Thought Industry

Songs for Insects

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Countless progressive metal outfits roamed the fertile heavy metal landscape of the early '90s (soon to be driven to extinction by the giant asteroid-like cataclysm imposed by the new regime of alternative rock hipness), but none could touch Thought Industry for sheer commitment to wild experiment and pure shock value. With their mind-boggling fusion of thrash metal, progressive rock, and various disparate musical styles, the Michigan natives did well to choose a Salvador Dali painting to adorn the cover of their first album, Songs for Insects. Tracks like "Third Eye" and "Ballerina" careen forward at a manic pace, spewing machine gun guitar, bass, and drum flourishes in carefully calculated fashion; even deceptively "normal" numbers like "Alexander Vs. the Puzzle" and "Blistered Text and Bleeding Pens" (which use acoustic guitar frameworks) eventually meander across outrageous time signatures -- seemingly just for the hell of it. Less frenetic pieces like "The Chalice Vermillion" (their ten-minute pièce de résistance), "Cornerstone," and "Daughter Mobius" (featuring some kind of Russian line dancing thing...huh?) are even harder to describe and often verge on the atonal -- no thanks to vocalist Brent Oberlin's limited range. Of course, all this madness results in a very difficult listen for all but the most serious progressive metal enthusiasts. Casual fans are therefore urged to start with some of Thought Industry's more disciplined and song-oriented late-'90s releases.

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