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Death Individual Thought Patterns album cover
4.17 | 383 ratings | 27 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1993

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Overactive Imagination (3:30)
2. In Human Form (3:55)
3. Jealousy (3:39)
4. Trapped in a Corner (4:11)
5. Nothing Is Everything (3:16)
6. Mentally Blind (4:45)
7. Individual Thought Patterns (4:00)
8. Destiny (4:04)
9. Out of Touch (4:19)
10. The Philosopher (4:10)

Total Time 39:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Chuck Schuldiner / vocals, guitar, co-producer
- Andy LaRocque / guitar
- Steve DiGiorgio / bass
- Gene Hoglan / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: René Miville

LP Roadrunner Records ‎- RR 9079 1 (1993, Netherlands)

CD Relativity ‎- 88561-1168-2 (1993, US)
CD Century Media ‎- 9962048 (2008, Germany) Remastered (?)

Thanks to MikeEnRegalia for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DEATH Individual Thought Patterns ratings distribution

(383 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

DEATH Individual Thought Patterns reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by b_olariu
5 stars Well, i was a little surprise that this band is here, but i think this album belongs 85% to prog genre. Despite the voice of Chuck Schuldiner (Rest in peace man), who is death, the rest of the instruments are prog , not 100%, but enough to be in that style. I love this album , one of the most complex albums of the '90 and of entire rock music. Not only musical Death were very skillful but lyrical aswell, very strong lyrics. I have to remaind you that on this album are outstanding musicians: -Steve DiGiorgio - bass, i think this man has 15 fingers to play how he plays here, superb musician -Andy LaRocque - guitar from King Diamond, an excellent guitarist, and the man behind the drumms, one of my all time favourite drummer Gene Hoglan (i can't belive that a person could play on drumms like he did on this album, absolutly not on this earth), he came from thrash bad named Dark Angel and joined Death in 1993, you will descover him later on some of Devin Townsend albums, again great. All in all one of my favourite albums of all time. Great stuff from the beggining to the last note. Superb. A classic in every way, and a masterpiece of prog and one of the best death albums ever, the next one is in the same vein, of the highest calibre.
Review by Marc Baum
4 stars I think this is one of Death's most interesting albums to prog-heads, aside from Human, Symbolic and Sound Of Perseverance. Musically, the album sticks out like a sore thumb, and it remains interesting lyrically, as Death always has been unique in the lyric department. This is the album where Chuck's voice becomes significantly higher in pitch, but he can still deal out vocals like he always could. Chuck decides to keep Steve on bass, pick up Gene Hoglan for drums, and Andy LaRocque for guitar. Although not my favorite line up it's still excellent.

You can actually hear the fretless bass master's fills, which gives the album a kick and really puts the sound out there. Steve is perfect for this album and he really gives it a unique sound with his amplified bass fills. Andy's solos blend beautifully with the flow of the music, and most of my favorite Death solos come from this album. Gene Hoglan is a monster on the kit, smashing away as if it requires no effort for him. I think this is probably Death's most technical album, but Death don't make the same mistake that a lot of bands make when they go technical, which is direction.

The first track, "Overactive Imagination", is a great opener. It starts out fast, and changes into an even faster verse.

"In Human Form" has one of my favorite Bass lines ever. It has some great riffs and Chucks screaming sounds great.

"Jealousy" has to be one of the most technical songs on the album. Gene throws in some triplets at odd times, which work very well.

"Trapped in a Corner" is a classic. The drums seem to overtake everything in the song with what Gene is doing. Sure, the solos are great, but Gene is doing some very complicated stuff.

"Nothing is Everything" has the same, High-hat/Ride attack from Trapped in a Corner, but it still sounds good. Once the song gets to Chucks solo though, it really picks up.

"Mentally Blind" is one of my favorite Death songs ever. Why? Because of the drums. Gene again rips it up, especially the ending. If you listen to the ending, the double bass is probably the fastest he ever went. Not to mention the great bass and guitar work. Chuck really knew how to write some great songs.

Next comes the CD's title track, "Individual Thought Patterns". The song is slower than most of the other tracks, but it makes up for that in heavyness and technecality.

"Destiny" starts out acoustic. Just Andy playing. Then that fades out, and into great song with alot of melody. The chorus is one of my favorites, being an old school Death type song, screaming out the name of the track.

"Out Of Touch" is a song that starts off slow, and then turns into almost a full on thrash song. It's very fast, and probably helps with Genes work with Dark Angel and Testament. The guitar is awesome, like amost every Death song, and you can hear the little things Steve is doing.

"The Philosopher" closes out the CD. The intro is sort of dark, and goes great with the song. Everything is great. Chucks solo and his vocals take over the song, and that's what make it great.

Some artists get lost in technicality and have no clear direction of where they're going with the music, but that doesn't happen here. Every single solo is a blistering fest of emotion and intricasy. The solos are also pretty long on this album, which I love. Every single song is ripping and screaming with technicality and carefully placed riffs. The music seems to have a really big "push" to it's sound, not just because of the blasting bass, but because of the speedy and precocious guitars, blended with the heavy pounding drums.

My highlight songs are "Trapped In A Corner", "Jealousy", "In Human Form", and "The Philosopher". However, each song has it's own highlights and special parts to it. I'd say it's probably the most unique album Death have ever done, and it is a must have for any Death fan. Though I prefer Human and "Symbolic", the next album in Chuck Schuldiner's mission to progress DEATH metal.

Album rating: 8.5/10 points = 84 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Review by 1800iareyay
3 stars Following the undergound success (somewhat oxymoronic I know) and critical acclaim of Human, Chuck did not rest on his laurels. Sean Reinert returned to Cynic, who had loaned him to Chuck for Human. Paul Masvidal also was out, so Chuck once again had to reconfigure his lineup. He keeps fretless bass wonder Steve DiGiorgio and adds ex-Dark Angel and future Devin Townsend drum wizard Gene Hoglan as well as the underrated ex- King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque. This isn't Death's greatest lineup, but it is the most star packed (if you can call underground icons "stars").

Individual Though Patterns continues the lyrical slant of Human, eschewing the gore of old for introspection and social commentary. While the track are just as strong as those found on Human, something about it just didn't click with me the way that Human had. However, there are some Death classics here: The Philosopher is in my top 5 favorite Death songs, with Steve's best basswork to date; it even beats out the solo on Cosmic Seas even though he doesn't solo on this song. Chuck's lyrics are so full of bile and anger this song wouldn't sound out of place on a Rage Against the Machine album. Trapped In a Corner is a fine display of Gene's talent; this former drum tech for Slayer drum god Dave Lombardo can match almost anything his inspiration has put out.

As with Human, this is more technical than progressive, but, once again, the Opeth fans should stop right now and at least buy the studio output from Human through the swan song Sound of Perserverance. The lyrical focus and the experimentation are the foundation for Opeth. You might as well get all their studio albums just to learn about this genre-pioneering vessel for one man's genius.

PA Grade: C+

Metal standpoint grade: B

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "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.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by The Pessimist
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.

Review by CCVP
4 stars Death's worst post-Human album, believe it or not

Death's importance to both death metal and progressive metal is undoubted. Chuck's band practically invented almost all death metal characteristics, such as gory lyrics, raw and extreme music played as fast as one's could, etc, etc, etc. However, starting in Spiritual Healing, Death's music started to slowly change: in Spiritual Healing the gory lyrics were (almost) completely dropped and the Splatter Movie theme were changed by more tangible (or human) affairs, in Human, besides the absense of the gore, the music started to get increasingly complex, better played and more artsy, approaching progressive metal in various ways.

Although following Human in many features, Individual Through Patters is somewhat not as good or as original, and that has many possible causes, but i'll only number two that I consider more important. The first one that can be noted is the bigger running time: Individual Through Patters clocks a bit more than 40 minutes, wile Human clocks only 34 minutes, and that extra time counts a LOT (usually negatively, in my opinion) when it comes to extreme music like we have here (death metal with prog infliences). The second cause is that this is a transition album between death metal with prog influences and progressive death metal, so it stays in the middle of both without having their best characteristics altogether: it has the short song duration and the lack of diversity of death metal wile being less brutal, something that is definitely negative.

It is also important to note that Individual Through Patterns sounds somehow close to Human and, due to that, some tend to day that Individual Through Patterns is not a good album, bu I disagree: despite the flaws, mentioned in the paragraph before, and the similarity to Human in some way, Chuck was still able to deliver great (extreme) music with lots of awesome riffs and kick-ass guitar solos, desregarding what naysayers tell about this album.

Highlights go to Overactive Imagination, Trapped in a Corner, Mentally Blind, Destiny, Out of Touch and The Philosopher.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Still searching for a musical identity, Chuck Schuldiner and Death released Individual Through Patterns, a transition album that is not as good as the album that preceded it and the album that came after it. Yet, not being a masterpiece does not means that an album is worthless, it only means that it is (at least) good. Therefore, thrash this album just because it is not as good as the other post-Human Death album is not only wrong, but extremely unfair. For that matter, this very album is worth 4 stars.

Review by JJLehto
5 stars 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 bands 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. However, every song on the album is good. Their may not be a few stand outs, but none of them are weak. While some say this album was the transition from technical inspired death metal to prog metal, and therefore does not feature the best of each. I disagree, I think it displays both technicality and some prog.

Overall, a great album with no glaring weak points. Like any Death album, I would avoid if you do not like metal. However, if you do this is an essential!

Review by Kazuhiro
4 stars An original creation and the form that this band did from the flow of Thrash Metal and Black Metal at the dawn in the flow of the band that the derivation and the music character develop further might be indeed unique. It is necessary to be evaluated as a band that establishes one music character as a position of this band in the activity of the band of various Thrash Metal. The establishment of the music character might have had the part where it had been reflected in the work mainly that it was a part where the dash feeling and the technology had been valued. And, it will have been a band that exactly established one flow in the field of Death Metal. It had the part represented as a band that played the role to promote the flow of Thrash Metal to the part of the following development. Misgivings buried in the band where individuality and a large amount of active Death bred oppositely as a band that derived from the field of Thrash Metal and Black Metal, too might have been conceived, too. However, Death will be able to count the difficult time as a splendidly advanced by original directionality band even in the 90's. Death traced the transition and the history of the change in various forms and the music characters as a form of the band. And, it is likely to have ridden on the stream indeed with the development of the music character as a part as the Solo project. The band made the musician according to the music character and the perfection after "Human" that had been announced in 1991 and production and the originality of the employing album were made effective. The member who has been appointed with this album is Andy LaRocque of a guitar player who was active with Gene Hoglan and King Diamond of a drum player who was active with Dark Angel. The part where a unique musician was arranged respectively might be splendid. Progressing of music to listen by "Spiritual Healing" and "Human". And, it composes in the further arrangement of the key point of the dash feeling and the melody everywhere completing the composition and the route of the complicated tune as one result. The perfection of this album might be one result of exactly involving the dash feeling and an original estheticism and consideration to the part of the extreme. After announcing this album, Death dares the tour. In addition, the tour in Europe was dared adding Craig Locicero active with Forbidden.

In "Overactive Imagination", Riff of the guitar by original harmony and a complex rhythm are features. Complete, heavy Riff. And, rhythmically by putting fast and slow. Or, it storms about Blast Beat that flows from Solo of the guitar. The band boasts of a complete perfection.

The composition of an intermittent rhythm of "In Human Form" is impressive in original Riff and the melody. Melody and rhythm developed one after another. And, development of a unique melody and a steady rhythm might be splendid. The technical part that the band does is complete.

As for "Jealousy", the melody that develops with the complexity twines round the rhythm of six. And, the flow that the rhythm of 5 and 3 is emphasized from an original melody is splendid. And, Solo of a part that shifts to the rhythm of six and a complete guitar. The composition and the perfection of the tune are splendid.

As for "Trapped In A Corner", original harmony twines round the rhythm of seven. The rhythm that puts fast and slow continues. And, complete individuality is drawn out from the storm of the rhythm and Riff to emphasize the rhythm of two. Development and the idea of the tune have a splendid perfection. Guitar Solo in close relation to heavy Riff. And, rhythmically to emphasize 1 and 3. The tension has good atmosphere.

"Nothing Is Everything" has a rhythm that puts fast and slow in the basis and an intermittent melody. And, the melody of harmony with a more unique guitar. And, it shifts to the flow that multiuses the rhythm of six and the dash feeling is produced. The technology of the band and the composition of music might be considerably calculated.

"Mentally Blind" shifts to the part of the melody with a good anacatesthesia from the start including the flow with the dash feeling in Riff of a heavy guitar. Solo of the guitar considers beauty. This tune will have individuality. Individuality shines in an intermittent melody and the rhythm.

"Individual Thought Patterns" continues the dash feeling from the melody of complete harmony. Riff of a heavy guitar twines round a steady rhythm. The developing flow has the tension. A complex rhythm and the melody have individuality.

"Destiny" starts by the arpeggio of a beautiful guitar. The tension is continued attended with a complex rhythm and the melody. After the rhythm of 5 and 3 is emphasized from the part of an original melody, it shifts to the part of the rhythm of fast six. The composition is unique. And, an intermittent flow is accompanied from a steady dash feeling.

"Out Of Touch" rushes into the part of the dash feeling from Riff of a heavy solemnity. After the rhythm of 8 and 7 is emphasized, the rhythm of six is multiused. Steady rhythm and original melody. And, their good elements have gone out of Riff and Solo of a unique guitar indeed.

As for "The Philosopher", the rhythm of nine twines round the wriggling guitar. Complex composition drawn out from melody of heavy guitar. Solo of unique guitar. The line of Bass also contributes to the tune.

The creation of the original music that Death did in Metal Band that piles up various histories is establishment of the music character with a progressive part. And, it might have reached this album at last as one result.

Review by The Sleepwalker
4 stars 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.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Individual Thought Patterns' - Death (8/10)

Nestled safely in between two landmarks of death metal, 'Individual Thought Patterns' doesn't seem to get the same sort of attention that it's predecessor ('Human') or successor ('Symbolic') would earn over time. However, despite suffering a bad case of middle child syndrome, Death's fifth album can be labelled as one of the first truly progressive death metal albums ever. With a much stronger lineup of musicians and more consistent songwriting than 'Human', 'Individual Thought Patterns' signifies the beginning of the era in Death's career I believe to be their greatest.

Stylistically, 'Individual Thought Patterns' is in fact, quite similar to 'Human', although the improvements make all the difference here. First and foremost, Death mastermind Chuck Schuldiner saw fit to enlist an all-star cast of heavy metal musicians from around the United States. New to Death are two of the greatest heavy metal musicians around, Andy LaRocque (best known for his axework with King Diamond) and Gene Hoglan- also known as the 'human atomic clock'- who would go on to be the drummer for Devin Townsend's Strapping Young Lad. While Chuck Schuldiner always seemed to tower over the other musicians in previous works (especially the earlier material), he seems better matched with these musicians, whose technicality easily rival his own. Still, Chuck Schuldiner's dependence on the phrygian mode can wear a bit tiresome when employed for virtually every solo, but the guitar work here is more memorable than previously. On a related note, 'Trapped In A Corner' would feature Schuldiner's best guitar solo to date, effortlessly flowing through the music, while adding fresh new ideas to the song.

Lyrically, Schuldiner should be commended for putting a deeper meaning behind the music than the typical graphic violence and movie horror most death metal bands defaulted to (and still do) but structurally, his lyrics feel like they need some work on them. The rhymes are generally kept very simple and very little abstract imagery is used, instead simply choosing to describe things as they are. Minding this, this is likely an artistic choice of Schuldiner to do so, although the lyrics tend to leave little to the imagination.

The album is undoubtedly worth a listen from progressive metal and death metal fans alike. While I would be the first to admit I haven't 'been into' Death before listening to this album of theirs, 'Individual Thought Patterns' represents the first time I have been impressed by the band's work; even 'Human' did relatively little for me. While 'Individual Thought Patterns' doesn't feel as if it fully realizes Death's potential, it stands as being a great album from the metal icon.

Review by Warthur
4 stars 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.
Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars By the early 90s death metal was in full extreme metal swing and wreaking havoc on the metal underground. Pioneering artist Chuck Schuldiner had incrementally participated in launching the entire scene and was fairly keen to keep a few steps ahead of the imitators however with four albums under his belt, the fifth album INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS in many ways seems to be the only spot in the DEATH canon where Schuldiner felt it was OK to rest on his laurels and let the pot simmer for awhile although album #5 is a bit heavier and more immediate than its predecessor.

This was yet another occasion for a lineup change with guitarist Andy LaRoque replacing Paul Masdival for a one album appearance and drummer Sean Reinert jumping ship to work on the Cynic project. He was replaced by Gene Hoglan from Dark Angel. Steve Di Giorgio stuck around to play bass but switched over to the fretless variety which gave INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS a bit more of a "techy" feel than DEATH's previous releases. While still firmly perched in the extreme metal underground, the band released a video for "The Philospher" most famously appearing on Beavis & Butthead which found them ridiculed for the extreme nature of the vocal style which hadn't quite caught on with mainstream metal fans stuck in the 80s.

For those not paying too close attention, INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS very much comes across as a business as usual followup to "Human" and in many ways it is just that. Sure the fretless bass and slightly amped up aggression set it apart in subtle ways but for the most part the progressive and technical challenges that emerged on the "Human" album remained firmly parked at a certain juncture on the DEATH highway and wouldn't be fully realized until the following "Symbolic" and "The Sound of Perseverance" ended the exhilarating saga of the DEATH experience. Also while death metal had all but splintered off from its parent thrash roots, DEATH still managed to keep some of those thrashy elements alive and kicking thus making DEATH a unique act that continued to straddle both the thrash and death metal worlds while continuing to add more progressive boldness to its sound.

While perhaps a bit of a stop in the road, any given DEATH album juncture actually more than deserved an accompanying album or two and Schuldiner certainly could have milked it for more than he did but the fact that he was so restless and eager to progress to the next level is one of the primary reasons he is so revered by modern standards but of course having passed on at a young age in order to attain legendary status hasn't been a hinderance either. INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS continues right where "Human" left off with the immediacy of in-yer-face death metal tracks that were succinct with atavistic thrash metal attributes. In other words, brilliant guitar riffing that builds passages and then hairpin turns into seemingly unrelated segments that in lesser hands would derail into oblivion but at this point Schuldiner was a master of navigating crazy time signatures changes, bold compositional passages without missing a beat.

Perhaps the biggest drawback of INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT PATTERNS is that is sandwiched between two superior albums IMHO. The revolutionary advances of "Human" and the metal god perfection of "Symbolic" sort of make this one sound less dynamic than it really is. For me it takes some serious focus to ignore those other albums and simply concentrate on this one which when i do results in a most satisfying experience that while not living up to the standards of what came next or the wow factor of what came before, still resonates quite high in its own right. If you listen closely and attentively this one does present a slight advancement over "Human" although it's a bit imperceptible upon first contact. The tracks are very similar in structure and the diverse dynamics that would be adopted later hadn't quite manifested yet but for a solid kick ass early tech death metal album it doesn't really get much better than this except for DEATH's other albums. Seriously, no DEATH fan will find many faults with this although if you're like me you won't find it to be the absolute pinnacle of the band's prowess either.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Orlando's Death Metal progenitors' seventh studio release: they have plateaued at the top of their subgenre. Is this what Prog/rock sounds like in fast forward?

1. "Overactive Imagination" (3:30) sometimes obnoxious, though always impressive drumming. Other than the riffing, these are not very complicated song structures. (8.25/10)

2. "In Human Form" (3:55) the drumming and lack of space in the music (sonic clutter) bring this one down for me. (8.5/10)

3. "Jealousy" (3:39) some jazzier drumming and snaking guitar and bass play helps. I wish the instrumentalists would go off in their own independently creative directions more often. I like that I can distinguish between the two guitarists' styles easily during their solos. (8.75/10)

4. "Trapped in a Corner" (4:11) A little space goes a long way! As well as some twists and turns along the journey. A top three song. (8.75/10)

5. "Nothing Is Everything" (3:16) again, why does everybody have to travel so tightly? I find, in particular, the bass player's allegiance to the rhythms and paces set by the others annoying. Several themes here thrown together. (8.75/10)

6. "Mentally Blind" (4:45) the singing here is actually quite decipherable--and humane! Poor guy! My favorite song on the album. (9/10)

7. "Individual Thought Patterns" (4:00) after a THIN LIZZY twin guitar start, the band syncs up to chugg along beneath Chuck's carefully articulated screams. Some more nice TL shifts and turns along the way. Not bad despite the baseline galloping rhythm tracks. (8.75/10)

8. "Destiny" (4:04) What?! Softly arpeggiated guitars? Acoustic guitars?!?! Just a ruse. The onslaught soon descends. Nice separation between bass, drums, and twin guitars. Spacious beneath the chorus! Another top three song. (9/10)

9. "Out of Touch" (4:19) What?! Slow, plodding bombastic proggy rock?! Again, just a tease. The band devolves into head-banging before the end of the opening minute. A couple of speeds are explored, which is interesting, but one of the motifs is just so cliché metal, another classic heavy rock. But, still, keeps the listeners on their toes! Nice effort by the band to keep together through all of the changes.(9/10)

10. "The Philosopher" (4:10) another one with a surprising "classic rock/prog" opening. Even beneath Chuck's metronomic syllabically-punctuated growls the music retains something of the 1980s metal scene. Even an out-of-place "Classic rock" guitar solo in the middle of the second minute. (8.75/10)

Total Time 39:49

I wish I could find it in myself to enjoy and appreciate this music more. The guitar work is very impressive and mesmerizing; the rest is unmemorable, repetitive, and disposable. The genius is to be able to find inspiration to sing (or, in this case, growl, bellow, and scream) over this music! (Too bad I don't hear/comprehend lyrics.)

B/four stars; an excellent album for all you Metal fans; an artistic case point for study and reflection for the rest of us.

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4 stars When you look at the album and title names, you think of modern prog-metal bands. The music is equally intellectual but what a brutality! Bass drums and drumming speed have surpassed the first thrash-influenced albums and I'm thankful for that. There are some interesting irregular rhythms ("Men ... (read more)

Report this review (#2636079) | Posted by sgtpepper | Monday, November 22, 2021 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Listening diary 20th June, 2021: Death - Individual Thought Patterns (technical death metal, 1993) One of the biggest examples of a band, and perhaps even an entire genre, just not being to my taste would be the iconic eponymous death metal band. I saw this album described as being "at least 50 ... (read more)

Report this review (#2597401) | Posted by Gallifrey | Tuesday, September 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A death metal album I don't enjoy but definitely respect. I must say that these growls have always annoyed me a lot, so I almost never listen to this record. However, I have done some research and apparently the last four Death records are essential (AKA 5 stars) to the genre, so that explains why I ... (read more)

Report this review (#2587054) | Posted by Ian McGregor | Wednesday, August 18, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Understandably, this record doesn't get that much praise because it's sandwiched between the two most important Death Metal albums of all time. With that said, it's still an absolute masterpiece, it didn't really revolutionize death metal but it for sure provided an extension to the legendary Hu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2586890) | Posted by King Brimstone | Tuesday, August 17, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A more slightly underrated Death album, and I say slightly because it's definitely a very respected record. With that said, the last four Death records are in my opinion very well deserved five star albums. That is mostly due to their significance to the Death Metal genre and because they're ama ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581277) | Posted by Gorgut Muncher | Sunday, July 25, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Individual Thought Patterns solves the biggest problem of its predecesor: Album length. With Human being just 34 minutes long, Individual Thought Patterns has Death going one step higher in many ways: 1. More decent album length. 2. Increase of technicality, executed in a balanced way. 3. Pione ... (read more)

Report this review (#2494034) | Posted by Isaac Peretz | Friday, January 15, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#1011529) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Monday, August 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was the album that started Death's prog albums for me, such a sublime and aggressive collection of songs. Released in 1993 this was Death's fifth album and marked a more freeform/jazzy sounding drum tone, now mixed with really brutal guitar and bass sounds that can be quite a package, add in ... (read more)

Report this review (#283905) | Posted by FarBeyondProg | Friday, May 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While "Human" certainly was innovative and progressive, "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 captiva ... (read more)

Report this review (#273149) | Posted by Time Signature | Saturday, March 20, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Where one human begins... his individual thought patterns coalesce into a more complex fervor, questioning life around himself. He begins realizing his life prior was but a sham, and he must forge ahead, into unknown territory, at danger of death, even. This could be considered a transitiona ... (read more)

Report this review (#219033) | Posted by Alitare | Saturday, May 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars There are 3 death metal albums I rate by maximum points. Individual Thought Patterns will be always one of them. I saw Death live back in 1993 two or three months before this album was released. So still the latest Death album I heard back then was Human. I remember the concert was great but Hum ... (read more)

Report this review (#212199) | Posted by LSDisease | Thursday, April 23, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a slight step down from the brilliant 'Human' album, but still very well written and played. This is the last Death album that I enjoyed as it still retains a raw and oppressive atmosphere thanks to it's dirty sounding production. After this album Death's music became over-produced and to ... (read more)

Report this review (#202002) | Posted by AdamHearst | Saturday, February 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm surprised at the relatively low overall rating for this one as I think it's actually stronger than Human, but oh well, time to help that along a bit. Gotta give 4 stars here, but it's more 4.5. As is the custom with most DEATH albums, there is a new line-up of musicians present on almost every ... (read more)

Report this review (#148366) | Posted by Xanadu97 | Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars After Human, which was a seamless totality of brutality and progressive material, Death pushed out perhaps their most progressive album yet, and maybe ever. We still have fretless Steve DiGiorgio on the four-string, and the guy basically makes his own solos on the background, instead of just f ... (read more)

Report this review (#144281) | Posted by Cuomi | Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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