1990 – present (27 years)
Tourniquet is an American Christian thrash metal band, based out of California. Formed in 1989.
The current members of Tourniquet are Ted Kirkpatrick (drums), Luke Easter (vocals), and Aaron Guerra (guitar, vocals).
Former members include Gary Lenaire, Guy Ritter, Victor Macias, Erik Mendez, Steve Andino (bass) and Vince Dennis.
The band is named after a tourniquet which is a surgical device for arresting hemorrhage by compression of a blood vessel. According to the band, tourniquet is a metaphor for "a lifelong spiritual process by which a personal God, through the atoning blood, death, and resurrection of His only Son—Jesus Christ—can begin to stop the flow of going through life without knowing and serving our Creator. He is our Tourniquet."
Tourniquet was formed as a christianthrash metal band. The group was one of many bands who were, at the time, affiliated with a church group called Sanctuary - the rock and roll refuge in Los Angeles. They started out with Ted Kirkpatrick(drums), Guy Ritter (vocals) and Gary Lennaire (guitaris/vocalist).
Their first record Stop the Bleeding was produced in 1990, by Bill Metoyer of Metal Blade Records, and released by Intense Records. While it was mostly distributed to Christian bookstores, Stop the Bleeding was a notable Christian thrash metal album in its time. Tourniquet's characteristic style broke new ground and quickly gained them fans all over the world. In their early line up, Guy Ritter sang the more melodic vocal parts while Gary Lenaire did the aggressive, thrash metal shouts. The band brought forth their first single Ark of Suffering, which received some minor airplay on MTV, but was pulled down due to video shots of animal abuse. Because of the song and it's subsequent video, the band became known for its stance on animal rights.
In 1991, Tourniquet abandoned most of its 1980's metal influences and recorded a more modern album titled Psycho Surgery. On the song Spineless the band experimented with rap rock in the vein of Anthrax and Faith No More long before the style became popular later in the 1990's. Psycho Surgery showcased the classical music influences more clearly than on 'Stop The Bleeding', and the drummer’s background in the pharmaceutical industry became more apparent: many of the songs utilized medical terminology as metaphors for social/spiritual issues. On Psycho Surgery. Tourniquet continued to work with producer Bill Metoyer, and eventually signed a distribution agreement with Metal Blade Records, which released Psycho Surgery to a far wider general market audience than the band was able to reach with Stop the Bleeding. However, Intense Records still released Psycho Surgery and distributed it to Christian retail
In 1993, Tourniquet recorded what is considered their most technical and dark album, Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. Guy Ritter left the band during the recording of Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance. Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance quickly became one of the most popular of the band's albums among Tourniquet fans, and it was voted Favourite Album of the 1990's by the readers of HM Magazine. As with the previous album, Metal Blade Records released Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance to the general market and Intense Records released it to the Christian market. Luke Easter, who had formerly sung in a more pop rock oriented group, replaced Ritter, joining Tourniquet for the Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance tour. On this tour, Tourniquet was scheduled to play the Milwaukee Metalfest in 1993, but professed satanist Glen Benton of Deicide, the festival headliner, refused to play with a Christian band. The festival was forced to cancel Tourniquet's performance. This brought more publicity and notoriety to Tourniquet.
The band's sound took a sharp turn from their early thrash metal days, following the departure of original vocalist Guy Ritter. In the interim, the band recorded a "live in studio" album with Les Carlsen of Bloodgood. The following album, Vanishing Lessons was much more hard rock, but no less technical. After another EP, Gary Lennaire left the band.
The band's latest release, Where Moth and Rust Destroy, features special guests Marty Friedman, formerly of Megadeth, and Bruce Franklin, formerly of Trouble, on lead guitar (tourniquet had previously covered Trouble's The Tempter on their live EP).
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