TOURNIQUET - Onward To Freedom

Tourniquet - Onward To Freedom

12 songs
48:10 minutes
***** ***


Tourniquet has been a household name in the metal community since 1989, with the highlight of their quarter century long career the incredible Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Universe from the year 2000. Three years later they had another great album with Where Moth And Rust Destroy, and then things went rather quiet among the Christian metal band. Their tenth longplayer Onward To Freedom has been financed by a Kickstarter campaign and has been released on drummer and band founder Ted Kirkpatrick’s own label Pathogenic Records.

Tourniquet has always stood for quality, and Onward To Freedom is no exception to the rule. In the past it has always been hard for mastermind Ted Kirkpatrick to keep a stable line-up for the band. This time he didn’t even try and played most of the instruments (drums, guitar, bass, keyboards) by himself, but hired a host of guest musicians, vocalists and narrators, among which the most popular are Megadeth guitarists Marty Friedman and Chris Poland, and vocalists Michael Sweet (Stryper) and Doug Pinnick (King’s X).

It becomes obvious quite fast that Onward To Freedom hasn’t much in common with the band’s thrash metal past, but is more into classic US rock and progressive metal, which also works very well for Tourniquet. Only The Slave Ring relates to the band’s old times, and Drowning In Air also comes with some brutal death metal parts. My favourite track is Let The Wild Just Be Wild with vocals by Gabbie Rae, a woman with a really strong voice. Another highlight comes with No Soul, with Doug Pinnick guaranteeing a certain King’s X flair. The complex and progressive Stereotaxic Atrocities is another standout moment and comes with Tourniquet member Luke Easter on vocals. The instrumental parts are more elaborate than the vocals throughout the album, and only the concluding Cage 23 leaves a bitter taste with its country pop sound.

I welcome the band for leaving out the Christian component on Onward To Freedom. The animal welfare lyrics by Ted Kirkpatrick, an outspoken vegan himself, feel a little preachy, but I do prefer this topic to religion. This album still offers honest metal, maybe not as complex as the band’s heyday material, but it was definitely nice to hear that Tourniquet are still around.

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