"Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm" (Metal Blade; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Don't let the unwieldy title fool you as Tourniquet have crafted a great set of songs on "Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm." The broad scope of the tunes cover a lot of ground on their sixth full-length of new material - this is Tourniquet's first set of new material in nearly five years.

Tourniquet plays a thrash-laden blend of heavy metal; a stirring mix of Iron Maiden, Galactic Cowboys, and Souls At Zero comes immediately to mind. The level of musicianship is quite high - there are plenty of skills here to make your eardrums stand at attention. Hyper-speed time changes, unexpected variations in tone, infusion of organ, and potent production define the return of Tourniquet back to the metal scene. Eight of the eleven tracks exceed six minutes in length - the elongated tunes allow Tourniquet to flex their musical chops in a myriad of ways.  "Drinking From The Poisoned Well" is particularly memorable. The stellar riffing and musical interplay of "The Tomb Of Gilamesh" will summon memories of thrash metal's heyday. The mechanized "Indulgence By Proxy" and the pulverizing title track are also worth mentioning. 

Tourniquet is one of the few Christian thrash bands in existence; Christian overtones are evident in the lyrics and spirit of "Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm." Each song is given a reference to the Bible and other biblical references make their way into the songs.  Tourniquet chooses to mix their beliefs in their songs in a subdued way that complements their broad lyrical subject matter. The peerless lyrics lambaste metal bands for their excessive use of gore in their artwork, the cyclical nature of social hatred, the power of redemption, the calm of forgiveness, and often includes a sci-fi tangent. 

The interesting artwork does a great job in describing the lyrical themes on the disc. The band's position is that we all create our own reality - this reality is our own narrow view of the larger world around us. The band claims that our parochial views go a long way in preventing society from making this a great place to live.  Additionally, the lyrics reflect many social concerns within the framework of daily life. 

The vocals are usually above average, but the best traits are the variety - at no time do the vocals get stuck in a rut or seem one-dimensional. The vocals run the spectrum from smooth legato passages to more typically harsh sections. 

Most of the tracks on "Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm" are above average. Some tracks fall prey to average metal, but overall this is a pleasing disc to listen to. Tourniquet's technical assets exceed their habit of losing focus on occasion. 

"Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm" was produced by Bill Metoyer (Fates Warning, Destiny's End) and Tourniquet. 

Tourniquet is Luke Easter on vocals, Aaron Guerra on guitar and backing vocals, and Ted Kirkpatrick on drums. Guerra and Kirkpatrick share bass duties; Kirkpatrick also contributes harmony guitar on one track. Other musicians include Cameron Stone (cello on two tracks), Jennifer Hall (flute on two tracks), and Steve Rowe (backing vocals). Kirkpatrick wrote eight songs while Easter and Guerra teamed up to write the other three. The songs written by drummer Ted Kirkpatrick are the most interesting; his songs are a bit progressive and bit left-of-mainstream. The tunes penned by Easter and Guerra are more typical of mainstream metal - simpler, harder rocking, but collectively less satisfying.

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"Crawl to China" (Diadem; 1997)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Tourniquet is a Los Angeles trio that produces thrash metal. Labeled under “Christian Metal” they were lumped into the same trenches as Mortification and Deliverance. Their chief influence is Iron Maiden although they have been known to play unplugged shows. This disc is a musical roller coaster, with tracks that stomp ten foot holes in the ground and campfire songs nestled in between. I found the flow uneven but the music very good.

Ted Kirkpatrick is the main songwriter and, with its religious overtone and thrash underbelly, some might not even give this release a passing glance. 

The music is well done throughout. The guitar is very good in parts. A bit of sifting through the songs would probably be more of a task if you didn’t have a seasoned Tourniquet guide to help you with the song structures. The drums are the driving force behind most of the songs. The lyrics are quirky at times and very thought- provoking at others.

The best cuts are “Claustrospelunker,” “Crawl To China,” and “Crank The Knife.”

Tourniquet: Luke Easter – vocals; Aaron Guerra – guitar; Ted Kirkpatrick – drums.

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"Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance" (Intense Records; 1992)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

The thing I like about Tourniquet is that they are Christian metal, but their sound is so unconventional that the vocals, guitar and drums do not emit what many might think Christian music should sound like. That’s because, even though there is a religious message, it's vehicle consists of five guys who blend early Metallica, vintage Stryper and progressive metal to produce some of the baddest music this side of your speakers.

Vocalist Guy Ritter can sound like five different singers including Dave Mustaine, the guy from Green Jello (Jelly) and even a guy with a mechanical larynx(!). He also has a mean metal voice on a few songs plus puts harmony to good use, too. 

Ted Kirkpatrick is the chief song crafter and writer; his genius can be maddening at times.

The guitar is ripping and tries to buzz saw your head in half on a few songs. “Phantom Limb” has some sweet sounds via the gitfiddle. There are more time changes that can be counted and, hence, things never get predictable. If you like a guitar that goes in four different directions then this album needs to be in your music library.

This disc is a musical barrage because the band puts everything in and mixes it up into so many styles and changes that boredom is impossible. There are a couple of instrumentals here as well so it shows that Tourniquet can communicate even without vocals. The music speaks for itself on these tracks: “Impending Embolism” and “Decent Into The Maelstrom.”

Tourniquet: Guy Ritter – vocals; Ted Kirkpatrick – drums and percussion; Gary Lenaire – lead and rhythm guitar, vocals; Erik Mendez – lead and rhythm guitar, vocals; Victor Macias – bass guitar, vocals.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 28 Aug 2022 14:16:30 -0400 .