Individual Thought Patterns
Style: Technical Death Metal
Release date: 25 October, 2011
Playing time: 41:00 + 52:41

That Relapse Records has decided to release the Death catalogue again makes a lot of sense. There is so much in Schuldiner's work that younger metal fans can benefit from. After all these years, there's still an abundance of value and power in those recordings.

Two years after the phenomenal 'Human' (1991), Chuck Schuldiner was ready with a new Death release. 'Individual Thought Patterns' quite surprisingly featured King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque along with drummer Gene Hoglan and bassist Steve Digiorgio. A fantastic team around the young metal genius Schuldiner, one must say.

For guys like me, this is a chance to revisit not only the brilliant music that was the result of Chuck's far too short life, but also to remember a time when the world was a bit different from now. Yes, we had CD's, but most of the collection was still vinyl or cassette tapes, there wasn't a zillion bands promoting themselves on youtube or MySpace. No, you working hard and, if you were lucky and/or talented enough, you got yourself a record deal.

Around the time of the release of 'Individual Thought Patterns', metal was suffering after the fat years. Grunge and hip hop were slaying metal bands by the thousands and the artistic expression in metal bands stagnated. Even death metal had gone higher in the charts than anyone would have expected with bands like Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse selling a fair bit especially in their home country. Pantera and Metallica in particular had of course gone to a different dimension altogether.

Death was one of those bands who ignored everything and just did their own thing and kept their artistic integrity. As I'm listening to the remastered version of 'Individual Thought Patterns' (yes, you can tell that the sound has been optimised), I recall the emotions I went through back then. I remember in a sense being proud that one of 'my' bands did something like this. It would seem like commercial suicide in a world where you had to sound like Soundgarden or Nirvana to be this complex, to be this...well...good!

But they were. Amazing. Integrity all the way.

That said, although ITP was amazing, it for me was no equal to 'Human', and this remains a fact until this day. It had and still has a harder time flowing directly into my veins the way its predecessor did. That won't change the fact that songs like Overactive Imagination and The Philosopher have gone into metal history as some of the best tunes ever wrought.

The bonus disc doesn't contain instrumental demo versions of the songs like the two previous rereleases did. A shame, in a way, because I've enjoyed those. The live songs here are of course a nice way of remembering that Death was also a live band and not just someone who hid away in the studio - and that little errors could also appear here and there for the masters! The concluding instrumental studio outtake, The Exorcist, is a fine addition to any Death fan's collection.

New fans, it's safe to start here. Build your Death collection - it's a must!


CD 1:
01. Overactive Imagination
In Human Form
Trapped in a Corner
Nothing is Everything
Mentally Blind
Individual Thought Patterns
Out of Touch
The Philosopher

CD 2:
01. Leprosy (live)
02. Suicide Machine (live)
03. Living Monstrosity (live)
04. Overactive Imagination (live)
05. Flattening of Emotions (live)
06. Within the Mind (live)
07. In Human Form (live)
08. Lack of Comprehension (live)
09. Trapped in a Corner (live)
10. Zombie Ritual (live)
11. The Exorcist - studio outtake

Label: Relapse Records
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 45/100
Reviewed by: Thomas Nielsen
Date: 1 November, 2011