Tourniquet – Antiseptic Bloodbath

By Taylor C. on August-16-2012 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , , | Share

Tourniquet – Antiseptic Bloodbath
Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/54
4.6 (10 votes)

Artist: Tourniquet
Title: Antiseptic Bloodbath
Label: Pathogenic Records
Release Date: 8/15/12
Reviewer: Taylor C.

Tracklisting:

  1. Chart of the Elements (Lincchostbllis)
  2. Antiseptic Bloodbath
  3. The Maiden Who Slept in the Glass Coffin
  4. Chamunda Temple Stampede
  5. Flowering Cadaver
  6. 86 Bullets
  7. Duplicitous Endeavor
  8. Lost language of the Andamans
  9. Carried Away On Uncertain Wings
  10. Fed By Ravens, Eaten By Vultures

An Englishman wearing a monocle once told me: “Good things come to those who wait; tally-ho-jolly-wot-wot.” This age-old adage was not true of the bus we eventually boarded, but it does hold some water when it comes to Tourniquet. It’s been 23 years since Kirkpatrick and his troop first entered the metal arena, and almost ten years since they released their 2003 album, Where Moth And Dust Destroy. The band has been dormant for a while (even years after the announcement of a new album), but they have finally awakened and set free the behemoth Antiseptic Bloodbath.

You know those albums that have that ONE long song that combines an assortment of different musical ingredients to form something epic?—Antiseptic Bloodbath has ten of them. Give or take, the average track clocks in at about 6 minutes; and due to such a wide variety of instruments, vocal styles, and musical elements, each song is distinctive from the others, but still manages to thread common themes in order to make the album whole. Because of their individuality, I could dissect each song, but, for the sake of not boring you, I’ll try to generalize. (Does anyone even read this deep into a music review?—Hello? Send Help.)

Let me regurgitate some facts. The primary elements holding this album’s framework together include: influences from classical music, hard rock, speed, thrash, neoclassical, heavy, technical death and progressive metal; guest musicians like Marty Friedman (Megadeth), Karl Sanders (Nile), Pat Travers, Bruce Franklin (Trouble) and Santiago Dobles (Aghora); cellos, trumpets, violins, and basic orchestral textures; and, naturally, the members of Tourniquet themselves: Ted Kirkpatrick, Luke Easter and Aaron Guerra. Kirkpatrick, the mastermind, organizes all of these ingredients to create ten tracks that consist of blistering percussion, perfectly-placed breakdowns, sweeping arpeggiation, beautiful melodies, amazing guitar solos and countless riffs that would have your grandma headbanging along.

While, admittedly, the album is amazing, I don’t think it’s entirely free from criticism. When listening for the first time, I was excited about the unusual vocal variety (Easter and Guerra create a range from fast screams to haunting cleans to whispering, almost black-metal, hisses); however, I imagine that some listeners will find them difficult to swallow. Glancing through a few iTunes reviews will give that much away.

The only problem I, personally, had with the album was with some of the lyrics. I say “some” because, generally speaking, I liked them. Through whimsical creativity, they borrow from Biblical and modern events to shed light on the problems of overconfidence, human depravity and animal cruelty. Tourniquet isn’t as explicit as, say, Cattle Decapitation (a secular band with a similar message), but they still pack a tough punch with animal-centered tracks like “Fed By Ravens, Eaten By Vultures” and “86 Bullets.” Tourniquet reminds Christians that we have a Biblical duty to protect and care for animals. It’s as simple as that.

Back to the problem. As mentioned, I love the passion that the band has for both Christianity and animal rights, but in songs like “Antiseptic Bloodbath,” I think they fail to mix the two. The first half of the song concerns Jesus on the cross, while the second half awkwardly jumps to animals in a slaughterhouse. This lyrically portrays the album art, but are they trying to compare Christ to hamburgers or what? It seems like a very blurry allegory that never comes into focus. Also, there are a lot of clichés, forced end-rhymes, and one inconsistent metaphor that compares salvation to the story of Snow White. According to the lyrics, the sinner is Snow White asleep in her coffin, Christ is The Prince, and the vocalist invites the sinner to “open up the door.” Well, it’s been a while since I cracked open my copy of The Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but Snow White couldn’t open up the door because she was asleep. (Theological debate, anyone?) These are just minor details, though, and hardly subtract from the brilliance of the entire album.

Overall: After nine years of silence, Tourniquet treats their listeners with the finest array of metal anyone could ask for. Fans will have different opinions concerning the lyrics and the vocals—but, musically, most will agree that Antiseptic Bloodbath is a bizarrely beautiful masterpiece. Combining their thrashy and progressive neoclassical sound with the talents of several guest musicians, Tourniquet will satisfy both old and new fans alike. It’s hard to say anything about this album because it’s so good. (I give it a 4.99999). If you don’t have it, go get it. If you do have it, run to the mirror and give yourself a congratulatory wink. You are a winner.

RIYL: Believer, The Crucified, Deliverance, Megadeth, Mortification, Saint, Seventh Angel, Templar, Ultimatum, Vengeance Rising, or good music.

Tourniquet - Antiseptic Bloodbath, 4.6 out of 5 based on 10 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Taylor C.

About the author Taylor C.

"I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter." —T.S. Eliot View all posts by Taylor C.

38 Responses to 'Tourniquet – Antiseptic Bloodbath'

  1. Travis Aker says:

    Good review Taylor C well done.

    • ^^ Agreed. Its gud 2 c that otha people agree wit my confusion of sum of the lyrix n thats prety much the only thing that detracts from the album, along wit the strange album cova. Imo, a crucified Jesus+ cows dont mix, and if ther tryin 2 compare the 2, then i totaly disagree. Eitha way, even wit the controversial subject mata, lyrix+ artwork, i rated it a 4 also.

  2. metalhunter says:

    Ha ha, I read through yours. Not a huge Tourniquet fan myself, I have Crawl To China, but thats about it. My only guess upon the cow and the cross is that to get something good, meat/salvation, you have to go through pain/suffering to get it? I don’t know, I havn’t listened to it in it’s entirety but sounds reasonable.

  3. Luke Foster says:

    I thought this record was decent, better than where moth and rust destroy but not anywhere near microscopic view

  4. paul adamson says:

    its “where moth and rust destroy”, dude.

  5. thruchristalone777 says:

    I always enjoy reading your reviews man. They always have a kind of cool sarcastic wit to them.

    As far as the album goes, I haven’t actually listened to it yet. I wanted to wait until until I got my hard copy, but I might have to cave and give it a spin on spotify. It sounds like it is worth a listen.

  6. David says:

    No one freaking out about secular musicians guesting on the album? Especially Nile? Surprised!

    • fusse says:

      freaking out? I think it’s awesome :D

    • Taylor C. says:

      Same here. Love me some Nile.

    • David says:

      haha I do, too! Maybe we’ve moved on past that? I hope so!

    • ^^ Wat fuse+ tayla sed. Besides, its not like they havent dun it b4, particularly on wmnrd.

    • Abe says:

      I always question the mixture of the two – how can Christian metal bands tour with secular (especially when the “Christians” fail to represent, while the secular will more than oblidge)? From a broad perspective, I can see why, but only if the Christian band is going to stand up for what they believe, rather than cop out (which I’ve seen by many “Christian” bands on stage – I’ve heard the “hey we love Jesus, but you can just believe in whatever makes you feel good”).

      Not trying to start a message board fracas here, but I personally don’t know how a Christian can listen to secular metal. From strictly a musical standpoint, I don’t see a problem, but lyrically I’m not sure.

      For example, I went to an As I Lay Dying show with Underoath, Acacia Strain, Between the Buried and Me, etc., and I thought Between the Buried and Me was great to say the least (all the bands were great musically, but obviously there were some lyrical differences at the show). I really enjoyed BTBAM, but I would never buy their stuff since they are “secular”.

      I think it has a lot to do with some legalisitic stuff that’s been dumped on me over the years, but I still have my reservations.

      Sorry for the long post…I guess I just haven’t “moved past that” yet. Like to hear your opinions though.

  7. fusse says:

    Absolute 5 for me. No question. Awesome review too.

    • I agree.

      I think that probably my second favorite Tourniquet album next to Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance is Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm, and Antiseptic Bloodbath sounds very much like it could be the sequel to that album, although you can hear some similarities to almost every other Tourniquet album throughout.

      The only track that I dislike is “Chart of the Elements”. I have no idea why they made it the opening track. If you take that track out of the picture, then what you have is a perfect album.

  8. Mark K says:

    There wasn’t much in the way of actual musical description in the review other than the list of influential genres infused. I’ve had the album for awhile so it doesn’t bother me but I’m not sure anyone could tell what it sounds like if they’ve never heard the band. I know you explained why but having a few songs broken down would help understand how all those genres and influences come together because an essentially speed metal track with a classical intro like Lost Language of the Andamans is much different than the more straight, muscular groove of Chamunda Temple Stampede. Lots of twists, it’d be nice to throw in some examples of them. Also, a lot of Tourniquet veterans are going to want to hear what area it bears similarity to if you’re familiar with it all. They’ve got a catalog and diverse and with as many twists as this album.

    The only major flaw for me is I don’t care for the song 86 Bullets. Musically it doesn’t really work having a slow, simple, plodding riff, a mediocre chorus, and neoclassical solos that don’t really fit those two things. I guess I don’t feel it comes together right. It’s not terrible but it’s my least favorite.

    • fusse says:

      Good valid points actually. I’m sure this feedback is really appreciated! I have listened to album tons so I didn’t even look at the review with the glasses you introduced.

    • Taylor C. says:

      Thanks, Mark; I agree. When I was done writing this, I started going through a few songs, but by then the review was over 850 words. Every song seemed so different at the time, I couldn’t settle on a certain few, add some summer laziness to the mix and you got what you see here.

  9. Travis Aker says:

    On Where Moth and Rust Destroys they had secular musicians on it to. I don’t mind it all.

  10. JoshIVM says:

    The band wrote the following on Facebook:

    “About the cover – the figure of Jesus:

    Flogging was part of the crucifixion process under Roman law. The whip used had multiple strands of leather with chunks of metal and bone embedded in each strand. As the prisoner was flogged, fist the skin would be battered, bruised and torn, and then the whip would start digging into the tissue below the skin until the flogging victim’s skin was torn and hanging from their body in ribbons. The cover image is an artistic depiction, and as so a certain amount of license must be allowed for. While bones can be seen on the Christ figure on our cover, that shouldn’t be misconstrued as being a rotting Christ. It’s a depiction of the brutality endured by Jesus.

    Isaiah 52:14 – Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness…”

  11. Greg says:

    Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm is one of my favorite metal albums. Heck, I even liked Crawl to China. I am having a hard time listening to Antiseptic Bloodbath, though, because Luke’s vocals are killing it for me, and not in the good way. Luke has always been an acquired taste, but they have generally found a way to work in his style with Tourniquet’s sound in a way that worked. This time, there seems to be a major disconnect. From his vocals being mixed way too upfront to his using more growls than singing, it’s just not doing anything for me. It’s not all bad. I do like “Duplicitous Endeavor.” That song could have been a Microscopic outtake. When Luke actually sings, he sounds good. It’s only when he growls and tries to sound menacing that things go wrong, and they go wrong a lot on this album. I don’t even mind his crossover vocal sound (crossover as in DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, Cruicified) during fast sections, but his growling sounds too cartoony.

    • I’m glad you pointed out the cartoony vocals. That is problem #3 with Tourniquet. Problem #2 is that their guitars are so non-aggressive that it makes the whole band sound like a joke. There’s no cutting edge, no bite, no treble — it’s all blunted mids played at 1000 miles an hour, which is not heavy. The biggest problem is that the songs never cohere. They just don’t add up to make anything consistent throughout; it’s like every song has random bits that sorta connect to the other parts, like a bridge built halfway over a river or something. And yes, I’m referring to AS, which is typical for Tourniquet. I’ve tried to like the band many, many times, but the same problems crop up every album — and that’s not even mentioning the silly animal rights stuff.

  12. Lucas says:

    I don’t see how anyone can enjoy those vocals. But I guess if it’s what kids are into these days… :)

  13. Travis Aker says:

    I like his vocal style though, I think it fits well in a lot of the songs. Its a acquired taste,I got used to it after him being on so many albums. Its hard to replace greatest vocalist like Gary Leiner and Guy Ritter, unless they come back to the band which would be awesome.

  14. thruchristalone777 says:

    My pre-order finally came in yesturday, and after having given the album a good listen, I agree with the thse score. I do not think this album is as good as “Microscopic View…”, but it is definitely better than their previous album. With that being said, I am in agreement that some of the lyrics were a bit confusing, especially in the title track, even after reading the description on the back of the lyric booklet. But with all things considered, a fun listen nonetheless.

  15. fusse says:

    Part of the review was featured in the latest Tourniquet newsletter! I’m more than stoked to know that Ted or someone else of the TQ family stalks our site :D Ted being my favorite drummer and Tourniquet being my number 1 band of all time. I’ve been with them since early 90′s!

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