This one is a little weird. I first heard this band on a Celtic Frost tribute album, playing "Morbid Tales". Their song was frenzied and violent but a little strange due to the use of a drum machine. I assumed this was due to not being able to find a drummer in time to record the song. Apparently not, as the drum machine is back on this album.
Inner Thought is a band founded by guitarist Bobby Sadzak, formerly of Slaughter (the good Canadian band, not the shitty American band), although the band does not bear much of a resemblance at all to his previous one. Inner Thought plays crunchy, choppy death metal with some interesting industrial metal moments. The drum machine is only one part of this. The drum machine is obvious in that the drums sound too perfect and sterile, not at all human and organic. The album also features some keyboard flourishes and other elements giving the overall sound a kind of mechanical vibe. The band sounds a little like Demanufacture-era Fear Factory, but with more of a pronounced death metal influence. The album basically feels like being inside a steel factory where all of the tasks are being performed by machines and robots. It's kind of an eerie feel.
The vocals for the most part are fairly typical of earlier death metal: deep, low-pitched growls, although there is the occasional blackened shriek from the vocalist, particularly on the second track "Sanctioned Situations". These unexpected moments serve to snatch the listener's attention before returning to the robotic riffs. They also incorporate some random female vocals which feature some heavy effects to give the music an occasional glimpse of light in the otherwise dank factory. The real "what the fuck?" moment comes in the sixth track with what sounds like a rapper contributing. I am not a big fan of the inclusion of rapping in metal, so this is kind of a turnoff for me.
The riffs are heavy, with a deep bottom end. The songs are mostly short, with the entire album clocking in at only about 34 minutes. That's pretty nice actually. If there's one thing Fear Factory could have improved on, it's shortening their albums and not meandering so much. There is the occasional moment where the only thing heard is a lilting guitar solo, but it will quickly revert to the mechanized riffing once again. The production is also clean, emphasizing the sterile environment forged by the riffs and drum machine. The album does not sound like anything humans could create.
The beginning half of the album is filled with decent songs and heavy riffs. The latter half tends to lag just a bit, which is the major thing keeping this from being rated more favorably. There is also the above mentioned rap part in the sixth song "Autodogmatic". This is made up for in the barn burner follow-up "Rack of Lethargy" which features a fast thrash riff underneath some keyboard noodling and frequent samples. The last song, the title track, then slowly fades out.
This album has a definite science fiction feel to it, again similar to the aforementioned Fear Factory. Inner Thought's factory is lot more fearsome though than the boys from California. And this is coming from someone who was a huge fan of the band in his formative years as a metalhead. Unfortunately, there just is not enough here to really grab hold of the listener and cause them to come back frequently. It's an interesting listen, just not essential.