Saturday, April 28, 2012

God Forbid Marches Forward With Equilibrium

Momentum is a great thing for a band and in many instances; they like to ride that momentum as they go into the studio to follow-up a big album. The metal band God Forbid was doing just that as they entered the studio to record the follow-up to 2009’s Earthsblood. That album was a very solid release for them and many considered it amongst the best that they had done to date.

Guitarist, song writer and founding member Dallas Coyle left the band shortly after the release of that album and former Darkest Hour guitarist took his place on that tour. Matt Wicklund, of Himsa, took over that position permanently. Would Dallas’ presence be missed in the studio? Only time would tell on that question. That brings us to the release of their newest album Equilibrium.

A new label and a new guitarist are major changes for any band. How would they react to the major shake-up? Well, for most counts, it seems to be an easy transition for them. Equilibrium is a really good album, but it’s not perfect. It’s not a progression from the last album, but it’s also far from being a step back. It starts off strong with the first track “Don’t Tell Me What to Dream”. The net was a buzz after this song was released a while back because of its djent sound, but it’s the only track on the album with such a sound.

Next up is “My Rebirth” and the pounding drum intro gets it going right out of the gate. The guitar work between Wicklund and Doc Coyle is killer on this song. The guys pick up the pace with “A Few Good Men”. This song is just one of a few that have a breakdown in it, but it’s not necessarily a textbook breakdown, therefore making it somewhat interesting. “Scraping The Walls” is one of the stronger songs on the album and it excels in its many layers and arrangements. It also has a great chanting, sing-a-long chorus that should translate really well to the live show.

The guys included a very cool instrumental entitled “Awakening” which really allows the band’s musicianship to shine through. It’s a great number that ends and leaves you wanting more. The closer, “Where We Come From”, is another of the stronger tracks on the album and closes the album out in a major way. The guitar work on this track is blistering and the way that they play off of each other is pretty amazing. It’s not always that a band saves the best for last, but this just may be one of those albums.

So, was the absence of founding member Dallas Coyle felt? I would have to say yes, but not in a major way. Yes, his clean vocals are missed, even though his brother Doc Coyle is now handling them. Matt Wicklund does more than just step into the shoes as their new guitarist, he stomps the fool out of them with his guitar skills.

The first album by God Forbid on their new home label Victory Records is pretty solid, even though there are a few weaker tracks. It’s kind of funny because even the weaker tracks are better than a lot of what’s being heard in that genre today. The guys still know how to maintain the balance between melodic riffs and aggressiveness. As far as vocals go, Byron Davis turns in yet another solid performance. The band will be on the road in support of the new album and it should prove to be an interesting night of head banging. A new guitarist, new material, but the mentality of maximus rock is still there.

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