s my favorite Death album, and in my all-time top 10 albums. However, if you’ve never heard ITP before, I won’t get mad at you if you don’t absolutely love it on first listen, or even your first few listens, seeing as how relentlessly intense it is, and how it almost has TOO much goodness to absorb in one sitting. But, I do suggest that you stick with it and apply your tiny intellect toward fathoming its greatness, as wonderful things wait to reward those who persevere, and come to appreciate this work of art.



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user ratings (1559)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Maniac!
June 30th 2011



26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review

MO
June 30th 2011



18419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, ruined by the spam though. Oh and check "you might be wandering".

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

Maniac!
June 30th 2011



26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I just realized that this is his 15th review.


Eh... I'm all for personal reviews, but this comes across as way too... infomercial-y

MO
June 30th 2011



18419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yea the second paragraph especially, I can just imagine that whole thing in Billy Mayes' (RIP) voice.

Maniac!
June 30th 2011



26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The closing paragraph is kinda icky too.

MO
June 30th 2011



18419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Uses "I" a little too much here, oh well good rating for an amazing album.
Slays always.

Tyrael
June 30th 2011



20797 Comments


Great album

fsharptrit0ne
June 30th 2011



4814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cool review.

It's good to know you won't get mad at people if they don't like it right away

Pyosisified
June 30th 2011



2450 Comments


been waiting for this review for years, thank you

Jruined
June 30th 2011



1296 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What's up with all of the Death love lately??? Probably shouldn't question it, as it's a good thing.

Album rules.

Digging: Mike Oldfield - Ommadawn

JimCarrey
June 30th 2011



42 Comments


Jim loves this

eggsvonsatan
June 30th 2011



1087 Comments


I used to really like this but, its become one of my least favorite death albums. Not that its bad or anything. I've just grown to like others a lot more.

MO
June 30th 2011



18419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hey jim start making better movies

ShadowRemains
June 30th 2011



20456 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the philosopher omg

album fucking rules

JimCarrey
June 30th 2011



42 Comments


Hey Metallic, why don't you like my movies? Would you like to collaborate with me to make our own movie?

Pyosisified
June 30th 2011



2450 Comments


shut the fuck up

JimCarrey
June 30th 2011



42 Comments


OK calm down everyone

fsharptrit0ne
June 30th 2011



4814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lmfao

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
June 30th 2011



49955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fucking penguins

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

lmletal
June 30th 2011



95 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing fuckin album



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