FORBIDDEN came out of the second wave of Bay Area thrash, led by DEATH ANGEL, HEATHEN, DEFIANCE and VIO-LENCE. FORBIDDEN's melodic and hypnotic guitar leads, crushing riffs and distinct vocals set them apart from their peers. However, they were kind of considered as a poor man's TESTAMENT, and never achieved the status of their Bay Area brethren.
FORBIDDEN has been out of the spot light for almost 14 years. But on Omega Wave, their fifth release, they have found their place again among thrash's elite. With their new partnership with Nuclear Blast, the time is right for people to discover, and/or rediscover, what these thrashers have to offer.
The core of the band, consisting of guitarist and founder Craig Locicero, vocalist Russ Anderson and bassist Matt Camacho, is still intact. On Omega Wave, they introduce Steve Smyth (NEVERMORE, TESTAMENT, DRAGONLORD) and drummer Mark Hernandez (HEATHEN, DEFIANCE, VIO-LENCE, DEMONICA) into the fold.
Anderson is one of the most powerful thrash vocalists in the game today. His gruff vocals are mixed with aggression and melody. What he brings on Omega Wave is a crushing familiarity of intelligent lyrics delivered with forceful bellows. This, along with the distinct and mesmerizing guitar harmonies, was FORBIDDEN's forte back in the day. Smyth and Locicero's riffs and leads carry on the familiar FORBIDDEN formula.
After the intro, "Alpha Century," the sweeping guitar arpeggios of the first proper song, "Forsaken at the Gates," tells you FORBIDDEN is back to doing what they do best. The dual-layered vocals, the trade-off guitar solos and the full-force melodies remind me of how they sounded in their early days. The whole album sounds like it could have been the follow up to Twisted into Form. "Swine," one of my personal favorites, shows Anderson's vocal range well, as he changes his gruff growls to falsettos and other variations.
"Hopenosis," "Inhuman Race," "Dragging My Casket," and the title track are all strong songs as well.
Omega Waveís varied tempos, well-thought out song structures and menacing vocals will convince you that FORBIDDEN is back, and in a big way.