Where Moth And Rust Destroy
Metal Blade, 2003
REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/13/2003
Tourniquet is a Christian metal trio. In the CD inlay, the band includes this Bible quote, which I assume is where the band got its name: Psalm 147:3: "He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. 'He is our Tourniquet...'"
The permanent members of this band are drummer/rhythm guitarist Ted Kirkpatrick, vocalist Luke Easter, and bassist Steve Andino. But this release is clearly powered by Kirkpatrick; he has sole words and music credit on all but one track and on that track, "A Ghost at the Wheel," he wrote the music while vocalist Easter wrote the words. This release features appearances by three guitarists who play all the solos. The majority of the solos are performed by former Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. I recommend this CD to fans of Friedman's guitar playing.
Starting out with the title track, it's quickly evident that Friedman isn't going to be the one to make or break this record: it's going to be whether vocalist Luke Easter can sustain the personality he conveys through his vocal delivery. It's wrong to say he sounds like Mike Muir from Suicidal Tendencies, because he doesn't really, but that's the only name that kept popping in my head. I even put in Lights, Camera, Revolution and sat there saying, "Easter doesn't sound like Muir." Yet, when I hear "Give Me Your Money" on Lights, I hear Easter.
The material here consists primarily of longer thrash metal anthems, most in the six-to-nine-minute range. The band is driven by the interesting drumming of Kirkpatrick whose clean drum tone and slick snare fills are impressive. Bassist Andino locks in with Kirkpatrick, especially on track three, "Drawn and Quartered," which starts out with an intense snare drum work out for the first 50 seconds. Then the song shifts to a mid-tempo rock song with thunderous tom fills. At the 1:40 mark, the song shifts again with crowd samples, then the song goes to double-time and thrashes out. It's interesting that the band chose to put so many different ideas within a single song. It seems like they should have played each section a bit longer to develop the theme more before shifting. By the time guitarist Friedman lets loose, though, the band has me hooked.
"A Ghost at the Wheel" sounds like something from the '80s with Kirkpatrick soloing over a relatively simple riff. Then around the :42 mark, the band shifts into a laid-back groove. This song sets up my favorite track on this CD, the nearly seven-minute "Architeuthis." This song, like "Drawn and Quartered" sounds like two songs smushed together. The first 1:42 and the thrash section that follows it don't really fit together. It's like they had two ideas, neither were developed extensively, but they liked both sections so they put them together. I think it fits. It provides the most musical satisfaction on this release.
Until you get to the lengthy "Healing Waters of the Tigris" which tells the story about a civilization building a city by the Tigris river until "God's judgment on that fateful day - a terrible price to pay/ The greatest city of all - Ninevah - with towering city walls/ The awesome power of the swollen river Tigris - caused that massive city to fall." These lyrics lead up to a blistering Friedman solo with Kirkpatrick and Andino locking in. Then Kirkpatrick takes a solo, with a lot of double bass and fancy hi-hat work, leading up to a second Friedman solo. This song then calms down, a bit, around the 5:30 mark, and spaces out the guitar notes in what can't be called a calm section, but definitely less hectic than the previous few minutes. This groove continues for a few more minutes, allowing Friedman to stretch out even more than previous tracks. Kirkpatrick keeps his drumming interesting with intricate tom-tom parts which eventually lead up to the original pattern returning. This song is an excellent example of what modern thrash bands could be doing with their material. You can have a 9:32 thrash metal song and it can capture your attention for the entire song.
The CD ends with the slow, plodding "In Death We Rise." It is probably my least favorite on the release. The CD booklet says there are lyrics, but after repeated listenings, I hear groanings, not words. The tempo is a snail's pace and doesn't fit with the other exciting, faster material. I suppose it makes the band "more diverse" than a band that plays the same tempo for an hour. It just doesn't seem to fit in the band's musical vision for this CD.
In conclusion, I like Tourniquet. I think Kirkpatrick is an excellent drummer, Easter's vocals are good, even though he made me dig out a ST release, and Andino sounds good as well. I think the band would be a good addition to a mid-range arena tour. Musically, they can hold their own.