Ten songs, 10 depraved characters,
10 moral lessons. What's more surprising is how Schuldiner's lyrics
bear a striking resemblance to The Bible's proverbs. Really! Kingpins
of the most satanic of metals are just a precious stone's throw
(well, okay you might have to throw the precious stone, go find
it, pick it up and throw it again) from the oldest, most respected
and most heavenly of books. Individual Thought Patterns features
those same seedy characters, same elongated syntax, same pithy
tone that characterized The Proverbs. When Schuldiner growls "Hiding
will do you no good/Many seek revenge." he's not far
from "The wicked man is caught in his own iniquities and
held fast in the foils of his own sin." And when he sings
"You know so much about nothing at all"
in "The Philosopher" is he that far from "A
false witness tells a pack of lies"? "What
comes around goes around" is perhaps a less eloquent way
of saying "The wicked man is trapped by his own false-hoods."
(Come to think of it, the death metallers-scorned, ignored and
ridiculed by the straight music press-might be a [very] miniature
version of ancient Tribes of Israel, escaping the persecution
of the Egyptians and seeking a musical homeland. The mind boggles.)
Schuldiner, who writes the music
first when writing songs, adding the vocal lines later, admits
he's not super familiar with The Bible. He spend two years in
a private school heavy in religion in the seventh and eighth grade.
So why the similarity? A case of long term subconscious osmosis?
Hardly. While King Solomon distilled his wise proverbs from the
Lord himself, King Death got his inspiration from a slightly less
celestial source: the music business. "The
lyrics were inspired by the corruption in the music business,
people that screwed me over royally," he says, his
voice a mixture of a Floridian casual draw and Wayne's World-like
enthusiasm. "Right now I'm in the middle
of a law-suit. I'm trying to take care of a couple of issues that
were inspired by the new record,"
he continues. "I want to continue
playing but I've come real close to saying, 'Fuck it.' Something
inside me keeps me going. It's not something you can just drop
even though people are making it literally impossible to keep
going. When you're screwed by the powers-that-be to that degree,
you either go crazy or make art,"
he says. So Schuldiner performs exorcisms, casting from
his soul those who have caused him torment.
"I'm trying to learn from my mistakes
and apply them to make something positive."
How about some details? Schuldiner
says he can't disclose any particulars (as if Florida lawyers
peruse Rox between court cases), but he notes, "At
the time it was horrible, giving $20,000 to people who don't deserve
it. There are human piranhas out there. You need to be careful."
will be your next victim?/Profiting on the visions of others"
- "In Human Form"
Schuldiner is now raving like one of the Heavenly Bodies; no not
angels, but rather the World Wrestling Federation tag-team wrestlers
who compete under that name: "If there's
any bands out there reading this, there are people who are going
to tell a band that they'll do everything for them. They'll shelf
you. They'll get the money the label owes them. But a lot of times,
they'll get all the profits. People do things to pacify you, make
you think they're doing you good. That sucks man. People don't
get respect by ripping people off and blaming it on other people.
That's lame," Schuldiner says.
"I am one of many who see
through your lies" - "Trapped In A Corner"
Cooling down a bit, Schuldiner talks about that other scourge
of the music industry: The music press (hmph !). The album's opening
track (placed first perhaps because that's as far as most critics
will get) "Overactive Imagination" spares no punches:
"Directing and premeditating every move that creates the
act of manipulation/ Mastering the art of deception that increases
your sick addiction / It's an overactive imagination that enslaves
your empty shell." "I've had
people from the press ask me if I was an alcoholic, a drug addict,
in a psycho ward, if I was going to start a glam band. They asked
me that seriously," he explains.
"None of it was true," he quickly stipulates.
Singing "Overactive Imagination"
must have had a cathartic affect, for now he seems calmer about
the matter. "I've learned to deal with
it," he shrugs. "It used
to make me extremely angry. Now it just rolls off my back,"
Individual Thought Patterns was
recorded over a five week period at Morrisound Studios (where
else?) with (who else?) Scott Burns producing. To back his sordid
visions (both musical and lyrical) Schuldiner gathered the cream
of grim reapers--former King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque,
Sadus bassist Steve Digiorgio and Dark Angel drummer Gene Hoglan.
Once assembled, this band of demons practiced in Schuldiner's
mom's garage. That's right! In suburban Altamonte Springs, Florida,
amongst the washer and dryer, the lawnmower, the garden implements,
new paths in death metal were forged! "We
were after this early band vibe. It was the same garage we practiced
in '83, '84, our demo tapes," Schuldiner notes. "It
keeps you down to earth."
Schuldiner is happy with the results.
"I think it's the best stuff Death
has put out. It's very fresh. It came out right at the time the
metal scene is very cluttered with people trying to copy each
other," he notes. "Individual
Thought Patterns is something I'm very excited about, 'cause I
buy records and I hate no having that exciting feeling I had years
ago when bands were on their own and not worrying about what everyone
else was doing."
Only in the '90s can someone get excited about Death.