Ted Kirkpatrick's vision and metal love child, Tourniquet, has endured a number of lineup changes in their 20+ years of existence. The current lineup consists of Kirkpatrick on drums, Luke Easter handling main vocals, and Aaron Guerra on guitars and vocals. The latest installment, Antiseptic Bloodbath, was recently unleashed on the world independently after raising Kickstarter funds to make the project a reality. The quality of this release (I purchased through iTunes) is overwhelmingly tight in musicianship and production. I was a fan of them back in the early to late '90's, but had gotten out of touch after Carry The Wounded EP (1995). I knew they had been signed to Metal Blade Records for a significant period after that, but wasn't as deep in metal at that point. I digress.
Known for using uncharacteristic percussive rhythms and incorporating elements of classical music, Ted Kirkpatrick has made a powerful heavenly metal release that at times is somewhat dark, but is consistently in-your-face as far as progressive metal goes. A virtual smorgasbord of some of metal's finest guitarists lend their talents. Bruce Franklin, of Trouble fame lends his guitar to the first track, "Chart Of The Elements (Lincchostbllis)". As is characteristic of much of Kirkpatrick's lyrical content, where he ties in elements of medical terminology, he uses an imaginary classroom setting to point back to God rather than relying on science and the theories that many claim to be infallibly accurate:
"The chart, hung on the wall of the school - learn every element, the golden rule // Written in stone, we were told it was true – to question it would make you look like a fool // A shocking discovery was recently made, some facts were messed up on the chart we obeyed // An error was found in the weights of these ten, so tear down the chart – let’s start over again"
"God lives, God is truth, God breathes, God is truth // God loves, God is truth, God lives, God is truth // Lattice energy, orbital properties, allotropes, isotopes, vaporized particles // Lattice energy, orbital properties, allotropes, isotopes, covalent radius"
Pat Travers plays lead guitar on the title track, 'Antiseptic Bloodbath', a song that "...speaks of the way our society prefers to sanitize brutality. We can have our tidy Christian faith, or continue with no faith at all, as long as we don't consider the painful bloody price that was paid for us." (taken from Wikipedia). This song, like many of their songs throughout their extensive discography, speaks somewhat of animal rights, a consistently major social issue for Kirkpatrick. Taken from their own bio: "We use animals for our food, profit, and amusement, but would rather not know about the needless, often systematic suffering that is inflicted on them by a callous and greedy humanity. 'Don't upset my comfort zone — brutal truth, leave me alone.' The great news is that we have the ability to choose. This album encourages us to make good and humane choices in our daily lives that reflect these images."
Other notable guitarists lend their chops/riffs to individual tracks: Marty Friedman of Megadeth fame ("The Maiden Who Slept in the Glass Coffin"), Karl Sanders of the American Egyptian-themed death metal band Nile ("Chamunda Temple Stampede"), Santiago Dobles of the tech-prog-fusion metal band Aghora ("86 Bullets", "Lost Language of the Andamans"), as well as the fine chops of Tourniquet's own Aaron Guerra throughout. Of note too, Kirkpatrick uses cello, violin, trumpet, and spoken word (Pastor Bob Beeman on "Fed by Ravens" and "Eaten by Vultures" as an example) throughout this fluid release.
Not one track is weak in the whole batch. This metal stew serves up a chockfull righteous in-yer-face goodness that refuses to let up. Replay-ability is necessary. Listen if you dare. Be changed upon hearing it.
10 of 10 clicks
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