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Abnormal Thought Patterns - "Manipulation Under Anesthesia" (CD)

Abnormal Thought Patterns - "Manipulation Under Anesthesia" CD cover image

"Manipulation Under Anesthesia" track listing:

1. Velocity and Acceleration Movement 5 (3:51)
2. Velocity and Acceleration Movement 6 (4:55)
3. Velocity and Acceleration Movement 7 (3:03)
4. Velocity and Acceleration Movement 8 (1:11)
5. Calculating Patterns (3:10)
6. Harmonic Oscillators (7:18)
7. 4 String Lullaby (:55)
8. Autumn (4:01)
9. Manipulation Under Anesthesia (3:37)
10. Electric Sun 2.0 (5:07)
11. Quintessence (4:03)

Reviewed by on August 20, 2013

"The talent level of the musicians involved is incredible, and they write songs without being showy or flashy with their technique."

Abnormal Thought Patterns is an instrumental metal band created from the fingers of Jasun and Troy Tipton. The brothers, who are the guitarist and bassist, respectively, of Cynthesis, were also founding members of Zero Hour. Since that band called it quits earlier this year, it allows the Tipton brothers to devote their time to Cynthesis and this project. Though “Manipulation Under Anesthesia” is the band’s debut full-length, they put out an EP back in 2011. Those who are coming in without prior knowledge should expect a technical feast of guitar and bass dominance, though room is made for an atmospheric side to shine.

Their self-titled EP was what you'd expect from two former members of a highly-regarded progressive metal group, which had many instances of proficient playing and crafty leads. That is continued over to their first album, which can’t be accused of sloppy playing. These guys can maneuver around their instruments with jaw-dropping results. Bringing in drummer Mike Guy, who was also a big part of Zero Hour, gives the band years of chemistry to play off of.

“Manipulation Under Anesthesia” begins with a continuation of the “Velocity and Acceleration” saga that began on their EP. The four-part track is a worthwhile introduction to the band, as well as a stirring continuation of a major aspect of their past release. Troy Tipton’s bass gets prime real estate on multiple parts, and in some cases, his bass is usually the primary instrument. Some tracks, like “Quintessence” and “4 String Lullaby,” are pretty much him going at it alone, with minimal back-up.

Jasun Tipton does get his own licks in there, especially on the seven-minute “Harmonic Oscillators.” Though his work is impressive, the track does drag a bit, as the band works better with the three and four-minute cuts that make up most of the album. He also lends a melodic spin to his guitar on “Autumn” and “Calculating Patterns.” It’s easy enough just to mindlessly spit out solos for minutes on end, so credit should be handed out for stepping beyond that for a complete experience.

What helps with fortifying this album as more than just track after track of doodling is the tasteful use of keys. Their inclusion enhances any situation where the band slips into a melodic frame of mind, including the moody “Calculating Patterns.” The keys also build up to the eventual instrumental wizardry that always lies ahead, as they do on the sixth movement of “Velocity and Acceleration.” The EP flirted with the use of keys, and this LP completely commits to their importance.

Instrumental music fanatics should be pleased by what Abnormal Thought Patterns lays down on “Manipulation Under Anesthesia.” The talent level of the musicians involved is incredible, and they write songs without being showy or flashy with their technique. There are some lulls in the album and the inclusion of “Electric Sun 2.0,” essentially a carbon-copy of the version from the EP, could have been dropped from the album. Even the occasional dragging moment doesn’t mask the simmering potential the band has given themselves with their debut release.

Highs: Tight instrumental work, keyboards add nice atmospheric touches, not overly flashy or full of rambling solos

Lows: The album occasionally drags, especially on the seven-minute “Harmonic Oscillators.”

Bottom line: Abnormal Thought Patterns further explores the instrumental metal style they showed off on their self-titled EP with this strong debut album.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)