Forbidden

Forbidden are a legend of the second wave of Bay Area thrash metal of the late 80's/early 90's ad have quite a history in the scene. Their family tree is full of thrash metal legends. Originally formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil by vocalist Russ Anderson, guitarists Robb Flynn and Craig Locifero, bassist Matt Camacho, and drummer Paul Bostaph, the group slugged it out around the California club scene like scads of other up-and-coming bands ( Testament, Death Angel, Vio-Lence, Deliverence, etc.). Flynn left to form Vio-Lence, then Machine Head. Replacement guitarist Alvelais quit to join Testament shortly before the recording of the bands 1990 sophmore studio album, "Twisted into Form." Paul Bostaph eventually left to tour with Slayer, Testament and Exodus. New drummer Steve Jacobs joined the group for 1995's "Distortion" and the band broke up shortly after the release of 1997's "Green." Guitarist Tim Calvert went on to join Nevermore for a spell.

Fobidden Evil Forbidden - Forbidden Evil (Combat) 1988

1."Chalice of Blood" (4:32)
2."Off the Edge" (4:16)
3."Through Eyes of Glass" (6:24)
4."Forbidden Evil" (5:39)
5."March into Fire" (5:17)
6."Feel No Pain" (5:11)
7."As Good as Dead" (4:16)
8."Follow Me" (7:03)

Forbidden Evil was actually the original name of the band, thus the title of the album. Forbidden's debut is chock full of semi-melodic thrash metal that still sounds good even now that this music is not "cool" any longer. Stands the test of time sounding as aggressive and angry as it did when I first heard it. Cool album cover art as well.

Raw Evil Forbidden - Raw Evil: Live at the Dynamo (Combat) 1989

1. "Victim of Changes" (7:20)
2. "Forbidden Evil" (5:34)
3. "Chalice of Blood" (5:40)
4. "Though Eyes of Glass" (6:18)

Essential for the killer rendition of Judas Priest's "Victim of Changes." Only four songs in all, which is a bit disappointing, but for an EP at 26 minutes

Twisted into Form Forbidden - Twisted into Form (Combat) 1990

1."Parting of the Ways" [instrumental] (1:03)
2."Infinite" (5:46)
3."Out of Body (Out of Mind)" (4:39)
4."Step by Step" (4:49)
5."Twisted into Form" (4:23)
6."R.I.P." (7:33)
7."Spiral Depression" [instrumental] (1:47)
8."Tossed Away" (4:34)
9."One Foot in Hell" (6:13)

This is a KILLER melodic thrash metal disc! Unlike many in the second tier of thrash metal to come out of California, Forbidden were able to avoid the thrash metal blur. In other words there is plenty of speed and aggression but the riffs are also distinquishable and the songwriting is solid. The fast riffing is accentuated by Russ Anderson's voice which is a mix of melodic power metal singing and a more sinister sneer. Of course there is also the fast paced drumming of Paul Bostaph who went on to be with Slayer. (replacing Dave Lombardo). The disc plays well from beginning to end. I'm not sure if I would even be able to pick out stand out songs as I almost always listen to this disc all the way through and enjoy every minute of it. I found this original Combat pressing in the used bins for $3.99 some years ago. This disc was re-issued on Century Media with two live bonus tracks from the "Ultimate Revenge 2" soundtrack. Since I already own that compilation cd, I won't be getting rid of this pressing.

Distortion Forbidden - Distortion (Mayhem) 1997

1. "Distortion" (5:59)
2. "Hypnotized by the Rhythm" (4:56)
3. "Rape" (5:22)
4. "No Reason" (6:27)
5. "Feed the Hand" (6:38)
6. "Wake Up!" (4:08)
7. "Mind's 'I'" (4:21)
8. "All That Is" (4:16)
9. "Under Taker" (6:23)
10. "21st Century Schizoid Man" (7:09)
11. (unlisted psychadelic instrumental-end of track #10) (2:00)

You know it's funny how the early 90's thrash bands went into totally opposite directions. Some like Metallica and Megadeth went on to more radio friendly formulas, while others like Testament, Slayer, and Forbidden continued to get heavier but never really reaching the plateau of popularity of the others. Still, these bands held onto their respect and have continued to give their fans what they wanted, pure blistering thrash metal. Forbidden's "Distortion" is an album that builds on the strengths of the first two while adding a bit more turbo charged fury into the mix. "21st Century Schizoid Man" is a cool interpretation of King Crimson's masterpiece. This particular cd has been released with three different covers. To view the other two, click on the cover above.

Green Forbidden - Green (Pavement) 1997

1. "What is the Last Time?" (2:33)
2. "Green" (3:17)
3. "pHat" (3:32)
4. "Turns to Rage" (5:47)
5. "Face Down Heroes" (3:43)
6. "Over the Middle" (3:19)
7. "Kanaworms" (3:21)
8. "Noncent$" (3:53)
9. "Blank" (5:54)
10. "Focus" (5:28)
11. (unlisted, backwards track-end of track #14) (1:11)

This album sounds NOTHING like the melodic thrash of Twisted. Oh well, it's still quite good, pushing the bounds of thrash with hints of death metal and even industrial at times. I got this disc as one of those free "get 11 free" deals from BMG. Can't say that I listen to it anywhere near as much as the first two.

Omega Wave Forbidden  - Omega Wave (Nuclear Blast Records) 2010

1.   Alpha Century (2:00)
2.   Forsaken at The Gates (4:54)
3.   Overthrow (4:43)
4.   Adapt Or Die (5:14)
5.   Swine (6:30)
6.   Chatter (2:16)
7.   Dragging My Casket (6:44)
8.   Hopenosis (5:30)
9.   Immortal Wounds (5:29)
10. Behind The Mask v5:39)
11. Inhuman Race (6:25)
12. Omega Wave (6:00)

Forbidden are one of the more respected and loved second wave of Bay Area thrash bands, along with Testament, Death Angel, Heathen and Defiance. The core of the band is still pretty much in tact and consists of guitarist and founder Craig Locicero, vocalist Russ Anderson and bassist Matt Camacho. On "Omega Wave", they add guitarist Steve Smyth (Nevermore, Testament) and drummer Mark Hernandez (Vio-lence, Defiance, Heathen) into the fold.

Forbidden had a knack for writing heavy thrash with melodic leaning and spell binding guitar leads. Of course the band's charm was also partially due to the distinct, charismatic vocals of Russ Anderson. His style was somewhat melodic, but he can spew venom as well. Their 1990's releases, "Distortion" and "Green" were more modern efforts with a decidedly more brutal approach. Most fans found them disappointing in comparison to their two classic studio albums from the 80's. With "Omega Wave" the band have not only gone back to the more recognizable classic thrash sound, but may have recorded their best album to date. Of course, nostalgia will always play a part in those classic albums. However,  "Omega Wave" really could have been the follow up to "Twisted into Form" even if a few modern flourishes are present. The songs are heavy with that touch of melody that made Forbidden stand out from the crowd. After a short intro that features sweeping guitar arpeggios, the first real song, "Forsaken At the Gates" burst with energy. The song features fast tempos, layered vocals, trade-off guitar solos and those galloping Bay Area thrash beats. Likewise "Adapt of Die" is an epic thrasher. The slightly more melodic, mid-paced "Swine" is a standout cut on the album and gives Anderson a chance to really stretch himself as a vocalist. Russ switches his gruff thrash growls to high falsettos and other variations. The song is foreboding and dark. The 1990's groove present on "Green" is only slightly present in songs like "Overthrow".

"Omega Wave" is an impressivre come-back. The varied tempos and well-thought out song structures, along with the charismatic vocals should convince any self-respecting headbanger that Forbidden are back!

Forbidden also released another disc of demos and such called "Trapped", which is on my "want list."

Related collections:
Testament | Vio-Lence | Machine Head | Exodus | Nevermore

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