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Excellent remaster of classic album + great extras
Posted by: lucidhysteria from: on
A truly classic metal / hard rock album, and an album that marked a new direction for a band that was already legendary at this point. More than that, it was a new era, as this would be the first of many releases with vocalist Luke Easter at the mic (still the current vocalist at the time of this review). It also marked the last full-length album featuring founding member Gary Lenaire, as well as bassist Victor Macias (though both would appear the following year on the "Carry the Wounded" EP, and on the two new tracks on the best-of "Collected Works of Tourniquet" release the year after that). The music is catchy, original, and masterfully played, though I have always found the production quality on this one lacking (this was their first recording without veteran producer Bill Metoyer at the helm — whether that's the problem or not, I don't know, but to me, the guitars are so muddy in parts of this one that, unless you're using really great sound equipment, some of the riffs just meld together and you can't make out all the awesome, intricate riffs that characterize Tourniquet's music). Presumably, the situation is somewhat improved by the remastering on this one, but honestly, I can't really tell a difference (but I'm no audiophile). Since the music speaks for itself, I'll just briefly mention that lyrically, the band is in top form, here — some of my favorites are "Pecking Order" (about bigotry and self-righteousness), "Twilight" (a song about caring for our elderly), and "Sola Christus" (what I like to think of as a creed of the Reformation set to metal — one of the most theologically substantive metal songs ever recorded).
This re-release has some nice bonus tracks, as well, the most important being the Handel Harpsichord Suite #2 (HHS2) recording that was originally meant to appear on the previous album, "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance" (1992). Basically, as the story goes, the drum part was recorded for that album, but they ran into some kind of rights problem with the Handel piece (or the particular recording of it they needed), so the drums were kept, but a new (instrumental) song was written (basically in the studio, unless I'm mistaken) to fit those drum parts, and thus "Descent into the Maelstrom" was born (check it out — that whole "Pathogenic" album is one of the most perfect recordings ever produced). So it's really cool to hear what was originally intended for this track — especially given that it was a predecessor to their more famous harpsichord/drum track from this album, a Domenico Scarlatti sonata called "K517" (which is presumably at least one of the reasons they put "HHS2" on this album, rather than on the re-release of "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance"). As for the other tracks, I'm not usually a fan of their live recordings, but "Pecking Order (Live 2002)" is definitely one of the best I've heard — guitarist Aaron Guerra totally kills the classic solo during the bridge (played on the album version by drummer and main songwriter, Ted Kirkpatrick, as many of the guitar parts have been through the years). And the demos are actually pretty cool pieces of history — I enjoy getting a sense of how a song evolved from conception to the final product, and this gives you a little bit of a sense for that — though honestly, I've only listed to them a handful of times in the decade I've had this re-release).
Bottom line: as I would tell you with almost any Tourniquet release... if you have ears, you should buy this music!
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