Tourniquet’s Ted Kirkpatrick: “Onward to Freedom”

coverTourniquet’s Ted Kirkpatrick's "Onward to Freedom" is an interesting PETA friendly concept album. This isn’t a new thing for Ted Kirkpatrick who has been known to release a song or two in the past talking about his stance against animal testing in general and vegetarian lifestyle. That being said how does this album stand compared to the nearly impossible to pronounce and medically laden titles of albums past? It’s a solid effort, though schizophrenic sonically (the album can’t be categorized as one flavor of metal). As a mixed bag, Onward to Freedom, features some of the most recognizable singers in rock. Kicking off with Stryper’s Michael Sweet, the tracks bleed right into a gritty screaming tune featuring metalcore styling Mattie Mongomery from the band For Today to Gabbie Rae to Dug Pinnick (King’s X). If that sounds like a lot to digest, I have yet to cover Rex Carrol, Tony Palacios and the rest of the musicians involved on this project and what they too added to the mix. It’s quite a list to be sure. It’s a lot to digest and I would argue that it takes a couple of listens to fully appreciate. If there’s a through line, beyond the message for animal rights, it is getting such an eclectic group together in support of Kirkpatrick’s vision at all. Listening to “Onward to Freedom” features as much Kirkpatrick and company’s ability to play almost anything from Classical to the heaviest of metal, but also showcases their ability to forge through this literal kaleidoscope of sound quite well – surprisingly well when you consider that in the end that this is still vintage Tourniquet – a band that has been known to explore and feature its fare share of genre changes over the years. Caveat, this album isn’t for everyone. Musical schizophrenia treads the line of a compilation album as much as it does showcase the best of musical abilities. That being said, this album is a good listen and should be given a chance especially for those that have witnessed and have stuck around with the likes of Kirkpartick (and Tourniquet) through its fair share of lineup changes since the days of "Psycho Surgery." Onward to Freedom truly does stampede its way into surprisingly interesting musical territory. I would argue it might also be the one album that doesn’t require the need of Grays Anatomy to fully get. All you need is a soul and an open mind. By Paul Stamat