It’s strange. Some people would consider 1994’s “Vanishing Lessons” to be the death knell of TOURNIQUET, while others would proclaim that 1997’s “Crawl To China” is the worst full-length the band ever produced. Either way, the latter marked an even further departure from their Thrash Metal days and the group began to combine myriad styles to come up with what I believe is their weakest offering.
For “Crawl To China,” and I hate to say it, all the instrumentation was dumbed down in favour of simplicity. The opener “Claustrospelunker” is a solid Rock number, though the title track is more brittle and crunchy. The chorus to “Enveloped In Python” is pleasing, but the constant switching between tempos is very irritating; Easter’s (vocals) attempt at creepiness is laughable, in the worst way. The first ballad is “If I Was There,” and is essentially inconsequential due largely to the less-than-riveting, acoustic passages. Conversely, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a high point on the album and it fully displays the band’s fascination with Edgar Allan Poe, who wrote a short story that uses the same name. I harbor only disdain for the ludicrous composition known as “Bats,” especially after listening to the incessant, high-pitched vocals that punctuate the chorus. The next few songs don’t contribute to the credibility found on “Crawl To China.” “Tire Kicking” and “Stumblefoot” – two songs in the same stylistic vein – are indescribably bad. But, “America” is a cool closer, which features a massive amount of instruments all vying for the forefront.
Admittedly, bad albums happen. They just do. It’s not like TOURNIQUET botched their career by releasing the critically panned “Crawl To China,” but it certainly didn’t help a reputation that was on life-support anyway. Oddly enough, the band’s next studio full-length in “Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm” would be heralded as a triumphant return to the band’s Thrash Metal roots. This album, however, is not worth the time that could be occupied by “Psycho Surgery,” or “Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance,” or “Where Moth And Rust Destroy,” or…well, you get the point. (Online June 21, 2005)