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Death - Individual Thought Patterns CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.16 | 304 ratings

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The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This for me was a big step upwards from the previous album Human. Individual Thought Patterns shows us a much more sophisticated side to Chuck Schuldiner's output to the metal world, and everything you liked on Human is only magnified on this album. There are some fantastic new ideas within this great album, alongside some of Death's most technical moments.

This album also gives us an introduction to Gene Hoglan's short career with Death, and he strolls onto the more progressive side of death metal with all guns blazing. And what can I say? He doesn't hold back at all, and he only tops this marvellous performance on the sequel Symbolic. Chuck Schuldiner is on fire once again, and produces a few of his best written solos on ITP. On top of the two most prominent musicians here, Chuck has recruited second guitarist Andy LaRocque and fretless bassist Steve DiGiorgio, who seem to handle the dramatic changes, virtuoso requirements and odd time signatures with ease. DiGiorgio's jazzy basslines are probably the most remarkable as he has almost pioneered the use of the fretless bass in metal. This, as long as I can recall, has never really been seen in the metal world and adds further to the experimental value of ITP.

Onto the actual compositions, they are extraordinary. Something amazing happened to Chuck between '91 and '93 to enhance his songwriting skills to a new level of mastery. Even more complexity has been added to the mix, his guitar solos have become even more melodic and memorable and what's more, the sound and voicing of all the instruments has made the album EVEN heavier than before. Of course, as with most of Death's progressive discography, there are no weak points to this album. All is consistent and very tightly written. I do have my favourites however, and I will review them accordingly.

Trapped In A Corner - This song has an unbelievable guitar solo in it, one of Schuldiner's finest moments. On top of that, we have an ocean of strange time measures, including a 13/8 central riff, and some outstanding guitar harmonies, which all glue together to make an excellent song.

Destiny - My personal favourite off the album (if I were to pick one), it is probably the most progressive of the batch, opening - like the song Empty Words off their next album - softly and mysteriously at the aid of a clean electric guitar, a lead acoustic guitar and even a background synthesiser. Then we are beaten to a pulp once again by Death's technical heaviness seen before on the previous tracks. An outstanding performance from Gene Hoglan also must be pointed out.

Out Of Touch - The slow, doom metal-esque, apocalyptic intro gives a false impression of the true nature of this fast paced, technically charged tune. We are treated to many things here. Clever use of dissonance, phenomenal guitar work (as expected), a god-like guitar solo, some great basslines, magnificent drumming, a short accappella duel guitar break, unorthodox tempo changes and yes, even a 19/4 main riff. This song truly sums up everything the album is about in about 4 minutes of metal genius.

The Philosopher - Probably Death's most well known song, this one has even appeared on MTV a few times. Don't let that deter you though! This is a masterpiece. A masterpiece riff, masterpiece (yet compositionally simple) intro, a masterpiece chorus, masterpiece lyrics, masterpiece use of a synth, masterpiece guitar solos and yes, you guessed it, a masterpiece ending. This song is perfect, and definitely in my top 5 Death songs of all time. If you are into progressive death metal, then you will be into this song. Period.

Overall, the album is a gem. The archetypal progressive death metal album, and in my honest opinion, the most progressive of Death's whole discography. Even more so than Symbolic and Sound of Perseverance. It is not a masterpiece, however, as it has its flaws. For example, it's very difficult to listen to it in its entirety as all the songs are very similar in length and in style. However, that is also an advantage. If you turn to any track on ITP, you will not be disappointed. In conclusion however, it is still a mile away from Symbolic, and because of that I can only rate it a total of 4 stars. If you are into any kind of metal though, you can't afford to NOT have this album.

The Pessimist | 4/5 |


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