Released: 2000, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Ah yes, the highly anticipated new album from Tourniquet! With six regular albums, two EP’s, one acoustic album, a best-of compilation, and five home videos, these guys should be a household name! And if you have been following the band since the early ‘90s, you know they have gone through some musical changes. Many fans were disappointed with Crawl to China, the band’s fifth album release in 1997, as it lacked the classic heaviness and aggressiveness found on earlier works. But Tourniquet teased us with “Trivializing the Momentous…”, a newer and forceful song tacked on to the end of 1998’s Acoustic Archives. This song was a trip back to thrash, and fans loved it. So with Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm, the trio has decided to make an entire album’s worth of classic Tourniquet metal! Have they succeeded? You bet!
This album fits perfectly between 1992’s Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance and 1994’s Vanishing Lessons, their third and fourth albums respectively. Microscopic… is more heavy, aggressive, and technical than Vanishing…, yet not as over-the-top, complicated, and spontaneous as the thrash masterpiece Pathogenic…. It has been claimed that Microscopic… is the most physically demanding Tourniquet album so far. But I must disagree with this assertion. I think due to the lineup changes, and the fact that Tourniquet now exists as a three-piece, it is a little hard to top Pathogenic… and earlier works. Granted, drummer and only original member Ted Kirkpatrick has always written most of Tourniquet’s material. But without the skills of former members, or for that matter, a full-time bassist and second guitarist to bolster the lineup, I do not think they can pull it off…not that they cannot physically accomplish the task, but that they lack that additional creativity to push themselves beyond the limits. This is nothing against guitarist Aaron Guerra, because the guy totally shreds, so much that you would swear he’s been with the band since day one. And Luke Easter is a killer vocalist, although I do miss the wide variety and different techniques employed by former vocalist Guy Ritter on older material, for example the high-register (“Ready or Not”) plus distorted and almost sickening vocals (“Broken Chromosomes”). But just like the Guy Ritter/Gary Lenaire combo of old, the Luke Easter/Aaron Guerra duo does very well in keeping the singing/screaming tradition alive. So overall, you will find a variety of vocals on Microscopic….
Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm is one heavy, classically-influenced, head-banging monstrosity. But there are parts where the band plays extremely gentle…perhaps a little too soft. And every song contains an abundance of guitar riffs and dynamics. In one song they may play as fast as Slayer, and the next as slow as Solitude Aeturnus…and many times they do it within the same song. Even the blast beat makes another appearance! Together, these aspects show what it is that I appreciate about Tourniquet so much: their ability to play without any boundaries. They go even further on the new album by using a bit of cello and flute in a few songs. And like early albums, Microscopic… was produced by good ol’ Bill Metoyer! So you can bet your ass it sounds excellent!
If you still have not heard Tourniquet, and you are a fan of thrash, technical, or progressive metal, you must give your ears a chance! But one thing is certain: you need an open mind with Tourniquet! Something that I must bring up is that, yes…Tourniquet is a Christian metal band. Why people must focus on this is beyond me. If fact, many people seem to be turned off by Christian metal in general. What is wrong with creating songs with positive messages backed by heavy music? Tourniquet never gets preachy in their lyrics, and I admire their lyrical composition. I am open-minded enough to be able to listen to Deicide, Tourniquet, Believer, Infestdead, Living Sacrifice, and Dissection all in the same day. You should be too. Please check out Tourniquet’s extensive web site at http://www.tourniquet.net/
where you can even buy every single CD and video!