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Tourniquet - The curse of capitalism - April 2003


The weird Christian Thrashers of TOURNIQUET are back. In their backpack we can find a very good new album titled "Where Moth And Rust Destroys". A collection of cool riffs, spaced out breaks and godlike drumming, but also deep going lyrics. Here you don't get any pseudo Christian statements a la STRYPER, but intelligent texts written by people, who think about the future. Luke Easter, vocalist of the Californians, answered Ralf's questions.

Hi Luke, this is Ralf from "The Metal Observer". What's new about TOURNIQUET?

We have just finished our latest album, and we are in the process of auditioning guitar players.

The new album "Where Moth And Rust Destroys" is out now…What do you expect? And what's the meaning of this concept…if there is one…

We are really pleased with this album. I think it is our best work to date, and we can't wait for people to hear it. The title song is about materialism. In our culture, people have gotten to wrapped up in acquiring things, and they have lost sight of what's really important. The Bible asks, what good is it if you gain the whole world, but you lose your soul, and this song explores that. The title is taken from Matthew 6:19 which asks why anyone would worry more about what they have on earth, where moth and rust destroy, than they do about what's waiting for them after death.

This album is very varied, and a lot of different styles go hand in hand on the basis of Thrash Metal - would you agree?

We always try to keep things interesting musically, and employing a variety of styles is a way of doing that. We all listen to different kinds of music, and it's fun to incorporate some of those other influences into the "TOURNIQUET sound".

Don't you think that this armada of breaks and changes are too much for the simple Metal maniac…

I don't think so. We try to write music that we'd want to listen to, and if we like it, there must be others out there that would like the same things. Some people might prefer really simple songs, but there is still an audience for music that is somewhat challenging.

Who had the idea for the slow motion track "In Death We Rise", which is that slow that it would be a challenge even for a Doom fan…

That song is all Ted. He wrote it, he came up with the arrangement, and he even helped out on the vocal on it. I couldn't believe what he was asking me to do. I've never sung that low on a record before, and it was really hard doing it for an entire song. I really couldn't picture it while we were recording it, but once it was finished I got it. I think it's a cool song. It's got a sort of contemplative, chant-like quality to it. It's an interesting change of pace for us.

Let's go back in time…When I take a look at "Stop The Bleeding" everything was okay, you were a normal Power Metal-Act with cranky vocals and Christian lyrics. But then when I first listened to "Psycho Surgery" I was shocked…TOURNIQUET turned into a bunch of "musical psychos". Your style went crazy…But it's still one of my faves today. How came this changing?

I think it was a natural progression in a lot of ways. I didn't join the band until the next album was released, but having been in the band for 10 years now, I understand a lot of how things work in this band. It would have been very confining to make the same album again after "Stop the Bleeding" came out. "Psycho Surgery" started the pattern that would become more pronounced with every release, which is that TOURNIQUET is constantly trying to grow and explore new terrain musically, while still maintaining a distinct identity as a band. If you listen to all of our albums back to back, none of them really sound alike, but you can tell they were all made by TOURNIQUET.

And after that came "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance" your heaviest album to date. Why were you that angry…?

I don't think it's that we were angry. "Pathogenic…" represents another facet of what we do.

Then you lost your Germany deal with Metal Blade…What happened?

Up to that point we were not signed to Metal Blade. They licensed our albums from Frontline/Intense, our American record company at the time. When our next album came out, they decided not to pick it up.

Then you released a few albums like "Vanishing Lessons" etc. and changed your style - why did you change and do you still like those albums?

When I joined the band, there were a lot of things that the band had wanted to try, but had not been able to for various reasons up to that point. It seemed like a good time to try new things. We had gone as heavy as we wanted to at that point with "Pathogenic…", and I was a new voice for the band, so it seemed like a good time to try different things. We continued experimenting with different sounds on "Carry The Wounded" and "Crawl To China". We are proud of the work we've done over the years. "Vanishing Lessons" was my first album, and so it will always be very special to me.

You played already in Germany, right? Tell me your impressions and what do you like about our country?

We always have a great time in Germany. The turnout for our shows is always great, and the people are always very good to us. We like to come in the winter so we can go to the outdoor Christmas Markets. There are a lot of places we've been to, but Germany is generally one of the best.

Then, I think in 2000 your comeback album "Microscopic View" appeared and I was totally blown away. The "mad" TOURNIQUET were back and better than ever. This album is a milestone. The fans loved it, how was the financial success - do you now bathe in champagne…

Was it a comeback? We didn't go anywhere. We were making albums and playing shows the whole time. It was our first release after signing with Metal Blade, so I know it was easier to find it in Europe than some of the previous releases. We are happy with how "Microscopic…" performed, and I think Metal Blade is as well, but no, we don't bathe in champagne.

It 's very hard to top this album and I don't think that "Where Moth…" is better but it's very good (I gave a 9,5 out of 10). Do you think it's really better than the previous album…

It's different from the last album. The songs are longer and paced a bit differently. I think it's a natural progression from the last album. I love all of our albums for different reasons. I guess it's a lot like having children: you love them all the same, but they have their distinct identities that make them special in their own way. I do think that this is the best album overall that we have done yet.

How important is this Christian touch in your lyrics?

We are Christians. It's not a gimmick to make us seem different from other bands in the Metal genre, it is a reality for us. We have chosen this path in life, and it comes through in what we do. The Bible says that what's in your heart will come out in what you say, and if you look at our lyrics that rings true. Our art reflects our faith. It is not just an important part of our music, its an integral part of our lives.

A lot of fans do not know what the word "TOURNIQUET" means…

The dictionary defines a tourniquet as a surgical device for arresting haemorrhage by compression of a blood vessel. We have adapted that definition to reflect what Christ offers to anyone who comes to Him: a spiritual process by which the living, triune God can begin to stop the senseless flow of going through life without knowing and serving our creator. Psalm 147:3 says that, "He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds". That is what a tourniquet is, and that is what TOURNIQUET stands for.

Are there any albums of the last months that impressed you in a way…

I just got the new AFI album. It's not Metal, but it has some cool songs on it, and it sounds great. I also got the EVANESCENCE. Same thing: not Metal, but it's well written, and it sounds good.

How about a tour?

We are currently in search of a guitar player, so we do not have any immediate plans for any shows. Once we have someone on board, I hope we will play anywhere and everywhere we can. I'm looking forward to playing the new songs.

Your last words?

Thanks to everyone for being patient waiting for the new album. We hope it's as much fun for you to hear as it was for us to make. We'll see you soon.

Discography:

1990: Stop The Bleeding (CD, Intense)
1991: Psycho Surgery (CD, Intense)
1992: Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance (CD, Metal Blade)
1993: Live Vol. 2 (CD, Intense)
1994: Vanishing Lessons (CD, Intense)
1995: Carry The Wounded (EP, Intense)
1996: The Collected Works Of Tourniquet (CD, Intense)
1997: Crawl To China (CD, Benson)
1998: Acoustic Archives (CD, Tourniquet)
1999: Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm (CD, Metal Blade)
2002: Where Moth And Rust Destroy (CD, Metal Blade)

Ralf Henn



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