Abnormal Thought Patterns – Altered States of Consciousness (Lifeforce)

Tuesday, 26th May 2015
Rating: 8/10

The inactive status of unsung American progressive metal heroes Zero Hero perpetually hangs over Abnormal Thought Patterns. Of course, it doesn’t help that hackneyed journalists like DR bring up the “other” band for Brothers Tipton (Jasun and Troy), but it also goes to show what happens when a really promising band isn’t heard from in a while – it leaves people wanting more. Abnormal Thought Patterns, however, more than suffice, playing a highly complex, yet unpretentious brand of instrumental metal that raises the bar technically, while rolling out actual songs.

The band’s second album, Altered States of Consciousness, gets an instant publicity boost by way of a guest vocal appearance from Between the Buried and Me’s Tommy Rogers on “Nocturnal Haven.” Rogers, a fantastic singer in his own right, probably more than felt at home on such a particular track, where off-time guitars, gonzo solos, and an atmospheric, quite serene middle portion make it an instant album highlight. (Lest we forget Rogers’ innate ability to volley between mad-dude growls and gorgeous clean vocals.) From there, Abnormal Thought Patterns can go over-the-top with their instrumentation (see the ultra-heavy “Blindsight”), and, bust out some rather wicked bass soloing courtesy of Troy Tipton (“Subliminal Perception”).

Additional guests of substance include current Arch Enemy/former Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis and Into Eternity’s Tim Roth (who should probably put a new album out, eh?) merely complement what is a robust, highly detailed album. The band’s 2013 Manipulation Under Anesthesia was loaded with promise (not to mention similar bouts of shred), but Altered States of Consciousness effectively pushes Abnormal Thought Patterns up a notch, whatever that notch is. Nevertheless, highly entertaining stuff about, from the production values (the Tipton brothers have basically carved out their own tone), and, of course, the songs, to which none disappoint.

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