Retro-Review: ‘Where Moth and Rust Destroy’ by Tourniquet

Tourniquet’s 2003 album Where Moth and Rust Destroy is definitely a metal album.

I know a lot of people will groan out loud when they hear Tourniquet is a Christian metal group, if they didn’t know so already. That’s to be expected, Christian music on the most part doesn’t have a reputation for being very good.

Tourniquet, though, is good. Their blend of thrash and progressive metal works. Combined with an excelling production, and you have yourself a very listenable and great sounding album.

Now, a lot of that is primarily because of Ted Kirkpatrick, the drummer and primary songwriter. His compositions offer something to those who have a more adventurous ear when it comes to music, but he doesn’t get so overly complicated that a song loses itself.

It helps that he’s brought some big guns to play on the album, most notable being ex-Megadeth guitarist Marty Friedman. Friedman really shines on this album, with melodies and solos that draw the listener deeper into the songs he plays on.

Bruce Franklin, of Trouble fame, plays on two tracks as well. His style is significantly different than Friedman, but that’s not a bad thing.

Ted Kirkpatrick, Luke Easter and Steve Andino.

Another frequent guest on this album is violinist Dave Bullock. The incorporation of violins into metal music was pretty popular at this time. It usually had varied results. Bullock is no different, sometimes the violin adds that extra element to a song that makes it standout even more. Sometimes they just seem unnecessary. There’s a little bit of both of those on this album, but the listener can probably determine for themselves where they think it was not necessary or essential. Heck, you might think it’s all great.

For this album, Tourniquet is rounded out by vocalist Luke Easter, who puts on a varied and strong performance here, and bassist Steve Andino.

The album

If there is one thing I think works against Where Moth and Rust Destroy is the fact that the title track is the first song.

Why do I think this works against the album as a whole?

Marty Friedman plays lead on all but two songs on Where Moth and Rust Destroy.

It’s because “Where Moth and Rust Destroy” is a near-perfect song. When you kick off with something like this, it’s almost impossible for the rest of the songs on the album to get a moment to shine.

“Where Moth and Rust Destroy” is just a really memorable song, both musically and lyrically. When you listen to the songs after it, it’s still going through your head and you’re probably thinking about repeating that track once the rest of the album is over.

Why’s it a great song?

Well, it’s just kind of epic. From the distorted lone guitar that kicks things off to Friedman’s melodies to the crunchingly slow end, it just delivers a fulfilling musical experience. It’s a seven-plus minute long song, but it feels much shorter because it just imerses the listener, causing them to lose sense of time.

“Where Moth and Rust Destroy” is the “must listen” song of the album. It’s not just a great song out of the Christian metal genre, but simply a great metal song. It’s also Easter’s best performance on the album, with his vocals being particularly moving and powerful.

It just casts a shadow over every song on the album that follows it.

That’s not to say that the rest of the album is bad or even average. It’s actually pretty good, with some great-sounding songs.

In the great-sounding song category is “Drawn and Quartered,” which kicks off with Bullock playing the violin over a heavy riff. From there, the song feels like the soundtrack of climbing up a steep hill, with a long burst of speed when one goes down. Easter also shines once again here, with his vocals going from his powerful power metal voice to a Dave Mustaine-esque growl. Friedman also has a face-shredding guitar solo on this, possibly the most memorable one on the album.

Bruce Franklin plays lead on two of the album’s songs.

Architeuthis” is a pretty good rocker, with echoes of early 90s Megadeth, which may be part of Friedman’s influence on the writing process. It’s fast pace with Kirkpatrick really hitting the drums here. “Convoluted Absolutes” is another rocker, with a dirty sounding guitar lead in by Franklin.

The last two songs bring things to a close in epic territory.

Why do I say “epic?”

Both songs are more than seven minutes long. On top of that, there’s several different movements with each.

The Egyptian vibe of “Healing Waters of the Tigris” ties in with its subject matter pretty well. It’s a pretty complicated song with a rather steady beat. The band is entirely on their A-game for this one, from that Egyptian melody I mentioned to the chorus. It’s a moving song, whether you’re Christian or not, thanks much to another great performance by Easter.

Things end with “In Death We Rise,” which is the song that comes nearest to matching the title song. It starts with the doomy vibe of those Sabbath-influenced bands like St. Vitus, Cathedral and Trouble. It’s slow and weighty, even when the guitar stands aside and the violin kicks in. Easter backs off his powerful metal vocals, barely being heard over the music here, almost like a ghost, you could say. “In Death We Rise” never speeds up, it just marches along into the dark mist, eventually leaving you surrounded in black.

The verdict

Where Moth and Rust Destroy is a really good album and I would recommend giving it a listen, no matter what your beliefs are. The music is top notch and it’s not overly preachy or fluffy. If you’re into God and stuff, it’s probably one you’ll want to buy. If not, it’s still a pretty good listen and the entire thing is available on YouTube.

As for me, I’m probably not going to buy Where Moth and Rust Destroy, but I do look forward to listening to another Tourniquet album when its time comes around.

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