I have, since discovering them in my early teens, always been a big Tourniquet fan.
This may shock some of you since this band is a Christian metal band. However, I think that labeling it like that is like saying that someone makes Christian spark plugs. Think about it. Does believing in Jesus automatically give you the ability to make a superior or inferior spark plug to, say, a buddhist? Or a Satanist? Music is an art form, and great compositions, impeccable performances, and raw talent will ALWAYS trump political, evangelical, and personal agendas.
I am Agnostic. I don’t agree with Tourniquet’s view on spirituality at all. That does not make the band kick any less ass though.
I like Tourniquet because they usually deliver a quality product. Ted Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite drummers of all time, and I have no doubt that he would have been a household name like Mike Portnoy or Neil Pert had he chosen to go a secular route for his career. I’m serious…this guy is freaking amazing.
And here we are…years later since their last offering with a brand new album.
The interesting thing about this album is that it is, in a way, by the fans for the fans. They raised the money to create this by pledges on Kickstarter. What a moist idea. Enough people wanted a new Tourniquet album bad enough that they helped the band raise the money to create it. This is even more astonishing considering we live in an age when so much music is pirated and stolen. We live in an age where it is hard for artists to make a significant amount of money doing music due to the changes in the old model of business. Heck, I have two records coming out on two different labels for two different bands shortly, and I bet I will not make over the next two years what I can make in a month at my day job. This is a far cry from the eighties. And yet, Tourniquet fans helped make this album happen out of the gate. This is a true testament to the impact this band has had on those that enjoy it.
Make no mistake…this is not a poorly produced, or underfunded album. Antiseptic Bloodbath sounds like a major label release because the band spent the 20 G’s or so that they raised to ensure this. In fact, I think the production is BETTER than some of their Metal Blade releases.
That said, there are several really good things on this record, but there also some issues that are not so great. Lets have a look.
The album cover is great. I don’t even believe in Jesus and want to buy this T-shirt.
The performances on this are awesome. I really liked some of the vocal melody choices that Luke employed. The chorus of Uncertain Wings comes readily to mind…and the Tomb of Gilgimish-y sounding stuff on Lost Langauge of the Andamans is just awesome. The guitar tone is brutal. I like it…it has that go-punch-something-that-bleeds crunch that everybody loves. The drums…they were…meh.
Hahahaha…just kidding. The drums were so moist that they could not have been any more saturated with badassary.
But most importantly, the album gives you what you are expecting to hear from a Tourniquet record. You would think that this would be a given, but sadly, it is not. Do you remember when Metallica came out with the album “Load” and all the fans were pissed. Why were they upset? It was because they were expecting to hear at best a new Master of Puppets or Justice and at worst another black album. Instead they got a hard blues rock record. This violates a thing called brand loyalty. I like Pepsi. If I go to the convenient store and buy a Pepsi and it suddenly tastes like Mountain Dew I’m going to be pissed off. This is not because I have a problem with Mountain Dew or Mountain Dew is bad, it is because I wanted a freaking Pepsi.
Tourniquet did that to me not once…but twice. After Pathogenic, the next album Tourniquet did was Vanishing Lessons. This was a very different record for them, but it was an understandable shift as they brought in a new vocalist. It was still Tourniquet. However, then they released an E.P. called “Carry The Wounded.” This did not sound like Tourniquet at all. Where is my Pepsi.
They redeemed themselves with “The Collected Works” where they had two new songs that were fabulous. They were heavy and had cool harmonies and all the stuff that makes me want to listen to Tourniquet. So my brother and I were very excited for the full length studio album to come out. When I heard “Crawl to China,” I was not very happy. Where is my Pepsi. It was like being told you had won the lottery and then when you got the check in the mail finding out that it was millions all right…but all in monopoly money. People misunderstand this sometimes. It is not about whether the songs themselves are good or bad, but the type of song in question. Compare “Psycho Surgery” from their second album to “Bats”from Crawl to China. They are not even in the same genre. If I buy a Pepsi…please give me a Pepsi.
I had just about given up on the band when Microscopic came out. Holy crap. This is the album that should have come out after Pathogenic. It had everything on it that I loved about the band. Where Moth and Rust Destroy was the next one and it carried the torch in the same way. Tourniquet was back. Drums, vocals, heavy sound, meter changes, harmonies, interesting song structure, inspired and unique compositions…good stuff. Go check it out if you never have. If you are a drummer and you have never heard this stuff, you are missing out.
Antiseptic Bloodbath has all of these things. Luke’s vocals are unique and interesting, the guitars are heavy and they have the cello dude again. Whats not to like? They still don’t have a dedicated bass player which is kinda strange to me (probably since I am a bass player) but Tourniquet is not about bass playing anyway. It’s about badass drums and classical based, technically proficient, melt your face off music. This album delivers that for you.
This is the only album I have ever heard where the track listing has hurt the product. Again this is my personal taste, but the two WEAKEST entries on the album are the first two tracks. Track 3 is not that strong to me either (but my wife liked it…so who knows). The last half of the album is phenomenal. I love 86 bullets. Track 7 should have been track 1. They should have made the title track toward the end. Why?
They have not released a record in like nine years. They needed to come out of the gate swinging hard with the best stuff they had. There are songs on here that are some of the most Tourniquety sounding tunes since Pathogenic but they are all buried on the last half. If you only made it four songs in before you went “Meh…it’s O.K… I’ll jam out to something else instead” you would miss out on some of the really moist stuff later. I think that 7 out of 10 songs being great make an album OUTSTANDING. It is tough to keep it in perspective when those songs are tracks 4 through 10. First impressions are important. Tourniquet albums are like a box of chocolates…you never know what you are going to get. You just have to hope you grab a piece of “Ruminating Virulence” instead of “Bats.”
Another example is the first track on Microscopic. The first track had me excited and relieved that this was not going to suck within a few seconds. Whether or not you liked the compositions was up to you, the important thing was that this was a Tourniquet album. If it had been another band, I would have immediately thought “Man…these guys listened to a whole bunch of Tourniquet back in the day.” That is a good thing.
The first track “Chart Of The Elements” sounds like a Tourniquet song, but I did not really care for the song. It just sounded silly to me. Same thing for Antiseptic Bloodbath (which would have been better if they would not have super-glued “Onward Christian Soldiers” onto the end of it. Again, my wife just told me she likes that track as well, except for the above stated super-glued part. So maybe you will too. Who knows.)
However, if the biggest complaint I can come up with is that they did not put the seven completely bad ass songs first on the album, then you can be rest assured that this is a GREAT entry in the Tourniquet cannon.
Go buy it today.
Buy it here: