Review Summary: A classic album from one of thrash/tech metal's innovators, sadly overlooked.
I find it sad that a band such as Tourniquet (which began in the late 80's) rarely gets recognized, and it's most likely because they promote a Christian worldview (and for the record I'm agnostic) with their lyrics and artwork and overall message, which turns the majority of metal fans off. I would suppose that another reason they don't get much recognition is because they're simply not promoted like secular bands, therefore demand and distribution is limited. Although, their last two releases (this one I'm reviewing and Where Moth and Rust Destroy) were released via Metal Blade. Also, their earlier works have been gloriously remastered and are available via the band's homemade label Pathogenic Records. But back to my original statement, I think that this band rarely gets the recognition they deserve, and it's sad because their music is some of the best that the metal realm has to offer.
As far as I'm concerned, this album should sit right along side other ground breaking bands like Atheist, Cynic, Death, Believer, and the multitudes of other technical or avant garde metal albums that have been released. This album was a monumental return to form after a brief wandering into other musical territories such as on the albums Vanishing Lessons and Crawl to China. Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm is ridiculously good, thrashtastic, and technically challenging... and the lyrics are inspiring and interesting regardless of your religious view.
One of the things I always found most interesting about Tourniquet, is that their drummer Ted Kirkpatrick composes most of the material. The man is a musical genius, not to mention a fanstastic percussionist. Opening songs like "Besprinkled in Scarlet Horror" are composed in a manner that reminds one of classical arrangements. It opens with organ and then into speed-picked riffing madness... the song continues to add other elements like more organs and flutes, acoustic guitars... ripping solos... and some of the most grand dual-harmonic guitar gallops I've ever heard. The title is tongue-in-cheek, as the lyrics will point out... no doubt Dani Filth was inspiration for it.
The title track has a similar feel... even sounding like something Extol would create during it's opening moments. The song changes tempos often and never fails to keep the listener's attention. The guitar riffs are fantastic and the drumming is very interesting to listen to. I just can't say enough good about this band.
The "Tomb of Gilgamesh" is another stand out, having one of the most spine-tingling screams that I can think of. When I hear Luke Easter scream "PLEEEEEASE HEEEEAL MEEEE!!!" my blood freezes. This song contains violins, great breakdowns and it's very catchy.
"Immunity Vector" is another of my favorites on the album, and it's an instrumental. This song really shows off Ted Kirkpatrick's drumming as well as how well the other bandmates (Luke Easter on vocals and Aaron Guerra on guitar) mesh... although this probably has a lot to do with TK's musical sensibility.
I can't really think of anything that takes away from MVoaTR. I suppose some folks may not care for Luke Easter's vocal style... I suppose some may not care for Aaron Guerra's guitar tone. I enjoy both, and only make the band more interesting. And don't worry, the production is crystal clear, thick, and you can hear the bass.
I really can't stress enough how good this album is, nor the importance of this band. If you like thrash or rock or classical or technicality, then I urge you to at least find them on Myspace and listen to a few tracks. My hope is that you'll really enjoy and decide you need to purchase their works. Check out their older material from Psychosurgery and Pathogenic Ocular Dissoncance to get a bigger feel. The band has switched a couple of members over the years so their sound has definitely changed.