Abnormal Thought Patterns - idem - CD -
Abnormal Thought Patterns formed in the wake of Progressive Metal group Zero Hour being put on hold. Three of these Pleasanton, California residents that formed that band came together to put this Progressive enigma together. Jasun and Troy Tipton, along as well as Mike Guy, are joined by guitarist Richard Sharman, coming together to put out their collective debut EP offering through CynNormal Lab Recordings, the band's recently formed record label. But, does Abnormal Thought Patterns fill the empty gap in the hearts of Zero Hour fans everywhere with their self-titled EP release, or is it just a highly technical mess?
Abnormal Thought Patterns has a really clean audio quality to it that makes it stand out nicely. The guitars here really sound heavy, full and loud, creating an atmosphere that captures the Progressive nature of the band well in a manner able to take the listener on a journey, or just generally feel held down against their will while the heavier music comes at him or her with great enthusiasm. The bass plays a pivotol role throughout many of the songs here as well and really helps to elevate the atmospheres to another level, while the drumming is often well controlled against the rather technical guitar work with cymbols that are drowned out a bit by the other two instruments, but snares that come through loudly and bass kicks that have a nice click to them. The only complaint to be found in the quality is that sometimes it's a little too crisp and, while not making the music sterile, it can find the faults in the distortion and volume in the recording. "Velocity and Acceleration 4" for example, and even "Ulnar Nerve Damage" to an extent, really show off some great guitar work, but the first track has a distortion that causes it to sound like they are being recorded through the speaker phone option on someone's cell phone instead of being directly involved in the studio. The latter of the two just ends up feeling a little blunt, and not in that good a way, but rather in a somewhat bland sense, though it still gets the point across in it's less than a minute lifespan.
But the rest of this EP sounds absolutely fantastic and really manages to just sweep up the listener quickly with the atmospheres and environments the music establishes. "The Machine Within" really sets up a stronger Progressive Rock sort of environment against that Metal sound of really heavy riffs and more technical faster leads that are quite impressive, eventually going into a fluid like groove with the music that is enhanced greatly from the bass presence in varying parts of the song and deeper guitar distortions that appear when the leads start going off on a tantrum. The atmosphere to this song, and many others, feels rather fluid and even mechanical, though this track is by far the heaviest and the hardest hitting of the collection, immediately grabbing the attention of the listener regardless of whether instrumental Progressive tracks are his or her thing. But while this may be the heaviest offering, the "Velocity and Acceleration" four parter is still enjoyable and features some fast paced tantric moments that end up being a bit similar, but far from a bad way. In fact it just shows the more technical side of the band in a better light, though the fourth part does have that audio issue. While it's clear the song itself does just seem to be one large song cut up into different chapters, you can genuinely hear and feel when the songs switch tracks, giving up a slightly different sound or environment then the previous track, though the third and fourth parts do end up coming through a little too similar.
The closing track "Electric Sun" is actually a rather large departure for the EP compared to the rest of the offerings here. The song moves at a much slower pace, and feels like it plays up the more generic Progressive Metal foundation sense in order to really push the atmosphere further. While it's not the most impressive song, it's definitely more engaging in the manner that lets you sit back, close your eyes, and simply be engrossed by the somewhat trance enducing sound that shows signs of vintage eighties Hair Metal ballad atmospheres thanks to the echo on the guitars really feeding the listener some impressive guitar solo material that can throw you in a back alley similar to New York around that same time period, or walking the cold streets on the hunt for something special or just specific to you.
Overall, Abnormal Thought Patterns is not the most awe-inspiring release from the band, but it definitely does what it sets out to do. Abnormal Thought Patterns put a collection of songs for a total of over twenty minutes together that nicely introduces this group to the listener, and what they are about. Between the impressive guitar work, controlled drumming, and dominant bass presence, this instrumental group is easily one to keep an eye on regardless of your taste in Progressive material. Each song here sounds great and carries with it a different tone, though the genera atmosphere is still about the same, leaving this EP release a solid start for the group that you can come back to any time to revisit, as well as make you want to hear more from the group shortly after that first or second spin. If you haven't had a chance to check out Zero Hour, then you definitely need to make time to check out this release.
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