Evil Dr. Smith : ...I do not care whether the music is a satanic anti-religious black metal-inferno by Dark Funeral or Christian, spiritual thrash by Tourniquet. I really do not care about the background of how and why the music has been made. In music it's all about enthusiasm, intensity, emotions, authenticity and originality. If one band sings about the power of God and the other sings about the dark powers of his red opponent.... I do not give a shit. As long as you are convinced about something and sing with a lot of passion about it, then atheistic persons like me will get the message. Note: the last CD of Tourniquet was entitled as my personal best CD of 2000. Debtor to this are the killer drums of drumstick-virtuoso Ted Kirkpatrick: a drum monster which due to the religious background of Tourniquet still has not got the same status as Gene Hoglan, Dave Lombardo, Neal Peart or Terry Bozzio. The secular world is inexorable.
3 years have gone by and now finally a successor to 'Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm' has been released. The first thing I noticed was the simple, you can call it ugly, cover. Well well, you could have paid a little more attention to that, boys! The second thing is that the song titles are relatively easy. I could understand all the English words in the song titles! A very big difference with their bible-like interpretation of medical encyclopaedic terms in Carcass-like song titles on their previous albums like 'Psycho Surgery' and 'Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance'. Fortunately the songs are a-commercially long: apart from two 'normal' songs, the remaining 7 songs all last between 6 and 9½ minutes. All musical is again written by Ted and the song texts based on the Old Testament are equally divided over Ted and vocalist Luke Easter (which reminds me a bit of Devon Graves/Buddy Lackey in Convulted Absolutes'). I was hoping they were taking an actual political standpoint with 'Healing Waters Of The Tigris' due to the war in Iraq, but no: it's about the Mesopotamic city Nineveh which was crushed by the Tigris 600 years before Christ. Or is this an allegoric explanation of how they think Saddam will do in the war? I will ask Ted about it. (So I hope I can give you more Tourniquet-information next month via an interview).
In comparison to their predecessor 'Microscopic…', guitarist Aaron Guera left and bassist Steve Andino became a full member of the band. They are still a trio, but without a guitarist. They solved this problem by letting no one less than Marty Friedman and Bruce Franklin (which can express his doom love in the heavy 'In Death We Rise') play all guitar lines. But how does this full hour of melodic thrash sound? Well, as an unstoppable flood of riffs, riffs and more riffs. When listening to this album for the first time it was kind of chaotic and I lost the track in this eternal riff-sea. But as usual you will find logic in this riff-sea after listening to this album a couple of times. No vicious labyrinth of Escher, but a mathematical Mondriaan with the chaotic disorder of a Salvador Dali: you will have to stare for a while, but you will find out it is right. But after listening a couple of times I was less enthusiastic than I had hoped. Maybe it had to do with my development in musical interest (I discovered Tourniquet in the beginning of the '90s when there was not much 'thrash'), but goose bumps I got with 'Psycho Surgey', 'Microscopic..' and 'Pathogenic' did not occur much with this album. But I had a good feeling about the quality of this record, but not the feeling that I had some legendary material in my CD player. But that might have been caused by my disappointment of the production and Ted also drums less intense, or I should say: more fitting with the songs. Of course, it is still an impressive show of power ('Architeuthis' and 'Healing Waters..'!), but sadly (!) Ted is not going completely loose like before all that often. Besides the cello, which also plays a worthy part, it's time to discuss the guitars. Big names and a beautiful performance, but I miss the extra touch. It's not only about 'perfect playing' but also something of their 'own' which must be put into Tourniquets sound, like Aaron Guerra always managed to do. Well, that's the disadvantage of guest musicians. However, it would be fun if Ted and Jeff Waters would play guitars, Steve DiGiorgio on bass and Phil Rind (Sacred Reich) would work together... I think that would create a nice, melodic thrash album!
No, my CD of the year would not be this seventh CD of Tourniquet and to be honest I had expected somewhat more (then again, my expectations were extremely high). That does not mean this is not a killer album of melodic thrash metal! Do not let there be any doubts about that, understood!!?