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Duality - 95%

terrr, January 31st, 2021

Death was in an impossible physical position with their fifth album "Individual Thought Patterns." The said album, being so damn inconsistent, is somehow both their best and worst record at the same time. Indeed, their point of greatest artistic genius, and their point of most puissant adversity and musical despair, both simultaneously. Ultimately, though, the good parts drown out the bad ones, and all you're left with is the most brilliant death metal made to this date, with some annoying three-minute interruptions in-between. Needless to say, Chuck Schuldiner did it again.

Initially, I made the unfortunate mistake of listening to random individual tracks rather than the entire album in full. And even more unfortunately, the songs I picked were the worse ones of this record. I just gave up after hearing how calamitously horrible the title track was. I said to myself, "damn, this is only worth keeping for The Philosopher." After some months of sitting in my shelf, it got a full listen for the first time in a night that I was binging classic death metal albums. And finally, it clicked. It was so good, that "Altars of Madness" that I rolled right after this one sounded like kiddie death metal. It paled in comparison, one of the classics!

While it could be said that Death already transcended death metal by 1991 with "Human," this record only further solidified their position as the ultimate death metal band. Maximus metallum if you will. You can tell Chuck was seeking to make his music as progressive as he could, perhaps trying to distance himself from the then-infamous death metal scene, to appear more intellectual. He did, albeit half of it was forcedly so, and the other half was his genuine work. The "forced" progressive segments would form songs like "Overactive Imagination," the title track, and "Jealousy," while the genuine parts would form those like "Destiny," "The Philosopher" and "Mentally Blind." The latter three tracks being Death's best songs to date if you ask me. There are even songs torn between the two, like "Trapped In A Corner." Not even the songs themselves, no, not even the individual segments of the songs are free from inconsistency in this record.

The instrumental work is nothing short of magnificent. The guitar riffing is incredibly creative, technical and blows you off with emotions, whether they're anger and resentment, or sadness and despair. While it's technical and impressive all the way through, the riffing fails to consistently sound meaningful and emotional in a similar fashion to that. Oh well. Schuldiner's vocal performance is also complementary to his brilliant guitar performance, although you can sense that his vocals are beginning to weaken and degrade. Still, it's as strong as ever. Moving on to the lead guitar sections, good god they're almost a dream come true. My two favourite soloists, Chuck and LaRocque together, what more could I want? I don't think I even need to describe how unbelievably astonishing the solos are. Other than the solos, the leads in some sections are also what makes some of these songs the best of Death.

Moving on to the less sparkly shiny instruments. The foundationals, bass and the drums. Steve DiGiorgio, that handsome little cookie. His bass playing here could be described as his physical appearance can be: Beautiful. While he just forms a good bridge between the guitars and the drums in the previous record, he also makes his creativity speak here with the astonishingly good fretless bass transitions. They're so damn good. I'd pay to see DiGiorgio just do those bass parts for a couple of hours. Gene Hoglan also manages to form a synergy between his drums and DiGiorgio's bass, though it's not as noticeably great as how well Reinert (RIP) worked with DiGiorgio in the previous album. Still, the drums aren't nil in this record, and that's extra points for me.

The tones of the instruments I just talked about are also inconsistent in how they fit the tracks. Sometimes they build a sound that enables incredible parts like the post-solo section of "Mentally Blind," and sometimes they just sound weird like in "Overactive Imagination." I've been unable to replicate the sound myself. All I can say is, it baffles me how the tone, of all things, can be inconsistent in an album. It almost makes me think Chuck was, in fact, trying to make everything unpredictable and discordant here. At least the production exerts itself. It's not perfect, but eh.

I'd have wished Chuck perfected the sound he built with this album. We got Symbolic instead. I'm not complaining, Symbolic is the best Death album, in my opinion. But something as good as how this gets, with the excesses cut off, would've not only been Death's best effort, but also some of the best albums of all time.

Here's the confused reader's guide to the album:
Songs to listen: Trapped In A Corner, Mentally Blind, Destiny, Out Of Touch, The Philosopher.
Songs to avoid: Overactive Imagination, Jealousy, Individual Thought Patterns.
Mixed bags: In Human Form, Nothing Is Everything.

Perfect Thought Patterns - 100%

Hames_Jetfield, January 30th, 2021

In truth - but completely compleeetely - my opinion on "Individual Thought Patterns" does not differ from other fans of this disc. There is quite a simple dependency related to this release, which most probably already know very well. Well, this is another Death album with no such thing as good or very good songs, they are only brilliant and perfect to every detail! In such a situation, the "new" review should be based on some well-known delights (in the "masterpiece of references" type) or even copying from the Internet. On the other hand, it would also be appropriate to write more than 5 sentences about the release, which is still (rightly) said a lot. Exactly, "Individual Thought Patterns" - like "Human" - is an extremely worth knowing release, especially since Chuck once again managed to make another, considerable progress.

Okay, now it should be outlined what music on "Individual..." actually is. Well, very technical, extensive, rich in various details (e.g. acoustics, keyboards, quite bold melodies - but by no means cheesy), still very death metal and even more thrilling from the point of view of the atmosphere (here again the keyboard inserts are showing everything). To put it simply, they managed to break through and - paradoxically - improve "Human". Despite the same rating, "Individual Thought Patterns" is like shifting the previous peak to another level. It also made its own strongly refreshed accompanying line-up, but it's actually like on every Death album.

The only one from the previous line-up, Steve DiGiorgio, this time reached for a fretless bass, added a lot of even more interesting decorations and also added a few excellent solos (especially in the ending of the "The Philosopher"). In my humble opinion, he recorded some of the best bass parts that appeared on Death albums! Gene Hoglan (previously known from Dark Angel) also joined the band, as time has shown, one of the best drummers to accompany Chuck. This drummer is definitely a different type of drumming compared to Reinert, but equally interesting and with more fast paces. Finally, a surprise! The second guitarist during the "Individual..." session was Andy LaRocque from King Diamond himself. He fulfilled the task - which is not so obvious - perfectly and at the same time showed that he was able to find himself in such a completely different style as well. Equally excellent is the sound of the whole, cleaner, more powerful, and at the same time "warmer" (especially from the rhythm section).

I don't want to elaborate on the individual songs. They are all equally brilliant, they maintain the style characteristic of Death and at the same time, each of them has original and extremely different ideas - that's why I send you to check the whole thing one by one. It's not without reason that "Individual Thought Patterns" is said to be the best of the best that Chuck Schuldiner recorded under the name of Death. The choice is obviously not easy (as I mentioned in previous Death reviews), but...not so detached from reality!

Originally on:

Relentless Riffing and Powerful Vocals - 75%

DanielG06, September 28th, 2020

This is Death’s 5th album, and it showed how drastic the band’s transition was from pure death metal to more progressive and power influences. This solos in this album are much less chromatic; but the songs still have the brutality of the first 3 albums, similar to human. Although I prefer human to this album, Individual thought patterns still holds up amazingly well today.

Songs like trapped in a corner have great riffs that have an almost perfect balance between sheer brutality and technicality. I think that’s what makes the last half of the death discography very special to me; there’s a perfect equilibrium between two very different styles of metal, something that was very rarely done before or after Death’s legacy, and was virtually seldom replicated the way Chuck did it in his writing. The guy had so many influences that formulated his genius songwriting.

The album starts off with Overactive Imagination, a short but relentless song. Jealousy is another interesting song, featuring more of Chuck’s philosophical lyrics and his addictive riffing. I’m not too keen on the song “out of touch”, because it’s really about Chuck turning his back on the death metal community, which is pretty sad considering he was a pioneer of death metal. The album is wrapped up with the philosopher, a mind-blowing song that really showed us a taste of things to come (symbolic, anyone? How about the sound of perseverance?). Anyway, this record is essential, and it’s my 2nd least favourite death album, so when I say that this record is essential, you know that death is a force to be reckoned with.

The production in this album is about on-par with human, although I feel like they could have mixed the vocals slightly better, everything else sounds pleasing to the ears, and songs like "Jealousy" signify the most that Chuck really wanted to change Death's direction, the more dynamic alterations to the production compared to the first 3 albums almost go hand-in-hand with the refined songwriting, which works well. This is the first Death album to feature Gene Hoglan on drums, and he kills it.

Overall, this album has bad luck, as it is sandwiched between two absolute masterpieces, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored, the songs on here have aged well, and they all have something gripping to offer,

Chuck Schuldiner’s diary - 53%

colin040, July 19th, 2020

By the time Individual Thought Patterns came out, Chuck Schuldiner had already distanced himself from the horror themed sounds that characterized his early records. By no means was this an issue; Human defined this new style for good and still retained a far sense of brutality. Somehow things changed for the worst here and while Schuldiner's new company of musicians could all play well, the result would be a serious mess of an album.

Whereas Human hinted an advanced version of Death that felt like the logical successor to pre-Focus Cynic (not surprising considering the involvements of Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert), Individual Thought Patterns sounds even more loose. On paper this should be rather ideal; these compositions are pretty short so there's no way things could go wrong, right? Unfortunately, Chuck Schuldiner had become his own enemy at this point. ‘’Mentally Blind’’ is an example of a ‘’riff salad’’ gone totally wrong; while starting off on the right foot it doesn’t take long before a series of disconnected randomly-written riffs pop up for no reason from time to time. The fastest blistering riffs still recall Human, sure, but why not listen to that album if you want to enjoy a collection of cohesive composition instead?

Tracks like ‘’Overactive Imagination’’ and ''Nothing is Everything'' sound like a fine continuation of the direction Death had taken circa Human, although they're not quite as vicious. Still, rather enjoyable for what they are, they're definitely the highlights on Individual Thought Patterns. Unfortunately, the rest of the material exchanges aggression for a more progressive approach with pretty bad results. ‘’In Human Form’’ already appears more melodic and progressive than anything Schuldiner had written before and while some riffs definitely sound challenging, the result is something so damn tame it’s not even funny. ‘’Destiny’’ opens through a calmly acoustic motif for a change, yet slowly turns into another mediocre effort; that chugging chorus riff certainly sounds rather uninspired while the riffs that resonate around it come and go with little direction in sight. Interestingly enough Individual Thought Patterns turns from bad to worse at the very end - ‘’The Philosopher’’ relies a lame chugged riff verse and with Schuldiner’s cohesive vocals upfront it’s pretty much karaoke material. There’s just no way around it; whereas the majority of Individual Thought Patterns comes off as a combination of too many random ideas getting thrown into a blender, this song sounds surprisingly dumbed down and while that should be more ideal on paper, the result is pretty much laughable either way.

If that wasn’t enough yet, there’s also something else to pay attention to: the lyrics. Chuck Schuldiner warns us about people with bad intentions (shock horror!), tells us how he has outsmarted others and criticizes philosophers (or makes fun about Paul Masvidal’s sexuality? We may never know for certain). While moving away from gore is obviously no issue, the lyrics here are so in-your-face that they read more like Schuldiner’s diary and it's just embarrassing.

Despite the occasional interesting riff, spirited drum performance and the impressive solos, Individual Thought Patterns just doesn’t work. It certainly has its moments, but as a whole it's seriously incohesive, bloated and confusing. I recommend this album to those who prefer the company of dogs over people, enjoy complaining about people who lack emotional intelligence and have a tendency to whine about bothering superficial conversations. As for the rest of you folks who are just as ordinary as I am…go spend your time elsewhere and avoid this crap.

This review was originally written for

Technical mastery - 85%

journey through death, October 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1993, CD, Roadrunner Records

I got into death metal in the mid 90's but I overlooked the band Death because they were not deep and down tuned enough to my liking like Obituary or thrashy enough like Sepultura or Morbid Angel. I was first exposed to them when I heard the song Symbolic on Death is Just the Beginning compilation. It did not grab me for the above reasons.

Fast forward to mid 2000's and my taste in metal changed to seeking something more progressive. I came across the song Jealousy and was immediately amazed by the technicality and ferocity of the opening riff. Even today I am in awe at how Chuck plays this riff at such speed and precision. Together with his unique raspy screams, this is a song that demands respect and attention. I then explored songs from their other albums and was blown away by the quality of the music. I was deciding which album to purchase so I chose Individual Thought Patterns because it is a few albums deep into their career and therefore I expected the band to have 'ironed out some creases' by then and able to produce something not too raw and experimental sounding.

I like the album in its entirety because the production is clear but not polished so it does showcase a sense of rawness. I particularly like how we can hear Steve's bass through many of the tracks and he clearly demonstrates a funky/jazzy style of metal bass. The drumming is very tight on this album but it does not dominate or overpower the other instruments, instead the sound is of equal weight and volume.

The highlights for me are Chucks ability to create meaningful solos which appear in each song at the right moment and all have emotion, particularly the solo on Overactive Imagination and Mentally Blind. His ability to create and deliver a huge variety of riffs that are played with speed and precision continue to amaze me. Chuck's song writing is particularly interesting as its intelligent and thoughtful which is really original. I do like his vocals on this album also as it suits the style and pace of the music and if you listen intently enough you can understand what he is saying.

I am still discovering new sounds even after listening to the album hundreds of times, and I often return to this album from time to time and still receive the same joy and amazement listening to it, even though I know what to expect with each song.

The album features class acts, all showcasing their talents and skills, and I have a huge respect for all of them, particularly Chuck. His style and musicianship has really shaped my taste in metal greatly and this album pretty much started the shift to metal that is interesting, talented, yet heavy and crushing.

An excellent album that I recommend to anyone who appreciates metal.

The Definition of Death - 100%

ReverseTracheotomy, December 6th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2011, 2CD, Relapse Records (Deluxe edition, Remastered, Slipcase)

Individual Thought Patterns was Death's first true foray into the realm of technical death metal. The Human record moved in this direction but the change was fully realized with the release of 1993's classic album. There are no bad tracks on this album, none deserving of skipping or fast-forwarding. This album is fast-paced, intense, and often extremely musically complicated. All the guitar riffs are executed with such a high degree of precision that is astonishing. This album also featured Steve DiGeorgio on bass, leading to some tasty bass lines and a few sick solos. Andy LaRocque of King Diamond contributed his guitar finesse as well with several of what could be considered Death's finest solos. This killer roster of musicians is made even more impressive by the presence of the drumming monster, Gene Hoglan. There are frequent displays of sickeningly fast blast beats and insanely technical drumming. But of course Individual Thought Patterns would not be what it is without the mastermind himself, Chuck Schuldiner.

This album is a well recorded, no holds barred, balls out death metal onslaught. It features of few of their most iconic tracks like The Philosopher, Trapped in a Corner, and Overactive Imagination. This really is a truly classic album and most certainly worth a listen. This record and Human in my mind stand as what is the iconic Death sound. The previous 4 albums can be seen building to this point, and its clear how this was the stepping stone for the last 2 releases they would bring.

To me, Individual Thought Patterns was the height of Death's mastery. All of their albums are classic and influential, but for me 1993's Individual Thought Patterns serves as a landmark for death metal. It has elements that that can be heard in many genres of death metal that have developed since then. Traces of melodic, progressive, technical, and even symphonic metal can be heard throughout this collection of unbelievable tracks. Chuck Schuldiner raised the bar for death metal with writing this album. The arrangements of the songs flow seamlessly together, taking the listener on an emotional and intellectual journey. The furious, blazing riffs and powerful solos deliver enough shredding to make any metal fan bang their head. Supported by the rest of this killer lineup Chuck crafted this release into one of the most powerful and iconic death metal albums of all time.


BastardHead, May 24th, 2013

(Subtitle: "Crushed under its own weight")

What time is it?! Time for another installment of Jerking the Circle! Yes kids, the series wherein I take a look at albums that get tons and tons of praise from certain groups within the metal community (or just the community at large). Today we look at a band that released some stunningly great albums, and instead focus on what is by far their worst one. Goddammit Chuck, remove your head from your anus, por favor.

Death had a moderately lengthy and quite illustrious career, spanning seven albums of wildly varying sounds and an even more unpredictable lineup. And this, Individual Thought Patterns marks both their lowest point as a band, and also (bafflingly) their most star studded lineup. Death has always basically been Chuck Schuldiner's Revolving Band Selected Via Musical Chairs Matches, and in 1993 he managed to strike potential gold by retaining the fretless hobo of Sadus fame, Steve DiGiorgio, and bailing on the technically proficient but writing impaired hacks from Cynic and replaced them with goddamn Andy LaRocque (known for King Diamond), and motherfucking Gene Hoglan (known for every fucking band ever). Seriously, you ever play that game where you daydream up the ultimate band? Chuck Schuldiner fucking did that, and whatever personality issues the man had that caused members to leave constantly/him to constantly kick them out, I really wished he would have found a way to rein it in around this era, because there is so much star power potential in here I could go blind by looking at it.

And then I actually heard the album.

Yeah, I guess stars are prone to supernovas, because this is an unmitigated disaster. Don't get me wrong, despite my general distaste for prog, I don't dislike the fact that Chuck decided to take the band in a more progressive direction (they were pretty much devoid of death metal from this point onwards). Hell Symbolic is probably my favorite album by the band, just a smidgeon above Leprosy. But this here is a goddamn trainwreck. This is what happens when somebody who's good at being hard and fast and heavy decides that that path is too stupid and instead tries to be more intellectual about everything. And hey, to his credit, he did eventually figure it out, because Symbolic is great, but Chuck didn't have a goddamn idea what he was doing when writing this album. Listening to this in one sitting, I'd be hard pressed to tell you where each song ends and a new one begins, much less which song is even actually playing, even after a decade of being a Death fan.

There are moments of brilliance scattered throughout, as "Destiny" has a fantastic riff hidden somewhere in the middle, as does "Nothing is Everything" and "Overactive Imagination", but that's really all I can do for critique; pick out random bits from random songs and tell you whether it's good or bad. It's woefully unprofessional, and I get that, but it really feels like the album was written and recorded in that same haphazard direction. Lots of shit happens, but I don't think anybody other than Chuck himself actually knew why. This is probably the most literal collection of riffs and ideas I've ever heard. Very few sections repeat later in a song, it's basically just a 40 minute gag reel of jazzy proto-tech-prog ideas that the band was noodling around with but couldn't really decide on how to arrange. So they just decided to play them all in one long 40 minute take, arbitrarily consider it a new track every four minutes or so, and call it a day. It's a shame because the talent is obviously there, but at this point Chuck was no longer in a transition phase, and therefore had neither that excuse nor the leftover bits of pummeling death metal morbidity that he had on Human. Individual Thought Patterns is instead it's own entity with no crutch to lean on, which is unfortunate because it's rather malformed and disabled.

There was also a quite bizarre malady that plagued the band during this middle era as well, and that was that the more technical, proggy, and wanky the music got, the shorter the average song was. The average song lengths on both Human and Individual Thought Patterns are shorter than their more simplistic predecessors in Leprosy and Spiritual Healing. This kind of writing (when not done in such a slapdash and poorly arranged manner) definitely lends itself to a more spaced out format. I normally prefer shorter songs, mind you (one of the reasons Gama Bomb will always be better than Cyclone Temple), but nothing here has room to breathe or develop. Instead we're presented with ten claustrophobic and rushed exercises in vaguely deathy progjazz. Again, the entire album is presented as a collection of unrelated things, and that's basically the end of it right there where it starts.

The production job is also a nagging whack in the shins, as like with the previous album, it's rather thin and lacks the punch of their earlier recordings. We've all heard Leprosy, we understand how good they can sound. The guitar tone on that album was as thick as a baby's arm, and yet here it's this wispy gossamer. I realize they were going for more precision and less chunk, but the music is noticeably less powerful this time around and it suffers for it. The widdly wanky parts are well suited to this kind of sound, I'll admit, but there are occasions when real riffs and double bass and whatnot actually do happen, and they end up laughably weak in the grand scheme of things. "Weak" is an adjective that applies only to this album throughout all of Death's discography, and that's a giant mark against it.

Overall this is too jazzy and not thought out enough for it's own good. There are far too many segments where the instruments all just kind of break down into their own thing and all wander away from each other. The percussion is definitely prone to this, with Hoglan being wildly misused and left to just mostly fuck around with bizarre cymbal patterns. When Chuck reined it in on the following two albums and focused more on cohesive songwriting and logical progression, they knocked it out of the park. But here? Not at all, not yet. The kinda awkward but still good transition phase in Human had long passed, and they were fully into the prog territory at this point, but frankly, the songwriter here still wasn't entirely sure of himself, and as a result Individual Thought Patterns is a complete mess, and probably the only skippable album in Death's entire career.

Originally written for Lair of the Bastard

How To Death Metal 101:Individual Thought Patterns - 93%

psychosisholocausto, February 13th, 2013

Death's story is some of the most interesting reading/listening that one can persevere in. Throughout a 15 year career they created and repeatedly revolutionized a genre with each installment getting more and more progressive and insightful, culminating in the masterpiece that Symbolic was and eventually ending with the tragic demise of Chuck Schuldiner-the heart and soul of Death. Whilst active Death unleashed seven albums of death metal goodness that is near unrivalled. Scream Bloody Gore created the genre, and Leprosy refined it before Spiritual Healing marked the first deviation from the path of death metal in its purest form with some more progressive song structures and lyrics that moved into more tabboo subjects such as abortion as opposed to sacrificial rituals and human illnesses. From 1991's Human onwards their catalogue is nearly flawless with that particular album being a thirty minute long maelstrom of riffs and each album adding more and more to this template. Whilst each of these is close to perfection it is debated which one is the weakest of the lot with Individual Thought Patterns being the album most often named from Death's final four. Whilst this may well be true, this should not be taken as any manner of insult as what this album is is something quite special.

Individual Thought Patterns is the fifth album in Death's discography, released two years after Human and containing ten songs with an average length of about four minutes per song, clocking in at forty eight minutes. To think that one year prior to this the Fate greatest hits collection had been released and then this was released, destroying eighty percent of that compilation effortlessly. Chuck Schuldiner was right to disapprove of the song selection on there, as Sony were proven wrong in placing songs such as the title track to Spiritual Healing on there, no matter how good that song was, when this was right around the corner. This was the album that featured Destiny with its fantastic incessant riff-work and that killer slow section following the solo and accompanying fast riff. This was also the album to feature hit song The Philosopher, one of the band's best known due to Beavis and Butthead mocking Chucks vocals and the accompanying video for this song. No matter what way you look at it, back to front Individual Thought Patterns was destined to be a classic.

This is Death's most progressive album to date and yet still managed to keep the song time down. Throughout each one of these songs there are enough lightning fast changes in speed to make this an epileptic's worse nightmare. Imagine taking the heaviness and balls out speed of Scream Bloody Gore and interweaving the genius twists of an album such as 2112 by Rush and what you have is Individual Thought Patterns. Neither of those albums realistically have too much in common with this release but to combine the stylistic approaches is to find the formula that makes this album work so well. Out Of Touch is a great example of how progressively-oriented this album is and yet is also a good means to point out how Chuck never forgot rule number 1 of death metal-make it heavy as hell. The song opens up with a nice little drum roll from none other than new band member Gene Hoglan of Dark Angel fame, and moves through a slow, jazz-influenced section before at forty seconds it leaps into balls-to-the-wall speed mode. Then, just after the minute mark, the song slows right back down and we have some heavy palm muted riffing from Chuck with Steve DiGiorgio's bass thumping away in the background. At 1:57 a thrashy riff comes in whilst Chuck throws his soul into his vocals and then in comes a highly technical solo that is cleverly worked around the dynamic musicianship that never seems to stop changing. At 3:10 one might think the song was about to end with some clever lead noodling before suddenly we are kicked in the face again by a fast as hell tremolo riff and the song then continues to dance around with speeds until the thrilling end where we are given one chord to end it all. On this song Death managed to work in more musical ideas and changes in direction in the space of four and a half minutes than many bands can accomplish in entire albums, such is testament as to how talented Chuck really was-the man was a visionary, nothing more and nothing less.

The drumming on this album is nothing short of incredible. There are near-constant debates as to whether Sean Reinert's machine gun sounding drums on Human, as evidenced by the introduction to Flattening Of Emotions, are better or whether Gene Hoglan's relentless work is better and the truth is neither of them are better than the other. Both put in thrilling performances with highly technical drum beats and fills thrown in left right and centre, with Sean's performance on Human being a little more contained than Gene's flashy drumming on this album. Mentally Blind shows off his ability to let loose with double bass drumming better than almost any drummer out there but he is not afraid to mix his performance up a bit as is found in The Philosipher. All the way through this album there are constant speed changes that never fail to drop the listener's jaw right to the ground. Gene Hoglan gets the job done on this album with emphatic style. Holding up the other end of the rhythm section is Steve Digiorgio with his fretless bass guitar whose instrument does not, for once, go unheard as the production job is handled masterfully by Scott Burns. He also puts on a great show, with his bass lines usually following the guitars for the most part but this is as expected with metal and it is just nice to be able to hear the work of a bassist for once.

The guitar work has always been the centrepiece of any Death release and on Individual Thought Patterns this is shown off constantly. From the tapping intro to The Philosopher to the crushing riffs of the album's shortest song, Nothing Is Everything, back to The Philosopher's stop-start riff, this is as varied an album as a pair of guitarists could hope to concieve. Andy LaRocque and Chuck Schuldiner handle the guitars on this album and both are as talented as each other with each guitarist having numerous solos and fills on the album from Andy's incredible work on In Human Form to Chuck's aforementioned shining moment during the intro to The Philosopher. The riffs have a huge amount of contrast to them as the songs consistently jump from fast tremolo picking to more deliberate, slower paced riffs and each one never fails to shred your face off. This is one album where the guitar work is completely flawless from the opening moment right through to a thrilling conclusion. Chuck also handles the vocals on here, as with every Death album, and his performance is something to be proud of. His voice was fast ascending in pitch by this point, which would later culminate in the manic shrieking found on The Sound Of Perseverance, but this is the last traces of the low tones that populated earlier Death albums. His lyricism on this album is something really rather special. Chuck had just as much talent with a pen as he did with a guitar, continuing the journey through his mind and his thoughts on various topics that began on Spiritual Healing. Chuck was a philosopher, through and through, as is evidenced by the lyrics to songs such as Mentally Blind and Trapped In A Corner. The lyrics are just the icing on an already perfect cake.

This album is as close to perfection as can be found and paved the way for something even greater that came about with the very next album, Symbolic. The only minute criticism that can realistically be found with this album is that it does not have enough truly catchy moments to it, instead shifting up so many styles in the blink of an eye that there is little to truly latch onto. It will take many a number of listens for moments to stick in your head from this album as opposed to Human which instantly hooked you in. In many ways this built upon Human but that album was just such a whirlwind and still pulled you in within mere minutes that Human slightly tops this. However, Individual Thought Patterns is brilliance incarnate that no death metal fan should go witho

A vertical drop - 20%

RageW, July 20th, 2012

Recorded at some point during 1992, Individual Thought Patterns marked yet another shift in Death's already withered musical direction. This time around, Evil Chuck decided to hire the best musicians he could find, have them play around with free jazz, and then just stop bothering with writing those pesky riff things. To compensate for this horrible fault, he decided to play what was left of them with an annoyingly thin guitar tone, and then just ask Steve DiGiorgio to follow around whatever he played on the bass. Then have Gene Hoglan patch up the resulting awkward mess as best as he could, and Andy LaRocque sometimes comes in for a nice solo. As you can see, these are not small-time names. All of these musicians were very good at their respective instruments, and for the most part played in very good bands, which had, at this point, already released a bunch of very good albums. Nevertheless, as is the case with Death, one only has to look at the "Composed by..." lines on the booklet to understand why none of this matters in the end. Because, after releasing Human, Chuck was suffering from such a severe case of Buttcephaly (cephalic comes from head, butt comes from butt, as in, having one's head so far up one's own butt that one starts suffering from oxygen deprivation) that little could be done to put reason into the man. This is what followed.

The main problem with this album (that is, one of many problems), lies in the songwriting. I'm not even sure if Schuldiner just didn't write all the music as a way to vent his lyrics about how everyone's dumb, but he certainly didn't write riffs to match them. Everything is overly technical for no apparent reason besides, well, being technical. The consequence is that the songs don't feel like songs, but as random bursts of riffs and leads that start playing for no reason and stop for even less of a reason. A complex piece will start playing for a couple of seconds, and then be completely forgotten in time. This leaves the songs, which are already fortunately quite short in length, with very little room for build-up. This wouldn't be so much of a problem, and would even feel exciting in an anxious sort of way if the riffs were any good - they aren't. In fact, most of the time, the backing riffs behind the solos are better than the solos which compose the building blocks of the songs, which leaves you with strong lead sections that just fail to go anywhere inside of the actual song. I know Andy's talented - I compulsively sing songs off Abigail out loud all the time, especially in the shower and during lectures - so I don't need him to remind me that he can shred every ten seconds if it's not going to have any meaning within the context of the composition. The entire album is like that.

To keep on with the subject of the performances, there's the rhythm section by Hoglan and DiGiorgio. Gene Hoglan is, once again, a superb drummer; but whereas his performance with say, Dark Angel was relentless and vicious, here he opted to go for a jazzier style, which feels over-done and anti-climatic. He's definitely better at complementing the songs than Sean Reinert, and it works for the jazzy feeling that the compositions try to achieve, but it doesn't evoke any kind of emotional response at all. It's just him haphazardly changing beats on that horribly sounding kit with that tiny little snare sound which seriously sounds like it's made of plastic instead of... whatever it is snares are usually made from (not plastic!). DiGiorgio's basslines usually follow the guitars around, which is a shame, as he could have easily played anything aside from that and keep them more active. He will play something different at times when both guitars are harmonizing, or do little melodies on its own as is the case of the background during the title track, but without any solid guitar work for them to cling to, they're lost as nothing more than a way to say "Bass over here! Getcha bass right here!". The bass tone also lacks a bit of depth, but that's completely irrelevant at this point.

And then, we have the free jazz-influenced sections. I could describe them as terrible, but that would be to imply that I consider them as sections in the first place. They come and go - there will be a riff playing while Chuck tells us about how he doesn't understand human emotions, and then everything will cut off to couple of sections where the guitars harmonize between each other and the bass does a spaced out lick in the background as the drums accentuate with jazzy cymbal accents, and then everything awkwardly comes to a halt, and back we go to stories about how much Evil Chuck hates gore in his lyrics. I don't think they count as solo or lead sections. They're not riff sections either. They're not really sections at all, if we're feeling truthful. They're what happens when you master an album wrong and end up pasting pieces of different, completely unrelated jazz fusion albums of the period at inconsistent intervals. It doesn't sound good. Then again that wouldn't surprise me, given how plastic the production sounds. Plastic, like Gene Hoglan's snare sound, but it's a sound that plagues the entire album - it gives it a very synthetic feel, which I guess ends up working well with the synthetic delivery.

Finally, as the final nail in the coffin, Schuldiner's vocals. He goes for a more throaty approach than what he did on Human, but the execution is just a stale as it was there. He pronounces everything in the same tone, with the same modulation, at exactly the same volume. All in all it makes for a very boring delivery, as it is the equivalent of a clean vocalist singing everything in the same note, as he follows the same rhythm the riffs are playing. Because otherwise they would be harder to play live! His vocals definitely aren't as bad here as they would be on the next two albums, but that doesn't really make me think better of them in any case. If lyrics about goat fucking and Satan's penis will make for a more exciting vocal performance, I'll take those any day over Evil Chuck monotonously ranting about how everyone thinks they're smart but they're not, and also a plethora of other things that I don't really care about. Ghouls attacking a church to crush the holy priest seems like an infinitely more fun activity to do, anyway.

There you have it: If Spiritual Healing was a mere bump on the road and Human a figurative fall forward, Individual Thought Patterns is the beginning of the vertical cascade-like drop that followed. They hadn't quite reached terminal downwards velocity yet, but the moment would come soon enough.

Death - Individual Thought Patterns - 85%

ThrashManiacAYD, March 10th, 2012

You do not need to be a frequent visitor to this site to realise I do love myself a bit of Death, the legendary metal band for whom seven albums was simply not enough before the tragic passing of mastermind Chuck Schuldiner in 2001. Such a legacy does not fade fast though and here we are with reissue three of the back-catalogue after reviews last year of "The Sound of Perseverance" and "Human". Now reviewing 1993's "Individual Thought Patterns" much of the past two reviews can be transposed here - lots about how Schuldiner & co (and it was really was a mighty 'co' on ITP with a dream line-up of Andy LaRocque, Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan in tow) were so far ahead of the time, that the individual performances in bringing to life these rhythmically complex songs are to this day second to none and that if passion was your aim in extreme metal this band is bullseye.

Opener "Overactive Imagination" continues along the same mindframe that persisted through Death's 15-year career: why settle for second best? Though never aiming to break speed records, it begins in a fast, staccato manner in the verse before increasing into 5th gear for the chorus, with Hoglan's drumming in particular being the veritable punch in face we all like our death metal drumming to be, but here with the added bonus of not sounding like an overly-triggered machine. Oh the pleasure. "In Human Form" and "Jealousy" are a bit more considered in their approach, built upon Schuldiner's inimitable guitar abilities and tone. Throughout he mixes the kind of complex lead riffs and metronomically tight rhythms abridged perfectly by subtle changes in pace and direction that have inspired the likes of Obscura and a thousand others since to realise there is more to metal than simply being the 'heaviest' or fastest out there in return for a lack of control.

"Trapped in a Corner" is a stand-out, introduced by the kind of riff that typified Death even back to "Zombie Ritual" on their "Scream Bloody Gore" debut LP and the following 4 minutes of avoid the genre cliches and concoct a palette of variation beyond all but a few. In the album's latter half the ante is upped with the title track and closing classic "The Philosopher", whose flowing bass lines and near-psychedelic solos are as deep and meaningful as the intelligent and socially-aware lyrics throughout.

Being a reissue a bonus disc is of course on offer and this time it is a performance from Germany in 1993, with a setlist pulling tracks from every album released to date. Being that Schuldiner passed away before I saw Death live I can only relate to these from a historic perspective but the feeling is this was Death at their peak and is a recording to be cherished for those lucky enough to have been there.

Favourite Death albums vary from fan to fan - for this writer "Individual Thought Patterns" has only ever been a third or fourth favourite but let this be recognised as a nod to the quality of the back-catalogue. There is no doubt the average quality of death metal releases has plummeted in recent years as young bands rely far too much on studio technology than real writing chops. If ever there is was a band every death metal act should know inside out it is the peerless Death and this is a reissue shows why.

Originally written for

Flesh and eyes mean nothing - 77%

autothrall, April 22nd, 2011

As much as I wish I might have sawed off and cauterized Chuck Schuldiner's legs around 1989, then kept him locked in a basement prison on a diet of human entrails and cheap horror films, there was simply not going to be any looking back for the Florida musician as he set his ambitions and aspirations anew for each full-length effort. That aside, the man definitely worked upon plateaus of creativity, rather than steep peaks and gorges, and the majority of his output consisted of two primary 'trilogies' or phases (excepting The Sound of Perseverance, which I'll likely complain about at great length elsewhere). Individual Thought Patterns represents the 'bridge' edition of the second trilogy, refining the concepts behind Human by extrapolating better songs from their nebulous midst.

Sure, many lavish such praise upon that fourth disc that one might think it was an evolutionary stopgap in human existence, but it takes only a single track from its successor to stifle such a misrepresentation, the all too aptly titled "Overactive Imagination". Here we experience all of the processed sterility of the 'New Death' of the 90s, sculpted into a more durable, memorable pattern of notes alternated between the jerkiness of the verse and the scalding momentum of its transitions. Schuldiner had once again acquired new musicians to help mold his visions: Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal of Cynic replaced with King Diamond stalwart Andy La Rocque and thrashing thunder god Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, World Wars I and II, the battle of Ragnarok, etc). Both get to work quite early here, with Hoglan's strength granting the recording a more formidable backbone than Death had ever possessed in the past, and LaRocque's considerable lead skill grafting a warmth and immortality to the solos here that simply crush those of Human.

Retained here: Steve DiGiorgio, who it turns out is the perfect counterweight to the new duo and Chuck's meticulous dynamic sensibility, fingers strutting along the fat strings as if their own existence were dependent on it. From "Overactive Imagination" we shift unto the more glorious "In Human Form" with its arching, credible verse patterns that cede to the most 'death metal' riff on the album at :40, adjoined to a beautiful, eerie solo. So far, Individual Thought Patterns has proven just as enduring as the 1990 effort Spiritual Healing, but will the good fortune hold? Yes and no. For the most part, the material here is heavily front-loaded, and I've long held the first four tracks to be the best of the litter, including the acrobatic variation of "Jealousy" with its thick streams of bass and the majestic climes of the bridge; and the provocative "Trapped in a Corner" for the progressive, spacey fusion burrowed in its depths, very much a reflection of what the band had sought out to achieve with Human.

For the rest, I feel it's quite possible to pick out a few strengths and leave the remainder on the cutting room floor. "The Philosopher" is perhaps the best known of its tracks, having boasted a grim video and a rollicking, rolling mosh ethic in its verse that had limbs flying about on the band's touring, but I've never considered it incredibly memorable. I enjoy the business and the atmospheric elements of "Mentally Blind", but despite its diversity, it reeks of 'kindly get to the damned point'. "Destiny" offers us a tranquil 30 seconds of calm before it folds into the clutter of aggression, but nothing else of interest really happens until the lead and choppy bridge melodies. I quite enjoy the charging emotions behind the title track. The taut velocity often thrust into "Out of Touch". The schizoid glaze of the guitars in "Nothing is Everything". None of these are top billing, but they're easily the measure of my favorite Human tracks like "Suicide Machine".

Not sure if it's the change in musicians, or simply that Schuldiner was better able to flesh out his ideas for this record, but it's a noted improvement from its stagnant 1991 sibling. A revelation that not all will be lost in this creative transition from the pungent pits of gore to the social consciousness conveyed through the lyrics. This has essentially the same Scott Burns mix as the last album, if marginally more potent (though I would also attribute this to the superior structure of the songs). The songs are not all equally memorable, but the majority have at least something of value within their clinical carapaces. Individual Thought Patterns marks a steady escalation in quality that would persist through the following album, Symbolic, and though I'd never choose this over my beloved Leprosy or Scream Bloody Gore, it'll do in a pinch.


Death - Individual Thought Patterns - 95%

Orbitball, January 17th, 2010

Death was founded by "Evil Chuck" Shuldiner (RIP) back in 1983. The musicianship was consistently evolving from solely death metal releases that turned into a more progressive songwriting approach. "Evil Chuck" chose one of Death's best lineups for this album. His previous songwriting reflected a more brutally oriented form of death metal. This became aloof because on here the songwriting reigned totally from a musical aspect. The lineup featured Chuck Schuldiner on vocals/guitars, Andy LaRoche on guitars, Steve Digiorgio on bass and Gene Hoglan on drums.

It seemed as though this release fell more under the melodic death metal genre. Even though Chuck's vocals were still hoarse, they were still incredibly easy to understand. With this in effect, the throat quality meshed well with the heavy D-tuned guitar riffs. The music was amazingly well concocted. Each track showed such an intelligent portrayal of guitar, leads and drumming. Rhythms were much more musical which really stuck with the listener.

This album contained a much more mature songwriting style than the 3 previous releases. Each guitar riff was entirely unique and innovative. Chuck came up with a whole litany of imaginative songs that were totally captivating. The heavy tremolo picked guitar worked well together alongside the throat outputs. Pretty much all of the songs contain a heavy and distorted guitar though there was an introduction acoustic piece. It was merely more of a segue into a heavier song entitled "Destiny."

It seemed that Chuck was focused on sounding more musical because the majority of guitar parts here show a broader more introspective litany of songwriting. It featured Death's more creative side. The tempos for each song were not explosively fast because the melodic guitar dominated throughout this entire release. Another interesting aspect here is that the bass guitar was wholly audible. This was something that was lacking in prior Death releases. A pretty unique aspect to make note of was that Digiorgio played a fretless bass guitar.

All of the tracks are noteworthy. Some more so than others. I'd have to say that "Trapped In A Corner", "Nothing Is Everything" and "Destiny" were the most appealing songs out of this entire album. The reason was because they seemed to be more technical than the others. It's easy though to grow a liking to this whole album since it was part of Death's most unique outputs. Way more so than their first 3 releases. Many listeners may've held a similar conclusion.

Andy LaRoche's leads were more advanced than Chuck's. His playing was more technical in this department. The sound quality could've been better though Scott Burns did a good job with the mixing. The bass guitar was loud enough so that you could here it alongside the guitars. Just the audio for the guitars could've been louder. They didn't drown the rest of the instruments out. The drums by Hoglan were right on cue with the riffs. Plus they were easier to hear than on previous releases.

Lyrically speaking, Chuck's focus was more on a spiritual aspect for Death. They were entirely original and well thought out. The track "Destiny" gives the listener an idea as to what direction this album portrayed as far as the words go. Death's first 3 releases especially their first focused more on gore. This was a more immature aspect of Death's lyric writing. But this release reflected an incredibly more intelligent approach. No covers here. All of the tracks are originals.

This album was anger fortified though the songs showed a brilliant skill of song/lyric writing by "Evil Chuck." The rhythms reflected an intriguing approach which wasn't as prevalent on the 3 previous releases. The sound quality could've been better but all 40 plus minutes of this album was wholly intriguing, original and imaginative. It remains to be one of my personal favorite releases from Death. Such an inspiration that carried with it a legacy regarding the influence Death's impression had on the metal community.

"Death - Individual Thought Patterns (1993)" - 100%

Dolf9271986, May 5th, 2008

Death returns in 1993 with "Individual Thought Patterns". Now, a couple things to start off with. This time around, Death has changed directions again from "Human". It is now not as heavy, and has gone back to the original sound. The main difference in the technicality though. Although "Human" was technical and heavy, I take this new album as just technical and great. Not as heavy, but it makes up for it with variation and technicality.

The guitar work is great. It's even got a melodic sense on top of being on an odd time signature. Great, great combination. Death is a band that I believe that I believe they could make any album they wanted, and make it sound good. Through lots of sound changes, they still manage to pull off remarkable albums. Each new album comes in with something new, or even something old and make a piece of art out of it. It's truly amazing, this band. They do not get enough credit. Not at all. Back to the guitars. The solos on the album are top-notch. There are two things that make a solo for me. The solo, obviously, and the guitar work behind it, the rhythm, I mean. These two coupled together can make the greatest sound ever. Death has made this possible on this record. Listen to the solo at about the second minute of "Trapped In A Corner" and you'll see what I mean. Great leads, awesome solos, a variety, odd timing, like I have said before. Just great.

The bass is one of the new/old things I mean. It has come back, as to say, and is now loud again, but not too loud as to drown out the guitar, and it works really well. Really good, technical, clean and great audibility. This is a band that truly knows how to make a superb record. They are a band that can make anything sound just... Remarkable. I don't understand.

The drums are ridiculous. They are just... Such a step up. Proficient. The vocals are again, superb. I can't even say much else because... I just am lost for words. Awesome album, no question. It's quite weird for me, I have never experienced a band that gets better with every album. This is a great band. Truly one of the best.

Holy Chuck! - 97%

Mithr4ndir, April 25th, 2008

This is Death's best album. This is the album where Death takes their 'progressiveness' and melds it perfectly with their death metal roots. Individual Thought Patterns also has, in my opinion, the greatest Death line-up. Hoglan and DiGiorgio? Yes please. Chuck's vocals are excellent on this album. They are his greatest, angriest growls.

This music is intricate and pleasing, and the lyrics are deep and philosophical (even though Chuck appears to have a great disdain towards them. "You know so much about nothing at all"). Most of the songs are fairly short, nothing over four and a half minutes. That is the reason this release doesn't get a 100. Chuck is perfectly capable or writing longer opuses as he proves on The Sound of Perseverance. As mentioned previously, these lyrics are deep and amazing. They aren't your typical death metal lyrics (Zombie Ritual anyone?) Gone are the days of images of gore and zombies.

The technicality of this release is quite astounding for a death metal release, chalked full of eccentric time signatures, and high levels of instrument proficiency. DiGiorgio's bass is highly audible which is always a plus and Hoglan's drums are thunderous and amazing. Also present in Individual Thought Patterns is the use of harmonized guitars, something that Chuck thankfully brought from Human. Those harmonies are brutal, yet highly technical and just downright catchy. There isn't a boring/unmemorable riff anywhere in this album.

The highlights of this album are 'The Philosopher' and 'Trapped in a Corner.' Both are as 'epic' as a death metal song can be, and are Death's best songs since Lack of Comprehension or Pull the Plug.

In short, if you're a fan of complex, intricate progressive death metal with intelligible, deep lyrics, then pick up this album. If you're a huge fan of simple "chugga-chugga" death metal with over-the-top lyrics about gore and stupidity, then stay away. This music will overheat your brain and infuriate you, causing you to go on a rampage and destroy Tokyo.

Death - Individual Thought Patterns - 80%

mentalselfmutilation, April 2nd, 2008

Death has always been one of my favorite bands and a band I consider one of the best in old school death metal. From the early releases like Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy as well as the few demos or rehearsals of their many i have been lucky to come across from their early days, all the way to their most famous and widely considered best work with "Human" the band has been one that is recognized as both one of the best early death metal acts and musically one of the most powerful forces out there in the scene during the early 90s, perfecting the genre to an absolute art.

However it's evident even on this album Death realized that had maxed out their potential with Human. Individual Thought Patterns had a lot to follow up on after an album that is widely considered among most metal circles to have been arguably one of the best albums produced by the genre, and as such many have been left disappointed by this album. The album does have moments where it gets boring. The songwriting itself as has been said is more a formula you could teach in math class with standard verse chorus verse chorus sort of riffing going on. The album does pick up on some tracks like parts of "Nothing is Everything" but as a whole unit the album definitely has many points it lacks from it's predecessors.

But regardless this is definitely not an album to neglect or one that should be tossed aside after being casted in the shadow of Human which has brought much of its negativity to it. The riffs themselves and the musicianship as a whole keeps getting progressively better with this band. Musically speaking the album is very solid to the point that this underrated album can actually compare or be considered better than many albums in the death metal genre past and present. The music itself is definitely up there with some of the best material both by Death and by most other bands in the genre that the album shouldn't simply be looked down upon because it doesn't reach the same potential that Human did. For that reason this album is still worth checking out and getting, even though you shouldn't expect it to be as amazing as some of their previous stuff. Consider it as a single death metal album or just a stand alone Death album though and it's much easier to appreciate as a whole.

Epic Death/Thrash/Prog Masterworks. - 96%

hells_unicorn, March 10th, 2008

Most fans of Death remember them for their classics from the glory days of the early to mid-80s Florida scene. While I love a good Zombie Ritual chanting session as good as the rest, this sort of mentality often will quickly lead a fan to abandon their favorite band the minute they start to either grow as musicians or begin repeating themselves. Like every sub-genre in the great metal umbrella, it was death metal’s turn to grow and branch out into new territory, and who better to do it than the band that carries the name of the genre they helped pioneer.

Being as this is the album that first introduced me to the band years back, naturally my perspective on death metal is tilted towards the technical side, my personal love for progressive metal and thrash also being taken into account. The many changes in tempo, the dozen or so riffs and multiple lead-breaks that funnel in and out of the song, and the lack of any boundaries apart from the limits of Chuck Schuldiner’s metaphysical awareness all appeal to the riff and change-up enthusiast. But what really strikes me about this 10 song work is the tightness of the songwriting and the arrangement, which pushes forward with the fury of a raging bull, yet with the discipline of a well trained soldier.

The songs themselves are not terribly long, and the total length of the album is about equal to that of their early material. However, each one of these 3 to 4 minute long songs listen like a 6 or 7 minute long song. Some view this as a negative and would attribute this to over-development and deviating too much from the traditional formula that the band used in their early years, but I see it more as the same brilliance with which artists can make a 2 dimensional illustration seem 3 dimensional with a simply manipulation of size and placement. “Nothing is Everything” is only slightly longer than 3 minutes, but every time I finish listening to it I feel like I’ve experienced something similar to Maiden’s longer winded compositions.

Surprising enough as it may be, my 2 favorite songs of the mix are the ones that are probably the least appreciated by the old guard Death fan base. Being an avid fan of bands who can really throw curveballs to the listener, I was particularly taken by “Destiny”, which sports a rather beautiful acoustic intro with a keyboard of all things, before going through a maze of contrasting sections and elaborate riffs. “The Philosopher” is the most listener friendly, sporting an easily spotted chorus and the closest thing to a traditional structure on here. When seeing the video with the kid with no shirt running through the forest, you have to wonder if maybe good old Evil Chuck was making a joke out of his similar appearance to famed grunge wanker Eddie Vedder.

Though Schuldiner’s grand collection of riffs and relevant lyrics form the general frame of this colossus, the employment of classic metal mainstay Andy LaRoque is what provides the needed extravagance to bring character and a sense of regality to the mix. Every single solo on here could be described as epic, although the leads to “Trapped in a Corner” just blow me away every time. Picture a massive chorus of barbarians chanting and you have the riffs, and amongst all the masculine aggression is a lone soprano singing pristine melodies, and you’ll get a picture of the perfect contrast that exists between the solos and what surrounds them.

Regardless to what the cynical purists who cling tightly to their original pressings of “Scream Bloody Gore” and their bootlegged copies of their early demos, there is life in death metal after the songs about skull crushing, flesh tearing, and all out dismemberment that make bands like Cannibal Corpse a lyrical joke. You may not be able to tap your foot to this music, and the odd time sections might cause you to throw your neck out of alignment while head banging to them, but this album is jammed tight with inventive and exciting speed and fury. For a metal album that had to contend with legions of brain dead grunge zombies proclaiming our music passé, “Individual Thought Patterns” is about as big of a one fingered salute as you can get to the putrid, ever mutating mainstream.

Rather disappointing yet still having some moments - 65%

morbert, May 30th, 2007

Just two years after releasing probably their best album from their career with the best line-up, it was of course rather predictable that the next album could not live up to expectations. The quality of musicianship however was still here but on a different level and mr Schuldiner did present us some very impressive new riffs and melodies on ‘Individual Thought Patterns’.

The start of ‘Overactive imagination’ was impressive but the rhythmical midpaced verses do the composition some damage. Same goes for the unimpressive chorus. The solo of lead guitarist Andy LaRocque however is quite good and melodic and really has that King Diamond feeling. In the end it also turned out to be LaRoques best solo on the album.

The rhythmical experimentation continues on ‘In Human Form’ and the song never really leaves the ground to take a flight to immortality. ‘Jealousy’ does a slightly better job at that. Again rhythmical verses but this time saved by impressive riffing. The slowed down section with the fretless bass-slide however is pretty horridly jazzy. The song is saved by the uptempo chorus that has a mighty main riff. The moshing part after the chorus had some good work DiGiorgio on bass. ‘Trapped in a Corner’ has the same flaws as ‘In Human Form’, being those rhythmical verses that are getting annoying by now. ‘Nothing is Everything’ uses the same trick as 'Jealousy', namely having an impressive chorus that saves the song. This time the chorus doesn’t have a riff but a beautiful twin harmony. Nice touch!

‘Mentally Blind’ finally has a normal verse with midpaced drums that don’t demand all the attention. The bridge is sped up and the slowpaced chorus has a nice guitar melody and vocal line following each other. The middle section of the song is pretty amazing, building up to a midpaced double bass climax on with all musicians excel in tightness. The title track 'Individual Thought Pattern' has a nice uptempo syncopated verse but the rest of the song shares the same flaws with ‘In Human Form’ and ‘Trapped in a Corner’. Now ‘Destiny’ starts rather nicely with a clean intro and solo. The following break could have come straight from ‘Spiritual Healing’ and the verse sustains this heaviness. The half assed melodic bridge and rhythmical chorus however are extremely poor and quite ruin the song.

‘Out Of Touch’ has more straightforward verses and therefore becomes a pretty decent track at times with some nice uptempo touches and this time the rhythms and eerie riffing on the chorus work out nicely. The long middle section however does the song some damage and the twin harmonic riff leading to the solo is rather dull for Schuldiner standards. The immediate classic ‘The Philosopher’ was a blend of the ‘Spiritual Healing’ and ‘Human’ styles and remains one of Schuldiners strongest slowpaced compositions ever.

The album had an overdose of rhythmical verses that made the album sound rather formulaic. Also the standard ‘verse, chorus, middle section, verse, chorus’ structure was getting annoyingly predictable by now. The faster parts of the album are the best since they contain some real power and most of the best riffs and melodies on the album. The production was a step back from ‘Human’ being less heavy and having a slightly less enjoyable crunchy guitar sound.

Why Gene Hoglan made such a mess of it is hard to say. Possibly he wanted to do something else than in his later Dark Angel years. But this was too much of a change all of a sudden. He could and should have given the album much more speed and power. Instead he was experimenting too much for his own ego. I am really a Dark Angel fan but after hearing ‘Individual Thought Pattern’ I was screaming for Sean Reinert. And, however good mr Laroque is, I also missed Masvidal with his heavy sound and solos for they suited Death so much more.

Excellent Death Metal - 88%

Mikesn, March 23rd, 2007

As with that of thrash, the origin of death metal is still a very debatable subject, even twenty-some years after its inception. Whether it was Possessed, Death, or Master, I do not really care, nor do I feel like pinpointing which of these acts recorded the opening notes in the opening seconds of their first demo's opening song. You can do that on your own time. As regardless of who did it first, each of these bands are important and influential on the genre. With albums such as Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, Florida death metallers, Death cemented their status as both innovators and torchbearers of the genre. But Death mainman, Chuck Schuldiner eventually grew tired of full on death metal and began incorporating harmonized guitars and progressive influences into his music with 1991's critically acclaimed album, Human. No longer, "just" a death metal band, the metal world highly anticipated the return of Death. And with 1993's Individual Though Patterns, they would not be disappointed.

Individual Thought Patterns continues Death's musical direction into that of progressive death metal. The 40 minute album is still home to the crushing riffs that Death has always employed, but similarly to Individual Thought Process' predecessor, Human, the riffs, solos, and drumming is much more technical than it ever has been before. Each of the album's ten tracks display the talents of Chuck and fellow guitarist Andy LaRocque exceedingly well, with chaotic, evil sounding guitar interplay taking much of the spotlight. But the efforts of the other two band members, Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan cannot be shrugged off. Similarly to the guitarists, both Steve and Gene do an excellent job in their required roles. Somewhat of a rarity in death metal, Steve DiGiorgio's bass lines are quite audible and provide a solid backup sound to the guitars. Jealousy is one track where Steve's performance plays a large role in the sound of the album. His distinct bass lines are put together rather well and set up a serviceable rhythm for the other members of the band to draw from. If you're a fan of some of the more extreme genres of metal, specifically thrash metal, than you should know who Gene Hoglan is. Similarly to that of Dark Angel's underground hit. Darkness Descends, that element of speed and destructiveness has been added to Death's musical arsenal. Gene offers a very impressive performance which definitely presents a solid, top notch rhythm for the band to follow. However, it would have been nice if the production on his drumming was a little better, as his efforts are rather low in the mix.

If there was one thing that I wasn't too fond of on Individual Thought Patterns, it would be Chuck Schildiner's voice. Chuck's vocal performance can be described simply as a deep, chaotic shout. Similar to what can be found in thrash metal, yet a little deeper and more gruesome sound, yet not deep or gruesome enough to be considered a death metal grunt. Chuck's efforts keep it rather simple and do not vary much, if at all, and despite being rather annoying, they get their job done fairly well. What his singing does not do is take away from his or the rest of the band's excellent efforts in terms of song writing or performance, but if I could trade in Chuck's shout for a more prestigious death growl, then I would in all likelihood do it, as it would definitely enhance Individual Thought Patterns and its power.

Though I had been listening to Gothenburg and melodic death metal for months before I discovered Death and two of their strongest efforts, Symbolic and Individual Thought Patterns, I would venture to guess that Death was the first full on death metal (though with progressive overtures, obviously) that I had ever given a fair chance to. And I couldn't have picked a finer band to start out with, as Death presents an excellent display of much of what makes death metal a fun genre to listen to. Brutal, yet technical guitars, both in terms of rhythm and leads; unique, effective bass lines which act more as a third guitar rather than following the guitars; and skilled, vicious drumming, which one would expect from a guy like Gene Hoglan. Sure, Chuck's vocals weren't the greatest, and the drumming could have been a little higher in the mix, but in the end, Death's sixth album is indeed a very worthwhile album. Pick it up if you can.

(Originally written for Sputnikmusic)

Death arguably at their pinnacle - 99%

invaded, July 21st, 2006

By now Death had already had numerous lineup changes as well as shifts in style and sound. They went from an almost thrashy and gore filled tone in their debut "Scream Bloody Gore!", started showing signs of a bit more complexity with "Leprosy", showed hints of proginness in "Spiritual Healing" and went balls out full throttle with the awesome release which is Human. But Individual thought patterns remains my favorite Death album and one of my favorite metal albums of all time. Everything is just so perfect here. The lineup was arguably their best(although the Cynic dudes can certainly make a pitch to that claim as well!). With Andy Laroque and Gene Hoglan adding their respective talents to the likes of Steve Digiorgio and the mighty Chuck Schuldiner, this is a record for the ages.

The tone by now is classic Death, with those major fourth and fifth harmonies running rampant all throughout, leads smooth as butter although played in complex time signatures and odd scales. This record is a musician's wet dream! The songwriting once again is bloody brilliant. "Overactive Imagination" is just a choc full of riffs and strange yet intriguing drum patterns that keep me interested throughout. "In Human Form" has riffs played so tightly you'd think the band were a bunch of surgeons. The rythm is pummeling and fierce and kicks the listener straight in the face all the while remaining technically brilliant. Tempos shift all around without ever skipping a beat. "Jealousy" follows and this track truly shows off the amazing skills of one Steve Digiorgio. Although the guitars as usual are center stage, the bass keeps up frantically and is so keenly tight with the drums while at the same time having standout moments of its own. The solos are once again just peefectly executed. The riffing just flows very well, excellent song.

"Trapped in a Corner" is a classic by all means, the track chugs along before going into a groove section which leads into some weird solos played over some odd signatures before trading off into something a little more accesible. This is achieved in brilliant fashion and shows off these guys' chops. Many feel that this might be unnecessary but you know what? If you can do it, then do it! This song is a great piece of songwriting as themes come and go without a hinderance. "Nothing is Everything" is another song with some cool rffing that ranges more on the proggy side of things before lashing out in a brutal assault, the riffs are quite catchy actually, making the listener remember them afterwards. "Mentally Blind" is a heavier track with some pummeling drumming accompanied by some once again very solid riffing from Chuck and the boys. The chorus is slow and gloomy with some nice ambience to it. The solo is also excellent, fitting the dark mood perfectly. Next comes the title track, and "Individual Thought Patterns" doesn't disappoint, being arguably the fastest track along with the opener. The riffing is nice and tremolo and the drums are brutal, heavy and technical. Once again the bass shines through a mist of crushing guitar work. The vocals are also excellent. "Destiny" has a very nice clean introduction before getting what is arguably the best riff on the record. This is like headbanging 101, only technical and leads into a more spacey part where Gene Hoglan takes over. The track shifts to technicality with blinding solos and harmonized riffing. This is a rather crushing song that leaves you breahtless upon its competion. "Out of Touch" starts off slow and doomy before a malestrom of riffs invades your speakers and the heaviness ensues to dark atmoshperic riffing perfectly complemented by the rythm section. It's all very tight and very groovy at times with those Death harmonies kicking in at any odd moment.

To close things off we have "The Philosopher" Death's most famous track, one with which a music video was created. This starts of with a now legendary tapping line followed by the amazing rythmically syncopated riffing pattern that fits just so perfectly with the vocal patterns. The solos are just perfect and the bass work during the bridge is simply amazing. Things get a little spacey before kicking back into that monster verse riff again. The track fades out after the chorus blasting religion about child abuse and sexual identity.

Death were pretty balls to the wall with this release, showing more speed than they had ever achieved previously, yet keeoing the Death dynamic intact with the proggy elements and guitar solos. The songwriting is top notch, the vocal performance is also spellbinding. The lyrical IQ is up there considering this is Death Metal we're talking about here. This album is just so enjoyable and so well executed from start to finish, a definite must have.

Sliding - 53%

Thamuz, April 3rd, 2005

The fall of great artists can be attributed to many things; fame, superfluous changes of direction, stagnation and populist brainwashing to name a few obvious selections. Yet, these are irrelevant, as they are merely symptoms, not causes. In every case a destructive aphrodisiac, encased in a neat phial, is administered with a sharp injection into the surface of the mind. Its victims are many, few are seen to escape its shocking and hideous effects. Its name is passivity.

Death used to be a force to be reckoned with, taking to society with a hammer carved out of precise song writing, forever inventive, yet steadfast in thematic coherence. But, on “Individual Thought Patterns”, many things changed, the most noticeable is the peregrination from Death Metal to an aesthetic based largely around the “melodic” inclination that was frequented by Traditional Metal bands in the 70s and 80s. With more emphasis on tempo than those aforementioned contemporaries, this is Speed Metal, yet dressed up in a pretty pink costume and paraded before us like a ballerina, minus the grace and beauty.

As mentioned, Speed Metal is the predominate focus of the songs, but the run-of-the-mill composition lacks the intensity and spirit found in past greats such as Coroner, Cacophony and Judas Priest. It comes off as a hotchpotch of ideas held together with weak glue by choruses, palm-muted tremolo and a selection of misused power chords. The repetition of, then the transience of “technical” riffs marred with showy polyrhythmic frolicking dominates, as songs pass in a blur, nothing of memorable value to note. Sure, every now and then an interesting riff arrives, but these are useless when muddled with a myriad of utter mediocrity. The song writing is further taken adrift by a fascination with the incorporating of needless soloing wherever possible, as if we need to know that these musicians are “talented.”

As a further hindrance is the production, which is dry-throughout, giving an artificial feel, almost akin to plastic. To suggest that it is as accessible as pop-rock bands would not be too far off the mark. This really does make obvious that the majority of the work presented here is of a similar feel, despite efforts to “spice” things up with an out of place clean acoustic introduction, which adds to the volatility of the album through more incoherence. Also absence is any sense of melody, something that is extremely important to song writing. Sure, there is melody here, but it distracts from the overall flow of the songs, never tying sections together in harmonious flow.

The drummer and bassist also try to do their bit, but enhanced musicality never solved problems that are based around spirit and drive, or in this case a lack of. The drumbeats are impressive, at least to those who adore pretentious “technical” displays, mainly over-drummed, destroying any chance of feeling with impracticability. The situation is likewise in relation to the bassist, as he meanders off into his own little world.

Such measures equate to the emittance of a gregarious aura that one may find at jam session, in this case helping preach the acceptance of all-accepting egalitarian values in accordance with the “philosophical” lyrics. Part of the problem seems to be Death’s consistent flux of line-up changes; putting together a group of super-talented musicians rarely makes a “super-band.”

If you like music that is loosely based around the concept of writing a song, more for entertainment purposes instead of aiming to achieve artistic worth, then this may be a CD for you. As a whole, this is little more than a promiscuous acceptance of the Judeo-Christian modernity that holds society in a deadlock as we speak, containing music that merely occupies space, instead of filling it with meaning.

The construction for death metal has begun. - 97%

PseudoGoatKill, February 23rd, 2005

Ahhh Death, when people hear this word they usually think one of three things. "Oh my God I don't want to die!" "Death is just a fact of life." or "Death is one of the greatest (or worst) metal bands of all time." Naturally us metalheads will think of the third quote before immediately going to first and second quotes.

Fortunately for people who love metal a band called Death formed and would be one of the pioneers of the death metal genre.

As with anything that is new work needs to be done with it before it can become perfect.

Individual Thought Patterns is one of Death's mid-releases and is the second album I've listened to other than Sound of Perseverance. While it was SoP that had the progressive elements that I so enjoy it is Individual Thought Patterns that heils itself above it's older self. Although the blue prints of death metal had already been written by a younger Death and other bands (early Sepultura and Atheist for example) this album would become a semi-final version of what death metal was to be.

Abandoning the concept of blood, death, and gore "Individual Thought Patterns" was mainly about the idea of humanity and religion. With hardly a mention of gore splatter, Death proved with this album that death metal need not to consist of stupid "Grr hack bits, crush bloody body, rape carcass on the maggott infested floor, grrr." lyrics to succeed.

The music of ITP is intensely good, but is short from perfection. Chuck Schuldiner proved on this release that he is and was one of the greatest metal guitarist of all time, and also one of the best death metal vocalists of all time. Many of the riffs he plays on these songs would be difficult for the average person to play none the less perform and sing at the same time. It's quite obvious that Chuck had training on the guitar not based around the metal or rock genre listening to the way he's able to make certain scales work so damn well with the music.

Another thing I love about this album are the bass riffs. I know I talk about the bass in most of my reviews but it's because the bass is usually a background instrument to provide the low end. You usually don't hear it, but when it's gone you miss it.

Not with ITP though, the bass riffs are just as skillfully played if not slightly more than the guitar riffs. I love music that doesn't treat the bass like some sort of ignored and abused stepchild.

The drumming on this album is perfection, and unlike most death metal you don't hear too many blastbeats on this album. The drumming never goes off into it's own little world like some death metal I know *cough* Origin *cough*.

I was especially pleased to come across this album for $5.99. Whoever sold it back must have had some financial burdens because I sure as hell wouldn't sell it back for $1.00.

My advice is to buy this album if you love Death, or death metal. It gets a 97% because although it could be more differentiating it's still not as redundant as SoP.


(Greatness continued) - 100%

swamplordhell, February 9th, 2005

Chuck has proved once again with this CD why he is the envy of anyone attempting to create any form of metal. this is by far the best he has created from his present list of CD's. the most technical, and the best sounding. he didn't just come up with a simple power chord that changed frets by 2 occasionally like alot of Death metal ( i am not trying to knock death metal like morbid angel, because i love those guys, but the sound chuck created with this album was one of a kind back in 1993.) He found the best band of musical talent to produce the album also. the double bass on this album is the best out of all the albums Death has created...the drumming in general is only bested by christy on sound of perseverance. The solos on this album are like nothing done before, and nothing done since. he created the most unique sound with the compelation of all the instruments. i'm not about to go song by song because i'd rather not write a lenghty review for this. but put it in simple term here...i was 11 years old when i bought this album, i'm 18 now,. I don't give a shit who the fuck you are, this is a Great album.

The downfall... - 70%

Snxke, October 1st, 2004

Death begin to take the path of least resistence on "I.T.P." and attempt to bring a sense of "intelligence" to their sound. (Something they may have seen as lacking on the earlier releases...) Sadly, this direction also shows the band falling from their daring deametal roots into a more "speed" oriented sound that grinds along leaning towards a certain "hyper-thrash". The performances here are amazing as usual (you can't expect less from Andy LaRoque right?) and the production is considerably good compared to most death metal oriented releases. Sadly, the overall concept of death is beginning to slip into the typical political metal that removes them from the genre they helped begin. Chuck's "wisdom" in the lyrics is rather plain...and his music is starting to lose some of the brutality that marked early death as being the fore-runners of the heaviest sub-genre of metal.

Chuck, despite his decay into slightly boring "thought-death" still manages to raise a few storms on "In Human Form", "Overactive Imagination" and "The Philosopher". While not as interesting as these few mentioned the rest of the CD is consistent and at least shows a band that has yet to completely devolve into songless skill displays. Chuck may be lacking the huge hooking riffs of earlier records...but his songcraft passes for enjoyable with both occasional hook (nothing compared to Scream Bloody Gore) and heft that managed to keep to drift from traditional death metal...but not weaken into traditional thrash or speed metal. Of course, the above mentioned moments are the only possible classics...but this is not to say that the rest is composed in a poor manner.

Death took a sharp turn for the worst after this release and I can't say that I care too much. After the first three classics...Chuck had little to prove. This step towards increased complexity also chips away at the engaging nature that made the first few Death albums so fascinating.

Oh can't win the all...

Death's most unique album - 90%

stickyshooZ, April 29th, 2004

I think this is one of Death's most interesting albums, aside from Human. 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.

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. The solo on Trapped in A Corner is probably my favorite Death solo of all time. After watching it on Live in LA and hearing it over and over again, it gets beaten into your brain until it becomes a part of you.

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.

A beautifuly made album - 98%

MrSuicide, March 20th, 2004

Individual Thought Patterns was my first Death CD that I ever got. When I put it in and started to listen, I was blown away. This has got to be the best Death line-up ever. Gene Hoglan is a great drummer, Andy LaRocque blends in some beautiful solos, Steve DiGiorgio is audible on here, and you can here his awesome bass fills. Then there is Chuck. I think almost everyone in the Metal scene knows what Chuck did. The guitar work on this CD is near perfect.

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 shit.

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.

Number 9 is Out Of Touch. 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.

Overall, this CD is goddamn near perfect. The only problem is the song time, and the production. It's very quiet, and if you turn it up too loud you can hear the quality get worst. But, overall, it's a great CD and a must have for anyone who loves Technical or Death Metal.

Fucking Technical Death - 93%

Demon_of_the_Fall, October 29th, 2003

Death brought a new approach to the way they went about writing music with Individual Thought Patterns. Basically Chuck recruited some of the finest musicians to ever walk the face of the earth: Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel), Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), and Steve Digiorgio (Sadus). That is the reason why this is such an utter shredfest with all the musicians putting their sence of genuine genious into each and every song. They just wanted to make the best and most Technical Death album to date, and when this was released i truely believe this was their crowning glory. But Individual is missing a few things, one of the things is that Chucks voice is not nearly as good as on Symbolic or Human.But either way it suits the music, so i really shouldnt be complaining.Another thing is that some of the tracks are not as memorable as the tracks on next two cds they released. Holy shit Gene puts out his best performance ever on any other cd i have heard him play on, hes a fucking mammoth on this disc. Just when you think theres no one better than Buddy Rich here comes this guy, just outstanding. Steve plays plenty of awesome fretless bass, and ofcourse the bass playing is very audible in the mix. Chucks lead playing has also come a long way since Scream Bloody Gore. Their solos are sorrowful and emotion gripping, I love each and every one.

Some of their biggest acclaimed songs are displayed on this album. Tracks like Overactive Imagination, In Human Form, Trapped in a Corner, Nothing Is Everything, Individual Thought Patterns, The Philosopher. This is Indeed a must for any Death metal fan, or highly technical metal lover. I must say that Andy LaRoques guitar playing is jaw dropping...listen to his solo abit over 2 minuites into "Trapped in a Corner". This album reeks of creativity, that is catchy, and very easy to get into. Although not the best death album this was the start of a glorious extreme metal era for them. I truely believe their best works were from Human to Sound of Perserverance. Leprosy never did anything for me neither did Spiritual or Scream Bloody Gore. When they got emotional and technical is when i started caring about them. They have matured and it is shown on this release, I hold nothing but respect for each and every musician on this album, and give them my biggest thank you for helping a Metalhead in need of a good technical fix. I hold my glass high for Death...Cheers Chuck I'll see you in Life after Death.

Best Tracks: Whole fucking Album

Lacks direction - 49%

MacMoney, November 14th, 2002

For Individual Thought Patterns Chuck Schuldiner recruited once again another line-up. DiGiorgio was still left in the bass but Masvidal was replaced by Andy LaRocque of King Diamond fame and Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel etc.) was brought in to replace Reinert. Both worthy instrumentalists but Masvidal's style of guitaring did fit Death's style better than LaRocque's more orthodox style of soloing. Hoglan on the other hand is a good replacement for Reinert and does an excellent work on the album.

The songwriting has usually been the strongest part of Death but I find it a bit lacking on Individual Thought Patterns. All of the songs are short but most of the songs tend to fall into the trap of being overtly technical. A very technical, yet boring, part can be repeated a few times in a song and since the songs are all quite short, the songs don't get much room to build up and gather strength. Some parts are pure throwaway, the whole In Human Form-song for example, and instigate only boredom. The songs also tend to wander in strange directions which sometimes don't make much sense in the context of the song. There are some killer material in here too though like The Philosopher or Trapped In A Corner.

The problem of the album lies in songwriting which surprisingly has always been the strongpoint of Death. The songs miss a general direction and don't deliver efficient enough a punch.