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A ghost of the past - 78%

Kalelfromkrypton, November 18th, 2009

Once ‘WMARD’ opens the album you can definitely say this is an awesome improvement over the last failures and utterly bad albums Tourniquet have been putting forth. This song, apart from having fast parts (very rare nowadays on their albums) has cool tempo changes and lots of riffs. The production is very good and there is a lot of variety. I’d dare to say that this is kind of like a mix between Slayer ‘Season of the Abyss’ era and the progressive aspects of Dream Theater. Perhaps a little ambitious but no one can deny the facts. This is modern speed metal performed in a very good way.

The problem I still have lies with two things: 1.The guitar solos are very rhythmic and not melodic or killer. I am not saying I want Yngwie’s solo-masturbation but remember Gary Lenaire’s soloing? Now those were definitely cool although there are indeed some cool solos here and there. 2. I still hate Luke Easter’s voice. It is too hardcore for a metal album. Not to mention that his vocal range is so little that he has to force his voice a lot to reach certain notes or to at least, fit the music, which he definitely does not at all. On the lyrics department, I recall they simplified things with Vanishing Lessons in order to appeal to wider audiences and gone were the medical allegories. However, since ‘Trivializing the momentous, complicating the obvious’ they started to write conceptual and very complex lyrical concepts again. I find it interesting and very appealing but these concepts are not for everybody who want straight-to-the-point songs.

‘Restoring the locust years’ is a mid tempo track and the riffs are very cool. The almost growled vocals fit very well but again, the regular vocals take away my joy over the music. I still think the guitar distortion sounds a little out of place and too modern, which affects the thickness and heaviness this album, could have. Aside from that, the song is actually very good. When we get to ‘Drawn and quartered’ we speed things up. Now here we find another problem with the new Tourniquet sound. The fast parts are too forced, too studied. You do not feel the sense of entertainment or aggression for that matter which was evident on Stop the Bleeding or Pathogenic. Nevertheless the song is very interesting due to the amount of elements present whereas we get violin solos, soft passages and the song builds up itself magnificent. The drumming textures and precision from Ted is another thing truly remarkable since he does not repeat itself (like one of my favorites: Donald Tardy, who lately does the exact same things over and over). Innovation is an important part and they know how to do it here with this album. It is obviously they are sacrificing aggression to put more emphasis on complexity, texture and innovation. The guitar solos in here are now cooler, reminding very much of Pathogenic’s second half song solos.

‘Architeuthis’ is a fast aggressive with mid tempo verses interlude but even for their standards today, it is very aggressive and the choruses are…well…shout instead of sung. On the contrary, ‘Melting the golden calf’ is a slow mid tempo track. I enjoy them both but the sheer difference between the two is notorious.

The last problem I have with this album is definitely ‘In Death we Rise’ which is too slow for my taste. I am a sucker for doom metal but being the metal band Tourniquet is, I find it pointless to write a funeral-doom song which slow things down dramatically and takes away, for me, the pure enjoyment of the previous songs.

I must say I am yet pleased with this album. It definitely takes time to dig into but it approaches to some reminiscence from the past. Aggressive in some ways, very technical, very progressive with a lot of elements to find and surprise you, considering this is supposed to be a heavy metal album and very well produced and performed.