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Drowning machine - 63%

Kalelfromkrypton, September 28th, 2009

The machine that once was Tourniquet began to drown with this horrific hard rock/speed metal?? album. ‘Vanishing lessons’ was put out on 1994, when the shitty grunge/alternative rock movement was at the top, and speed/thrash metal bands had to change their sound radically to fit the new decade. Thus, gone are the pierce vocals of Gary Lenaire and King Diamond-esque falsettos from Guy Ritter. In exchange we get the almost hardcore vocals of Luke Easter who, from the very beginning was to me the worst choice for singer and in fact, the decrease in popularity of this band proves that this was indeed, a bad decision.

If we begin by the awful cover with its non harmonic colors we get a bad feeling about it. You don’t have to be a designer (even in 94) to know that this cover is excruciatingly disgusting and far from the color taste of Psycho Surgery or Pathogenic Occular Dissonance. Not to mention the inside booklet with those awful pictures of the band on the back which seem to me a bunch of drunken guys without a job.

Onto the songs, there is not much to say except that the album can be dissected in 3 parts: the heavy songs and the faster ones (if there can be considered such): Acid Head, Your take, Vanishing lessons, the mid tempo/ boring songs: Bearing Gruesome cargo, Pecking order, Drowning machine, and the ballad-esque slow songs: My Promise, Twilight, Sola Christus. There is predominance on the bass sound, so this time it really stands out. As far as the guitars they were set up to sound like heavy hard rock and not thrash anymore, this is due to hardcore-esque vocals of Luke Easter. When he screams boy he sounds nothing short of awful. When he sings in the low notes his voice is not that horrible.

There is no cool flow on the songs, as it was on Pathogenic and the instrumental or solo passages sound forced to show off their skills and this is, in part, due to the simplistic songwriting, thus, they sound completely out of place. Some of them have cool riffs and/or good drumming but as far as a whole, they lack power, force, speed and all the things you might expect from good speed metal. K517 is a drum solo accompanied by a harpsichord and again, it sucks. This is not Viento Borrascoso which had a consistent rhythm part plus the undecipherable changes. This is more and less a noisy octopus drumming solo with no flow or consistency at all. Twilight is a alternative popish hard rock song which would develop more and more the sound of this band in later recordings. ‘My Promise’ sounds to me like ‘The unforgiven’ by Metallica. The first real ballad for Tourniquet and it is not that bad. It is actually good and the riffing part is almost identical to those from the Black Album, perfect for a single.

The lyrical content has been simplified as well, so now we get topics around the use of magic, old age, dysfunctional families and the first half of the songs which I can hardly understand, which are the ones that suck the most. In all, this recording marked the downfall of what once was a great band in the Christian realms. They changed the sound completely and they were in this rollercoaster which took them to even acoustic and alternative influences. I enjoy some of the songs because they have cool parts but as a whole this album completely sucks and specially, those terrible vocals can be dismissed by all means. Since Pathogenic, they have not been able to make a single interesting AND powerful album, although some elements are still there but as far as this one they really missed all.