Teenage Creature is Brooklyn-based Tournament’s second full-length album. Tournament is a four-piece consisting of Montana Masback: Vocals & Guitar, Ryan Kelly: Bass Guitar, Sean Kraft: Guitar, and Jordan Lovelace: Drums. Tournament describes themselves on their Bandcamp page as “The most interesting Rock ‘N’ Roll band that has ever lived”.
Tournament definitely has a sludge metal sound with punk leanings. More in line with stoner metal. I really liked their music. Over the years, I have realized I am a big fan of the sludge metal sound. That being said, I found the vocals to be a little too distorted in my opinion. It was hard to figure out the vocals until a few listens. Teenage Creature is a fast album. Eight of twelve tracks are around three minutes or under, playing to the punk feel of the album.
One weird sidetrack for a bit, I’m a graphic designer professionally and I know metal bands love to tweak letter forms a lot for their band logos but I had no idea they were Tournament from their logo. I would suggest dropping the logo from something more readable.
So let’s get into my thoughts on the individual tracks. First off is the title track, “Teenage Creature”, has a great groove. The track starts out kind of reminding me of Sick Puppies‘ “You’re Going Down” but that’s only the very beginning bass line. The song displays the distorted vocals that are prevalent throughout the album. The odd surprise on this track was the addition of what sounds like horns in some parts of the song. Seemed out of place but it didn’t really bother me, just seems out of place. Next up is “Too Far Gone”. “Too Far Gone” is a fast rocker with a driving bass line. It’s super short clocking in at only 1:46. The third track, “Scattered”, is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I really like the fast punk vibe with a great bass line and fast drum work.
Speaking of drumming, I’m a drummer and I always picture if I had to play this album all the way through live how tired I’d be and by, “Eye On You”, I’d be getting tired! “Eye On You” had a really cool riff, another fast one. The next track, “Detroit”, feels like a tribute to The Stooges & other great motor city garage rock distortion. After that is “Biff’s Future”, an instrumental that I feel is the weak spot of the album. I’m not a huge fan of instrumentals. I always think it’s filler (unless it’s “Eruption”), even if it’s title is a Back to The Future II reference. Luckily the track isn’t long. “Whip” is very punk, maybe the most punk track on the album. The vocal banter at the end of the track was odd and I’m not sure if it works for me. “Sean’s Place” is another punk track. This time, some of the guitar work felt almost New Wave. By the time I get to “Accident Boys (Trouble)”, these last three tracks are starting to sound similar. The track has very sparse vocals and is almost another instrumental. The next track, “No Control”, seems to be the most put together of the tracks of the back half of the album with a little better song structure. “Life is Over” is another solid song. The inclusion of horns again is interesting and a surprising change. There is a cool “Sabbath-like” change up at the 3:15 mark then it switches back the main riff for the remaining 30 seconds. At 4:47, it’s the longest track on the album. The closer, “Problems”, is another longer track at 4:21. The drum part reminds me of The Offspring‘s “Gotta Get Away” off Smash.
Despite some filler in the middle of the album, I liked Teenage Creature. Those tracks in the middle sounded too similar and the album could’ve been cut down a bit. Loved the sludgy, punk sound and I think overall it’s a great effort from Tournament. Tournament‘s Teenage Creature will be available on March 25, 2016, from The End Records.