Kalamazoo, Michigan's Thought Industry released their awesome debut record Songs For Insects at essentially the same time as Dream Theater's Images and Words. So it was a wonderfully nerdy time for me as these records both rule and represent diametrically opposed positions in the prog spectrum, as Dream Theater's hyper-accurate virtuosity signifies a melody calculator while Thought Industry's semi-comprehensible mid-budget drama-prog was most likely the product of adventurously drugged minds unable to even operate a calculator.

Commercially suicidal, Thought Industry adorned their first two (and only true) records with Dali paintings, and capitalized only their moniker's O, like this thOught industry. Also, they credited their work as ahem "sonic architecture" and assigned production duties for S4I to Skinny Puppy producer David Oglivie (with great results except for the muddy, grating mix and the occasional performance that could be generously described as raw). So you can see already, we're talking majorly pretentious, and that's before you get to the lyric sheet, which displayed the sung lyrics peppered with quotes from like Shakespeare and divided into acts by roman numeral. Thought Industry sold low even for Metal Blade but I can''t help thinking that the post-Tool/-Mastodon world may have tilted a bit, revealing some hitherto unnoticed fertile ground for the seeds of Cynic- or D.R.I.-esque (not Anvil-esque) retro-active appreciation. For all their egghead trappings, their music certainly deserves lots.


Anonymous said...

Thought Industry has been my favorite band for years after a friend played me Horsepowered from Assassins Toads and Godsflesh. Those first two records are some of the most drugged out, crazed metal out there.

Their entire catalog is brilliant even if the latter stuff isn't as heavy. It's moody and dark, still quirky and progressive, just not metal which is probably why they didn't sell well being on Metal Blade. They fucking tore shit up live.

Check out Cosmonaut for the latest music by Oberlin. It's a few years old now but it's all he's done besides the TASM LAB stuff which is even more over the top, musical theater'esque art rock.

Anonymous said...

Yep, TI was awesome. And they're not pretentious, i think founders Donaldson and Oberlin walked it as they talked it. Anyway check out Donaldsons I Am Spoonbender too. Not metal- way beyond metal. It's probably even more forward looking and just as amazing.