DEATH — Individual Thought Patterns

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DEATH - Individual Thought Patterns cover
4.28 | 102 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1993

Tracklist

1. Overactive Imagination (3:30)
2. In Human Form (3:56)
3. Jealousy (3:40)
4. Trapped in a Corner (4:13)
5. Nothing Is Everything (3:18)
6. Mentally Blind (4:47)
7. Individual Thought Patterns (4:00)
8. Destiny (4:05)
9. Out of Touch (4:21)
10. The Philosopher (4:10)

Total Time: 40:06

Line-up/Musicians

- Chuck Schuldiner / vocals, guitars
- Steve DiGiorgio / fretless bass
- Andy LaRocque / guitars
- Gene Hoglan / drums

About this release

Full-length, Relativity Records/Roadrunner
June 30th, 1993

A music video was made for "The Philosopher". That video received moderate
airplay on MTV and would later appear in a "Beavis and Butthead" episode.

Produced by Chuck Schuldiner and Scott Burns
Engineered by Scott Burns
Recoded & mixed at Morrisound Studios
Music and lyrics by Chuck Schuldiner
Artwork by Rene Miville
Art direction : David Bett
Design : Kathy Milone

Japanese version released on Sony Music Entertainment
Also released on Century Media

Thanks to UMUR, TheHeavyMetalCat, Unitron for the updates

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Necrotica
When "The Philosopher" was played on MTV and got featured on Beavis & Butthead back in the 90s, it was clear that Death were becoming influential even beyond the realms of death metal. Keep in mind that, while Headbanger's Ball was a popular MTV program back then, it usually featured artists more rooted in traditional, alternative, and thrash metal. More extreme genres of metal were thrown in there from time to time, but were often tucked behind the primary stuff that was being shown/heard. That, and the program was canceled in 1995, around the time that Death were finally getting more recognition. Basically, what I'm saying is that a band like Death being on MTV rotation is nothing short of an anomaly. But, in hindsight, "The Philosopher" was a great piece of music to get people into the band; from the now-iconic tapped guitar intro to the bizarre shifts in rhythm, "The Philosopher" was the sound of a band venturing into their bold and most adventurous territory yet. Throw in some of Steve DiGiorgio's finest (and finally more audible) bass work yet and Gene Hoglan's intricate drumming, and this song was a perfect appetizer - and closer - for its parent album, Individual Thought Patterns. The second album in Death's highly acclaimed "Final Four," this also might just be their most fascinating album as well.

The album itself is a formula nearly perfected, blending death metal, progressive metal, and even jazz fusion into a ten-song whirlwind of masterclass musicianship and multi-faceted lyrics. Chuck Schuldiner's songwriting was tighter than ever by this point, with the ability to pack so many riffs and twists in each song to vary their moods considerably. "Mentally Blind" is a perfect example, switching from a speed metal-influenced pre-chorus to a slow, atmospheric crawl in a matter of seconds without killing the song's pace. There are also a few welcome additions to Chuck's musical arsenal here, such as the beautifully written acoustic intro to "Destiny" (which would eventually be more fleshed out in 1998's "Voice of the Soul") and the Cynic-influenced "jazz metal" portions of "Trapped in the Corner." In fact, there's a LOT more jazz here than on Death's other albums, based on the guitar chords and rhythmic structures. The title track even gets a bit groovy in the pre-chorus, although it still benefits from some technical bass melodies underneath. You could also argue that this album, alongside Symbolic and The Sound of Perseverance is one of the Death albums most akin to classic progressive rock in style, as the band seemed to be gradually working themselves away from classic death metal to focus on a sound that's more intricate and diverse. But what makes it work in Individual Thought Patterns' favor is that it still retains the rawness of the previous albums in the process. It's like you're listening to the unpolished production values and jagged guitar work of Human combined with the epic compositions and progressive tendencies of Symbolic in one single package, which is pretty damn cool.

But, as I stated, the adventurousness is what makes this album especially notable in Death's discography. There's some genuinely surprising material here, so let me briefly list a few highlights:

-A Latin jazz portion in "Out of Touch" which sounds like Death's interpretation of Atheist -A melodic outro in "Nothing is Everything" that mixes catchy guitar leads with a chugging riff for a nice juxtaposition of sounds -A chromatic solo by Andy LaRocque in "Overactive Imagination" that sounds like an evil circus, followed by one of the album's jazziest riffs -The aforementioned acoustic portion of "Destiny" which beautifully kicks off the song and gives it an epic feel, along with some of that Latin flair in the lead guitar -Some very weird discordant harmonies and melodies in the intro/main riff of the title track, which somehow feel both natural and out-of-place at the same time -An extended bass solo in the outro of "The Philosopher," which takes up the last minute of its runtime -A breakdown in "Mentally Blind" that shows all the deathcore kiddies that you can still make a breakdown that's well-written while retaining its heaviness/distortion

Those are just a few of the interesting elements strewn about, and they're coupled with some of the best lyrics you'll ever hear on a Death (or death metal) album. Among the subjects covered are Schuldiner's perceptions of jealousy, social norms, and other realistic topics regarding the human experience. It's cool to hear concepts that started out on Spiritual Healing fleshed out so much in Death's later work, as well as hearing a band that really makes you think about the world around you and might even influence your perceptions of that world. Especially notable is "The Philosopher," which (as far as I can tell, at least) concerns people who think they know everything on their high-and-mighty proverbial pedestals, while never acknowledging the opinions and thoughts of others in their narrow-mindedness. Pretty sophisticated subject matter, to say the least.

While it's not quite my favorite record in Death's impressive catalog, Individual Thought Patterns does come incredibly close to that distinction regardless. It's such a fun album to listen to because of it's experimental and progressive nature, while showcasing an incredibly high quality of lyricism on top of all that. It doesn't reach the production polish of Symbolic, but it seems better off with the rawer production that was used, as it marries the album's instrumental complexity with some edge. Just trust me on this: if you're a death metal or progressive metal fan and you haven't listened to Individual Thought Patterns you're missing out on one of the best records from either genre.
UMUR
"Individual Thought Patterns" is the 5th full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Death. The album was released through Relativity Records in June 1993. It´s the successor to "Human (1991)", which was an album that signalled a change in style for Death. While the first three albums displayed an increasingly technical nature, they are still first and foremost old school death metal releases, but with "Human (1991)" bandleader/guitarist/vocalist Chuck Schuldiner brought in a new cast of musicians, who were on a much higher technical level than their predecessors, and as a result of that "Human (1991)" became one of the seminal technical death metal releases of the early 90s.

"Individual Thought Patterns" is in many ways a natural successor to "Human (1991)", and that´s despite a couple of lineup changes. Chuck Schuldiner still handles lead vocals and guitars, and bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus) has opted for another run too, but guitarist Paul Masvidal and drummer Sean Reinert (both from Cynic) have left to be replaced by King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque and Dark Angel drummer Gene Hoglan. It says a lot about the size and success of Death in those days, that Schuldiner was able to recruit those two rather prolific and greatly skilled musicians for the recording of "Individual Thought Patterns"...

...and the two new guys make their mark immediately on the opening track "Overactive Imagination". LaRocque´s melodic and neo-classical influenced guitar style and Hoglan´s fast precision playing are great assets to Death´s sound, and perfectly compliment Schuldiner´s raw snarl and sharp riffs/solos and DiGiorgio´s busy fretless bass playing. The Cynic guys arguably did a great job on "Human (1991)", and I wouldn´t say the "Individual Thought Patterns" lineup is stronger than that lineup, but it´s fully on par with it.

The songwriting hasn´t changed much since the predecessor and we´re still treated to technically well played death metal (maybe slightly more technical in nature than the material on "Human (1991)"). It´s powerful, raw, and quite sophisticated (including the lyrics which are relatively clever for the genre), but also rather formulaic and generally featuring very few surprises. Most tracks are structured with a succesion of riffs/vers/chorus/bridge, a mid-section with a solo/solos, and then a return of the same riffs/vers/chorus/bridge as the track opened with. It´s not really a surprise though, as Death has more or less written tracks with that structure since "Leprosy (1988)" (with a few exceptions). It´s probably a matter of not messing with a formula which works, and it arguably works here and makes the material relatively accessible and quite catchy for death metal.

"Individual Thought Patterns" features a powerful and detailed sound production, which is overall a bit less bottom heavy compared to the sound on the predecessor, but no less intense and raw. Upon conclusion "Individual Thought Patterns" is yet another high quality release in Death´s discography. It´s not quite as big a revelation as "Human (1991)" was when it was released, but the songwriting quality, the musicianship, and the sound production are of as high quality as they were on the predecessor. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.
arcane-beautiful
Having enjoyed Human, but yet slightly disappointed with the overall sound of the album, I did predict that things would only get better. And lo and behold, I was right.

Taking an even bigger step from the last album, Death have now gone into even more experimental territory. And the oddest thing is that it actually works very well for them.

One of the biggest changes musically that the band has undertook was that...well, a lot more weirder stuff happens in this album. “Human”, while being quite technical and experimental, the songs did sound rather robotic. I don't know whether this was due to the mixing or the actual compositions themselves, but a lot of the songs did sound very similar at times. This album is the opposite. Don't get me wrong, the songs still have that Death sound throughout, but each song does have it's own unique characteristics.

Like all Death albums, a new line up is seen. Now, this line up really is a beast. Steve DiGiorgio is still in the band since the last album (which is pretty impressive for a member of Death), and wow. F*** Cliff Burton and any other big bass players, this guy owns them all with one hand. This guy can do stuff I could never imagine myself ever doing on a bass. Joining the band on guitar is Andy LaRocque who you may know as King Diamonds right hand man. But the big change was adding Gene Hoglan on drums. Gene, who would go on to join Strapping Young Lad, is a force to be dealt with, and can be heard very much so on this album. As time progressed, newer faces would join the folds, but this is one great line up the band had.

Lyrically the album almost acts as a concept album, with most of the songs dealing with mental issues, such as mental illness, psychosis, religion (yes, it is a mental issue) and other things to do with your brain. Oh, what a brainy bunch of lads.

If you listen very carefully, while comparing this album to earlier Death releases, Chuck's vocals seem to be getting higher. Believe me, in the next two albums

The album opener “Overactive Imagination” is a very...overactive song. A lot is going on and a lot of crazy stuff can be heard now and then. Typical Death style really.

The album suprisingly also has a rather jazzy sound at times. This can be heard in the title track and also in “Jealousy.” Drums and bass do an amazing job and the weird amalgamation does suprisingly work very well.

One of the other classics on this album is “Trapped In A Corner.” In fact, this song has what the album has a lot of, and that's kick ass riffs. The riff in this song is one that will definitely stick with me for a very long time.

The albums longest composition “Mentally Blind” is one of the most impressive songs on the album. Great use of build ups throughout and throughout the song, it reminds me of Slayer's “Seasons In The Abyss”, with the use of rather middle eastern sounding riffs.

The album's closer “The Philosopher” is another classic Death song. The main riff is definitely up there with classic metal riffs. Lyrically I think the song is about Aleister Crowley, but it's not really important. The music also has a music video, and also was parodied by Beavis & Butthead. Worth a watch if you want a laugh. The bass solo at the end also proves how much of a machine Steve DiGiorgio

In conclusion, this album completely surprised me. I knew things would get a lot better, but I didn't expect them to get this good so fast. I know the next two albums take the band's genius to even more extremes, but I was really blown away by some of the tracks on this album. This album might get a bit overlooked if I'm honest, but this is a total Death classic.

RIP Chuck Schulinder

8.3/10
Warthur
Although all of Death's albums from their technical death metal phase (from Human to Sound of Perseverance) are highly consistent, I have to say that Individual Thought Patterns has emerged as my favourite. This may on balance prove to be an entirely arbitrary choice since there's plenty of creativity on show on all 4 albums from this period of the band's existence, but I find this one grabs me a little more immediately than the others - it's not that it's simpler or more straightforward than the others because it really isn't, but the compositions here feel just a wee bit more polished than on the others. It's a hair's breadth between them, but I truly think this is Death's crowning accomplishment.
Stooge
Another album, another lineup overhaul, no surprises. As long as Chuck Schuldiner is there, you’ll get some solid metal. His writing style really hasn’t changed a lot from the early years, but a higher caliber of musicians can turn good songs into great ones. That was the case with Human, and the trend continues on Individual Thought Patterns.

Chuck, being quite the King Diamond fan, calls on Andy LaRocque to take on the second guitar slot for the studio sessions. I’m more used to hearing his leads accompanied by King’s wailing, high-pitched vocals, but LaRocque’s solos work well on this album. Many of Individual Thought Pattern’s most memorable solos can be traced to his fret board.

Aside from Chuck, the only returning player from Human is bassist Steve Digiorgio, who receives a generous boost in volume on this album. Sometimes he sounds a bit to high in the mix, but fretless bass playing on a metal album was still something of a rarity in 1993, so I don’t mind it. His playing stands out strongly in “Nothing Is Everything”, “Jealousy”, and the dueling solo outro (with Chuck) on “The Philosopher”. His rhythm section partner, Gene Hoglan, is just as impressive throughout the album.

Many of the songs are great cuts, but I’d describe the title track and “Out of Touch” (intro aside) as being less memorable than the others. The strongest tracks on this album are “Trapped In A Corner”, which features my favorite solo section on the album, “The Philosopher” (the song that made me a Death fan), and “In Human Form”.

Overall, this is an excellent album by Death, but is sandwiched between two even better albums in their discography. This is sure to please most fans of death metal, and possibly thrash and prog metal fans as well.
The Angry Scotsman
I have always been a fan of Death, and like all of their albums from first to last. However, "Individual Thought Patterns" is my personal favorite. While it may not be Death's most progressive album, it is their most technical. However, they do it well. One fatal flaw I have noticed with technical metal albums is that they became slaves to it. They seemingly go out of their way to show it until they almost become too technical for their own good. However, this album keeps its technicality while still progressing.

I personally think this is Death's best lineup. As always Chuck Schuldiner is on guitar and vocals. While still maintaining his death growl, he starts to take a higher pitched screaming on this album. His guitar work is amazing as usual. Chuck still plays his death metal riffs, but also shows off his technicality. Some of his most technical riffs are "In Human Form", "Trapped in a Corner" and "Overactive Imagination". Chuck's solos are just superb on this album.

Andy LaRocque may take the role of rhythm guitar on this album, but he lays down some very nice ones. He is a great compliment to Chuck and they make some great dual guitar harmonies. Andy does get some solo's on the album, and they are good ones at that! Steve DiGiorgio, playing a fretless bass, really adds another dimension to this album. His jazzy bass lines are heard under the crushing riffs, and besides being superb bass lines it just sounds so cool! "Out of Touch" is a great example as well as, "Mentally Blind".

That brings us to Gene Hoglan, "the Atomic Clock". This is a perfect nick name. His technical drumming, at such high speeds, and accuracy are only achieved by a select few. Even his blast beats show some technicality, (he often uses alternating single and double bass hits). His use of double bass is excellent, Hoglan uses it in the actual beat of the song, giving it a great feel. He shows the ability to play technical/complex beats and has a great range of musical styles. Gene can also throw down some mean double bass. Every song for him is gold, but a few prime examples are "Individual Thought Patterns" and "Trapped in a Corner"

The standout song on this album is "The Philosopher" their most famous song. There is no weak song, no weak sections, displays brilliant musicianship and songwriting. This album is a perfect blend of intensity, technicality, musicianship and is brilliantly composed. The best Death album (and that should really be saying something).

Five Stars
Time Signature
In super-human form...

Genre: progressive death metal

While "Human" certainly was innovative and contained a lot of progressive elements, "Individual Thought Patterns" pushes the bar a whole lot further - and, fortunately, now the fretless bass is audible.

The song structures are at times insanely complex with several changes in time and tempo, key and scales, and both captivating and weird melody and a lot of brutality and speedy riffage. There are also plenty of odd time signatures and generally insane drumming from "mean Gene Hoglan, the caffeine machine".

The album is progressive and experimental, to be sure; yet it is more accessible to the general death metal audience than, say Cynic and Atheist, which is probably one of the reasons why Death became generally more popular than other progressive death metal acts back in the day.

Every song is a masterpiece in itself, but especially "Overactive Imagination", "Jealousy", the title track, and "The Philospher" are worth mentioning as is the quirky "Destiny".
Sleepwalker
Death, often said to be the pioneers of death metal, released their fifth studio album Individual Thought Patterns in 1993. The album was released in the part of Death’s career that’s said by many to feature their best albums. It struck me on first listen what an unique album Individual Thought Patterns is. Chuck Schuldiner’s unique growling style obviously is very important for the sound of Death, so is Gene Hoglans highly regarded drumming. What I might even love most about this album, is the addition of fretless bass by Steve DiGiorgio. Death metal combined with the elegance of the fretless bass, what a combination!

The album opens in the best way possible, with the astounding “Overactive Imagination”. The song takes the listener through various mezmerizing rythms and riffs, that never tend to get dull or uninteresting in any way. I don’t think any of the other pieces on the album reaches the brilliance of this track, though some get very close. “Jealousy” is one of those songs. On this particular track the fretless bass makes the music sound very curvy. Also the following track “Trapped In A Corner” is among the very best of this album. The title track deserves a mention as well. “Individual Thought Patterns” must be one of the most aggresive songs on the album, with it’s ominous intro and aggresive drumming.

The only track that I think brings this album down is “Out Of Touch”. The track is pretty complicated like many pieces on the album. Unlike those, this one sounds somewhat messy and therefore perhaps even out of place. Fortunately, I can’t think of any other songs on Individual Thought Patterns that aren’t good at all. The tracks I didn’t mention in this review all are great songs, like the vast majority of music on the album. One more thing that has to be said is that the song Death probably is best known for is featured on this album. “The Philosopher” closes the album in a great way. It proves what the fretless bass is worth for the final time on this album, with an intense ending featuring variated guitar and bass solos.

Individual Thought Patterns is a brilliant album. I’d reccomend it to anyone who is interested in a fantastic death metal album and to anyone who might agree with me that fretless bass and death metal are a great combination.

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