Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm


Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


I've been listening to a lot of paradoxes lately. The first was Japanese death metal, which we talked about in the Hellchild review. Now that I've got that idea digested, let's throw another one at you: Christian death metal.

No, really. Christian death metal. Sounds about as likely as a lasting marriage for Elizabeth Taylor, doesn't it? But there are indeed bands who follow this strange career path. May God have mercy on us all.

One such act, Tourniquet, has been banging it out for some time now. Their latest disc, Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm, is spiritual without being overtly preachy - except, at times, against some members of their own genre.

Thinking about it, calling Tourniquet - vocalist Luke Easter, guitarist/vocalist Aaron Guerra and drummer Ted Kirkpatrick - death metal isn't quite correct. Sure, they know when it's time to thrash it out. But musically, there's a balance on this disc that works well at some times, and seems to be terribly out of place at other times.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Take the opening track "Besprinkled In Scarlet Horror," a track that happily pounds away for a while until - wham! - you hear the Gothic strains of a pipe organ. If this weren't enough, the last movement of the song throws things into reverse as Tourniquet turns the song almost into a light-pop round with the vocals. I don't know what they were thinking, but they were better off leaving this song following one style path for the whole trip.

That being said, there are moments on this track where Easter and crew slam other death metal acts for their lyrical and cover art content ("Words verbose, gory to what end do they serve? / Or images vivid scarlet horrors absurd") and speed for the pure sake of playing fast ("You say this pace beckons evil spirits / But I care not what you call it / To me it's two hundred beats per minute"). Nice touch.

Tourniquet could have commited commercial suicide by being overtly preachy in their music - something they come close to doing on "Besprinkled In Scarlet Horror". But for the most part, the religious imagery is kept low-key, and utilized well on tracks like "The Tomb Of Gilgamesh" and "Servant Of The Bones".

If there's any real drawback to Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm, it's that this disc isn't the easiest to approach, no matter what your views on the specific genre Tourniquet follows. I think it took me seven listens before I could get all the way through this disc without becoming musically overwhelmed. And I'll admit, the more you listen to this disc, the more positive things you'll find about it. But I question whether anyone will really want to put that kind of time and effort into what is essentially a heavy metal CD.

I don't know whether Tourniquet is geared towards commercial success, or what lies ahead for them on the map. But if they want to reach a wider audience, they need to make CDs that are more approachable and easier to swallow in one listening. Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm eventually proves itself to be a worthy disc, but it takes far too long for that fact to emerge.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.