Thursday, July 18, 2013


According to a tourniquet is: "A device, typically a tightly encircling bandage, used to check bleeding by temporarily stopping the flow of blood through a large artery in a limb." The Christian metal band Tourniquet formed in Los Angeles, California in 1989. The band says a tourniquet is: "a metaphor for a lifelong process by which a personal God, through the atoning blood, death, and resurrection of His only Son-Jesus Christ-can begin to stop the flow of going through life without knowing and serving our Creator. He is our Tourniquet." According to Wikipedia, Tourniquet "are known for incorporating elements of thrash, neo-classical, and progressive metal into their music." Tourniquet's first album was 1990's STOP THE BLEEDING. The video for the song 'Ark of Suffering' got played on MTV. Two of my favourite Tourniquet albums are 1991's PSYCHO SURGERY which had a Dove nomination for Metal Album of the Year, and 1994's VANISHING LESSONS. Today, Tourniquet is: Ted Kirkpatrick (drums, rhythm guitars, dulcimer, 8 string bazouki), Luke Easter (lead vocals), and Aaron Guerra (guitars, bass, vocals). Founding member Kirkpatrick has studied world literature and loves Edgar Allan Poe. He also has a background in medical equipment sales, and does a lot of travelling. Tourniquet's 8th and latest studio album is ANTISEPTIC BLOODBATH (2012, Pathogenic Records). Fans had to wait 9 years for it! Here's some words from the liner notes: "It's an album about each of us learning and choosing to show compassion and mercy to all of the living, created beings we see around us-and those we owe so much to but cannot see-the millions who suffer carefully hidden away from the world." The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by Neil Kernon. The memorable cover artwork and layout is by Travis Smith.

'Chart of the Elements (Lincchostbllis)' starts things off. It begins with a cheer squad but is a heavy rocker with the vocals shouted, growled, and sung. Bruce Franklin from Trouble and Supershine plays lead guitar. The song reminds us that science is prone to error but God is not: "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.../God lives/God is truth/God breathes/God is truth/God loves/God is truth/God lives/God is truth."

In a 2012 interview with 'Beyond the Riff', Ted Kirkpatrick made it clear he was for the ethical treatment of animals. He is fascinated with the tiniest aspects of God's creation. He points out that elephants and rhinos are being poached at high rates in Africa and that organized crime is responsible for a lot of it. Ted is obviously against testing on animals. He also speaks of pigs that spend their entire lives in stalls they can't even turn around in so we can have cheap bacon. Ted is for organizations such as The Humane Society and PETA when all is said and done. In the album liner notes Ted writes: "Compassion and mercy should be a part of who we are. It's a part of being a decent human being, whether or not we claim to be Christians. God's compassion and mercy doesn't stop at humans. He is compassionate to all He has made-and He created every animal." Pat Travers, a Canadian guitarist, plays lead on the album's title track, 'Antiseptic Bloodbath'. It finds the band in thrash music territory with shouted and sneered vocals. The song speaks of the violent manner in which Christ died and the violent ways animals die: "The Bible is given to those who receive/But never forget what it took to achieve/The black ink on white tames the bloodiest price/The pages are dripping with the blood of Christ/The blood of cloven hoof and feathered fowl stains the floor/And no one but the workers hear their screams and the gore/Their miserable lives were never meant for us to see/So we who do not kill them we accept it by degree/We sanitize brutality (2X)." The song even includes part of 'Onward Christian Soldiers'.

'The Maiden Who Slept in the Glass Coffin' is a great metal song with Marty Friedman on lead guitar. He was with Megadeth for almost ten years. The song begins with a long instrumental. It goes on to talk of how we tend to isolate ourselves in today's society: "Ignore the need for others in your life/Stuff all your feelings deep within/Block out the gentle Voice from above/Be sure to deflect most of all love/Let your hardened heart close up and die/'Live for myself' the words you live by." The song then talks about the 7 Dwarfs watching Snow White in her coffin, before getting spiritual again and urging us to let Christ bring us back to full spiritual life: "There lives the Prince of Peace who waits for you/Just open the door."

Karl Sanders plays lead guitar on 'Chamunda Temple Stampede'. He is a founding member of the American Egyptian-themed technical death metal band Nile. On September 30, 2008 over 100 people were killed and 200 injured during a big stampede at Chamunda Temple in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. The lyrics tell the tragic story of the Hindu devotees: "Darshen goddess, kneel at her throne/3:45 A.M./No way they could have known/Ancient holy site/We pay our homage here/And to your honor we will solemnly adhere/Crushed under the feet of countless rushing devotees/Lungs gasping for breath, while standing in the massive queue." It is a hard rock song with growled vocals.

The titan arum is a flowering plant that has the odor of a decomposing mammal. The plant grows in the rainforests of Sumatra. Its cluster of flowers can reach over 10 feet high. The next song is called 'Flowering Cadaver'. It finds Luke Easter in Vengeance Rising territory vocally part of the time. The song speaks of inner spiritual battle: "Out of the same mouth comes blessing and cursing/Out of the same heart comes beauty and ugliness/The very thing that I want to do, I end up doing the opposite/Out of the same mouth comes building up and tearing down/Out of the same heart comes kindnesss and cruelty/The very thing that I want to do, I end up doing the opposite."

'86 Bullets' is one of the most commercial sounding metal songs on the album. Santiago Dobles, a founding member of Aghora, plays lead guitar. The song tells the story of Tyke, an African elephant who performed with Circus International of Honululu, Hawaii. On August 20th of 1994 during a performance, she killed her trainer and mauled her groomer. She left the arena and ran through the business district for over 30 minutes. Police shot her 86 times and she was killed. Here are some of the song's lyrics: "We were not put here just to entertain you/Just like humans-we've got our own lives too/You take away all the things God created us to do/Profit from our misery as we dance on cue/Step right up (2X)/The cruelest show on earth is ready to entertain you."

Neil Kernon is responsible for orchestral textures on 'Duplicitous Endeavor'. The song reminds us that our true character will always come out sooner or later: "True colors always shine through/Tell me, is this the real you?/It seems you'd sell your soul for fame/You trade in lies to build a name/Insisting you're misunderstood/Deception/Breeding destruction/As you deny." The song includes the voices of Rick Muehlback and Tyler Margritz reading a quote from A. W. Tozer's 1961 book 'The Knowledge of the Holy'. The quote reminds us that God is indeed just: "The vague and tenuous hope that God is too kind to punish the ungodly has become a deadly opiate for the consciences of millions/It hushes their fears and allows them to practice all pleasant forms of iniquity while death draws every day nearer and the command to repent goes unheeded."

In February of 2010 reported: "One of the world's most endangered languages has disappeared forever after the last remaining member of a unique tribe that inhabited the Andaman Islands for as long as 65, 000 years died of old age." Boa Sr. was about 85 years old. 'Lost Language of the Andamans' starts off as a classical, instrumental piece with violin, trumpet, and cello. It turns into a real headbanger as it goes on. Ted Kirkpatrick hopes that we have not lost our ability to hear God. He hopes that has not become a lost language: "Have you forgotten the language of our Lord?/He speaks in the rustling leaves/He speaks in the blackest darkness/He speaks when there are no words/He heals the brokenhearted/He binds up their wounds/He speaks when there are no words."

'Carried Away on Uncertain Wings' is the album's shortest song at 4:52, but is still heavy musically. This song urges us to think about the end of our earthly lives: "I lay in this bed of brokenness/With my last breath I bid farewell/Life flashes before my eyes/I choke on regret with no surprise/What of your life?/Open up your eyes and see/The narrow gate far away from those who stray/The path is wide, I hear the Sirens sing/You'll be carried away on uncertain wings." The lyrics go on to offer us a way to make our peace with God before we cross over to the other side: "Surrender all to Him, nothing else to gain/Empty cup now filled with hope/Living by His grace/When your soul is troubled, your will begins to sink/Call out to the One who created all things."

'Fed by Ravens, Eaten by Vultures' is the longest track at 8:08. It is quite a heavy metal masterpiece, but includes elements of classical music. Pastor Bob Beeman lends his voice to the track. The song is based on 1 Kings 12:16-1 Kings 17. Elijah prophesied to King Ahab that Israel would face three and a half years of drought because of disobedience. Elijah ended up hiding near the brook Cherith. Ravens fed him morning and evening. These words from the song speak of God's care: "God provides when hope is gone today/God provides when you must hide away/God provides when hope is gone today."
Ted Kirkpatrick says: "I write songs about what is important to me-what matters to me. And what happens to animals and the environment-our forests, jungles, swamps, deserts, backyards-matters greatly to me, as it does to God." Ted believes we will see animals in the afterlife. ANTISEPTIC BLOODBATH reinforces Tourniquet's reputation as a thinking man's metal. It is deep, thought provoking, creative, and artistic. They certainly are a group that stretches the definition of Christian music. I'm rating this album 95%. For more info visit