While the last 10+ years have seen a gluttony of garbage when it comes to newer, modern metal bands, there have been a few that have continually stood above the fray musically. God Forbid is definitely one of them. Their intensity combined with their brutality in the live setting has made them one of the most universally recognized great bands out there…even if they don’t sell a lot of records. Albums like EARTHSBLOOD and IV: CONSTITUTION OF TREASON were some of the best this genre has offered up. It wasn’t enough though for former founding member Dallas Coyle, who left the band in 2009 and left a lot of people wondering what the future would hold for them.
The band is back with EQUILIBRIUM; an album that is distinctively God Forbid while feeling like quite a departure from much of their previous work. To be clear here, it’s very good, but different. There are some songs, like the opening “Don’t Tell Me What To Dream”, which are pretty much spot on what you would expect from the band. But then there are other songs that are very different and almost feel like their new label (Victory Records) guided them in some of the writing. A prime example of this is “Scraping The Walls”. Where vocalist Byron Davis is primarily a guttural screamer that has very occasionally mixed in clean vocals for effect, there’s a LOT more clean vocals on EQUILIBRIUM. There’s far too much of it on “Scraping The Walls”. Songs like “Conquer” are much stronger because they use the clean vocal for peppering more than as a chosen style.
Musically, EQUILIBRIUM is a strong effort, but not the band’s strongest effort by a long shot. I’m not sure if it’s that they were writing to find a new record deal or that Dallas Coyle’s loss just changed the dynamic drastically, but what’s left is a sound that’s much closer to the pack than they have ever been before. Doc Coyle and new guitarist Matt Wicklund produce little more than standard fair on guitar, which combined with the clean vocals on songs like “Equilibrium” render the song lifeless. That can be said on a lot of the material.
PITRIFF RATING – 67/100 - It’s not bad, and with my first listen I will admit that I was pretty much into it. Further listens though quickly pointed out more and more pieces that just didn’t fit…or more importantly didn’t stick in my head long. It’s OK, but it’s a great example of a great band putting out a decent, non-great album.