“Vanishing Lessons” was originally released in 1994 on the (now-defunct) label known as Intense Records. However, back in 2001, TOURNIQUET began revamping their full-lengths by including live renditions, demos, previously unreleased material and new artwork/photography. As you can see for yourself, “Vanishing Lessons” received the treatment in 2004 and the additions really don’t increase the value that much, because only diehard fans will find worth in them.
Like I stated in an earlier review, this album marked a significant change in the band’s sound. No longer could TOURNIQUET be classified as they had been, mostly due to the hard rock instrumentation that permeates the record. Suffice it to say, the first album to boast Luke Easter at the vocal helm hasn’t aged as well as their early thrash fests, nor does it stand a chance when grappling with its predecessors. Much of “Vanishing Lessons” is less than memorable and easily forgotten. Conversely, unique numbers such as “Drowning Machine,” “Acidhead,” and the stellar “K517” are of remarkable quality for myriad reasons. “K517,” to explicate, is Kirkpatrick (drums, about a million other things) accompanying a classic composer by utilizing intricate fills and octopus-like rhythms. See if you can guess who the composer is. Undoubtedly, the aforementioned is the most impressive piece found on “Vanishing Lessons.” The first incarnation of the latter expired after fifty minutes, but this updated edition lasts roughly seventy-four. Tacked onto the tail end of the disc are an unreleased song, three live recordings and two demos, which make for interesting listens. “HHS2 (Handel Harpsichord Suite #2)” runs parallel to “K517,” and is equally as enrapturing. The never-before-heard, live cuts aren’t anything special, though the demos are.
With this, TOURNIQUET single-handedly changed their sound, image and fanbase. “Vanishing Lessons” is a decent effort and I’d advise obtaining the re-release – over the original – if possible. Still, this is far from being the band’s masterpiece, but likewise it’s not the abomination that is “Crawl To China.” (Online October 10, 2005)