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Review: DEATH – Individual Thought Patterns

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“If the devil played metal he would sound like Deicide…….. God on the other hand would create Individual Thought Patterns, which is not merely a compliment.” (Review of Individual Thought Patterns by Wim Baelus, in Aardschok Magazine, July 1993, Netherlands)

This excerpt from a review by Mr. Baelus is an excellent portrayal of the work done by Chuck Shuldiner (DEATH) and it definitely covers more than Individual Thought Patterns. Here is my review.

The sixth installation in a series of not just band changes but musical progressionw (the first noticable change was Human), Individual Thought Patterns was a testament to Mr. Shuldiner’s vision, especially if you take a look at the professional musicians who took part on this musical journey…

Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus) – Bass
Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel) – Drums
Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) – Guitar

From a listener’s perspective, without knowing any of Chuck’s personal dilemmas or triumphs, this album covers the realm of emotion and deep thought. Starting with the blistering fast opener “Overactive Imagination”, all the way to the epic closer “The Philosopher”, DEATH demands that you understand that not all death metal is about finalizing your pact with the underworld nor is it for people who don’t understand time signatures. In fact, the song “Nothing is Everything” begs to differ with the idea that death metal is for angry, evil youth with the lyrics:

“…Emotions take control of life everyday.

Unpredictable variations of behavior, hold the key to the mental door.
Where nothing is everything, and everything is nothing.
Staring beyond the wall a thousand times over.”

It is quite the short song lyrically, but it shows Chuck’s capacity to think beyond the normal,boring and pretentious song writing that tends to happen in the death metal community as well as the mainstream. Granted this album is filled to the brim with “cookie monster” vocals (I hate that term), but that’s what “death” metal is made of and Chuck really knows how to lay the aggression on thick with reason and intellect. Beautiful dynamics between the musicians show in abundance throughout the album and it’s very apparent when Mr. LaRocque takes hold of the strings on his axe. Such mind numbing fret work makes you wonder if Yngwie is somewhere out there being envious.

Chuck Shuldiner’s guitar work is a source of inspiration, especially when he plays and sings at the same time. You can definitely hear how far he had come with his ability and skill. Steve DiGiorgio’s fretless bass lines are sweet to the ears and far beyond what he was doing in Sadus (you can actually hear similar work on Cynics’ Focus). As for Gene Hoglan, he is just a monster on the kit and an undeniable force behind the blazing symphony of technical brilliance on this timeless benchmark of all death metal bands.

In 1993, there were some really great bands that had a similar technical progressive sense but I truly feel that none of them had the forsight and vision that Chuck had as to where death metal would go.

R.I.P. Chuck (1967-2001)


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About guppusmaximus

  • Guppusmaximus

    I had to *push* my own review because of the article about VH1: Pantera BTM. Granted I loved Pantera but they shouldn’t get credit for creating extreme music when Mr. Shuldiner was doing quite a few years before!! Mr. Shuldiner passed away from cancer AND He NEVER receives any credit nor does he get a VH1 special!!

    Anyways, R.I.P. Chuck & Dimebag…Maybe you guys are jamming together in Heaven!!

  • andy

    to Guppusmaximus:

    Death doesn’t need to get any airplay on any TV channel like VH1/MTV or even the so called “rock” side of MTV, MTV 2.
    Death was an awesome band, leaded by an excellent person and musician and it should stay this way forever.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus


    I agree with your sentiment but they had atleast 2 videos The Philosopher & Lack of Comprehension played on TV (download them from No it wasn’t MTV but Chuck Shuldiner should still get the credit he deserves. The man had an insight & vision that was priceless and even though I never met the guy,He moved me & influenced me to be a better musician! There should be a G*ddamn Tribute Show for the man who made all of this extreme music possible… Without Death, there would be NO Death Metal genre!!