Tourniquet released their debut album STOP THE BLEEDING in 1990 on Intense Records. The album cover shows a snake being restrained by chains. 1 John 4:4b states: “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”. On this album Tourniquet is: Ted Kirkpatrick (drums, bass), Guy Ritter (vocals), and Gary Lenaire (guitars, vocals, bass). Session musician Mark Lewis plays almost half of the lead guitars. Roger Martinez is listed as the producer, but in reality it was Bill Metoyer.
The record begins with ‘The Test for Leprosy’. It is a hard rocker that begins by reflecting on society’s outcasts and ends off telling us how we can be fully made whole: “Consigned to neglect/Outside the city gates/You tear off all your clothes/And cover your face/One hope you have/Your sores will turn white/Through ritual atonement/Pronounce you clean/The test for leprosy/Heal the unclean.../We are all like lepers/Without Christ’s love in us/Let Him heal you/Let Him/Heal you/Let Him, will you?” ‘Ready or Not’ incorporates blistering electric guitar work, breakneck speed drumming, and falsetto vocals. It reminds us boldly of our Lord’s imminent return: “For heaven’s sakes what are we doing?/Most of us don’t even know/’He’s coming back’ isn’t forever/So, get ready if you want to go/A.S.A.P!/Say goodbye to the devil/Selfishness, ego, and greed/Soon you will see this is no laughing matter/Freedom will end when the great I AM says/’Ready or not-Here I come!’”
The next song ‘Ark of Suffering’ is a heavy metal gem. The video for it got some airplay on MTV, but it was dropped for being too graphic. The song targets animal testing and abuse head on: “You think it’s alright to destroy God’s creation/They don’t have a voice so who cares how we’re treating them here/If you read His Word you should know that He blessed them/I know your defense is to say ‘God said dominate them’/Do you think dominate means to kill just for sport?/Wear the fur from their backs, train them for circus acts.../Locked behind steel cage, forced to take drugs we’ve made/Cut them up just to show what we already know/Before they die...Who will hear them cry?” ‘Tears of Korah’ is based on Old Testament passages including Exodus 3:10 and Numbers 16. Here are some of the words: “A humble man/Moses of Goshen/Behold the plan/You shall deliver them/Out from a land/Escape Egyptian sands/Released from Pharaoh’s satanic hand/A shameful man/From the highest clan/Korah could not see Divine Authority/He said ‘You know that we can be the Holy Priests’/By fire they tried/By fire they died/Tears of Korah fall from their eyes”.
‘The Threshing Floor’ is a strong track with a fire and brimstone message: “There’s only two roads/And none in between them/If you don’t choose the Son/The choice you’ve made is against Him/Watch out! You’re gonna lose/If you mess with your Maker/Look out!/You’re gonna lose/If you mess with the snake/Beware you’re gonna lose/If you think you can tip-toe in between/Oh, your life is in danger”. The album’s first single ‘You Get What You Pray For’ is up next. It features growled, baritone vocals and some pretty sensational lyrics: “All of a sudden God’s grace will be torn/Billions of hell bound will wish they never were born/Let us pray (2X)/None of your excuses or shattering yells/Will turn the head of God/Who once called for your help”.
‘Swarming Spirits’ is a heavy rocker that speaks of spiritual warfare: “Swarms of legions/Swarms of demons/Swarms at war today/Swarms to kill men/Swarms to bless them/Swarms that some obey/The Bible speaks of prayer/For those who have the faith to dare/Jesus Christ is there”. ‘Whitewashed Tomb’ is a mighty fine instrumental.
The next cut is called ‘Somnambulism’ which means ‘sleepwalking’. Appropriately, it has a plodding feel to it musically. These lyrics encourage us to be spiritually awake and alert: “Blessed is the man/Who dwells in the unapproachable light/It will open a window that empties the darkness of your soul/If we walk in the light/As He is in the light/He will purify us/Somnambulism-Get away from me!” ‘Harlot Widow and The Virgin Bride’ draws its inspiration from Daniel 4:28-32 and Revelation 17 and 18. Here are some of the words to the over 7.5 minute long speed metal track: “Hateful whores transformed to virgins/Delivered them away that scourged Him/They scourged Him/Virgin bride the holy blood justified/Your spiritual birth from out of His side/Now the marriage never dies...Open your eyes”.
STOP THE BLEEDING is a worthy debut album from Tourniquet. The band plays an aggressive style of speed and thrash metal influenced by classical music. This is music that is creative, artistic, and skillful. The lyrics are more directly Christian in content than a lot of what gets airplay on Christian radio today. Fans of Vengeance Rising, Bride, and Deliverance should add this album to their collection if they don’t already own it. I’m rating it 85 %. For more info visit: www.tourniquet.net.