Classic review: Death “Individual Thought Patterns” [Relativity Records]

Classic review: Death “Individual Thought Patterns” [Relativity Records]

- in Reviews
Score 53%
53 %
Chuck Schuldiner’s diary
User Rating : 4.9 (3 votes)

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.

Release date: June 22nd, 1993

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I have been listening to metal since the age of... 14 or so. Besides music, I'm also interested in boxing, fitness, meeting new people and enjoy reading about a variety of topics.

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