Released: 2014, Pathogenic Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Tourniquet is a band that has been around for quite a long time. Having been around since 1990, they are not a band to be quietly resting on their laurels. Band mastermind Ted Kirkpatrick has kept the band going and by releasing their latest album Onward to Freedom, they show no signs of slowing down.
For the album, Kirkpatrick is the only person who is on every song (playing drums), as there are a huge collective of guest musicians that would take too long to mention here playing all the other instruments on the album. This is a bit odd as previous albums would have some guest musicians, but the vocals would be done by one person. This feels more like an Ayreon album in that sense.
Musically, I enjoyed this album. The drumming was top notch (as I would expect from Kirkpatrick) and the vocalist that come in bring a new flavour to every track, making it seem like a new song that differs from the previous one. Although, the narration by Ed Asner is a bit out of place musically, but otherwise it works for the theme of the album.
Speaking of which, the theme of the album is animal cruelty and injustice. It’s an interesting concept for sure, but this is an album that feels like it hits you over the head repeatedly with the theme. First full track I get the picture. After four tracks I’m getting sick of the theme.
This is not to say I don’t care for the theme, I just found it grating and forced here. Every track is forcing the theme is such a way that you don’t want lyrics in the song. The interludes that come in are a breath of fresh air, as you don’t get any sort of “in your face” lyrical push. Although, I found the instrumentals to have little to no place on the album, but to break up the songs with lyrics, I had no problem here.
I believe that if this was an album that was all instrumental with a few songs with lyrics through in, I would have been fine with this album and probably given it a higher rating. As I stated, musically this is a solid release. It just gets bogged down by a lyrical theme that goes too far out of its way to be prominent. If it was scaled back, this would once again be a much more enjoyable album.
Although, if you enjoy the lyrical themes of animal cruelty and injustice, I would say give it to listen. Otherwise, you may find the lyrical themes to be forced or contrived, much as I did when it came to listening to this album.