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Something Doesn’t Add Up - 76%

Spiner202, April 21st, 2010

Forbidden is one of the few 80’s bands in the thrash world that seem to evoke polar reactions from fans. On the one hand, there are those who love them because of their unique vocals and fantastic musicianship. On the other, some people think vocalist Russ Anderson should stop wailing and let the rest of the band take charge. My stance is somewhere in between. Forbidden have everything going for them on this album; melodic vocals (something relatively unique in thrash), insane guitar work, interesting songwriting, and even cool artwork. Why then, does this band fail to hold the interest of many thrashers? This is a tough question to answer, but mostly, it is because of the unorthodox hooks and lack of repetition (yes, this can be a bad thing).

While the first song on the album often draws few complaints, the next track is where the problems start. Off the Edge begins with a decent bass intro until a thrashing riff hits the listener hard. Then the vocals come in, and likewise, the problems follow. Firstly, the lyrics are just plain strange; I mean, who really wants to hear stories about little kids on drugs? Furthermore, the chorus is just terrible. Even though it’s the second song on the album, I still hear the chorus in my head long after this album is over. I dread every time Anderson screams “I’M OFF THE EDGE!!!”, and it really takes away from the album as a whole.

Off the Edge is the strongest reason to dislike this album, because there really is nothing bad here. In fact, it’s just bland hooks that fail to catch the listener’s attention. The riffs and soloing are fun, but lack memorability. In addition, it feels like there is an overwhelming amount of content on this album. Over half of the songs exceed 5 minutes in length and are packed with so many riffs and solos that it’s hard to keep track. This is one of those few cases where too many riffs can actually hurt an album.

With that said, there are plenty of reasons to like this album. As mentioned earlier, the opening track, Chalice of Blood is a mean thrasher. The chorus should send all thrashers into a windmill headbang immediately. Furthermore, the final track, Follow Me, is what really clinches this album. The song is a little bit more experimental than the other tracks on this album, but it pays off for Forbidden. At over 7 minutes, it is by far the longest track, but unlike the other songs, it is enjoyable because every riff is played just long enough that you can remember it, but not long enough to make it boring. The song opens with a haunting acoustic line, that soon adds distorted guitars over top of it (reminding one of the introduction to Annihilator’s Alison Hell). This is followed by yet another riff onslaught. To compliment the creepy atmosphere from the introduction, Anderson performs the verses with bone-chilling vocal lines that are both melodic and frightening. The song progresses on to feature intricate riffing and a fantastic vocal performance from Anderson. Follow Me is miles ahead of everything else on this album and ends a very average debut on a high note.

One final point that must be addressed is the proficiency of this band. While the parts don’t come together quite as collectively as one might hope, most of the band puts forth 110%. The solos are extremely intricate and are kept interesting by combining faster fretwork with more melodic lines. The riffs are crisp, but are pretty heavily distorted. Still, the guitarists were on fire while writing this album. Paul Bostaph, who would later drum for Slayer, keeps the beats varied enough for the listener to stay interested. As mentioned before, Anderson’s vocals are interesting and much akin to Joey Belladonna’s. The vocal lines are interesting and most of the choruses will probably stick in your head for a while after (that is, if you can get Off the Edge out of your head first). Surprisingly, the bass is audible throughout the vast majority of this album. Even with a great tone, bassist Matt Camacho fails to impress. Then again, thrash was never about having a great bassist.

Although it has a split fan base, this album is certainly important to own, and it’s very enjoyable because it is distinct. Even if you don’t listen to it as often as the other Bay Area thrash classics, it is still worth hearing for its technicality, importance, and uniqueness. Forbidden never really matured to be a great band, but their debut showed that they deserved a chance. Regardless of one’s personal opinions on this album, Forbidden Evil cannot be considered a cheap clone of the ever-expanding thrash scene.

What Could Have Been - 74%

AxelTheRed, May 13th, 2008

By the time Forbidden released this album in late 1988, thrash metal was already in full swing, having reached its arguable zenith two years earlier.

Forbidden was late to the party, far too late to be of any real impact or to offer any fresh new ideas to thrash metal, eventually fading away into a mere footnote of 1980s thrash metal. In 1988, they were just another fast Bay Area band in a genre that was already getting heavily saturated.

Had Forbidden Evil been released before or near the time Bonded by Blood was released, Forbidden would have made the same mighty splash that Exodus did because the music on this album is very similar, though darker, than Bonded by Blood.

Forbidden Evil is a good album, but as I said, if it had been released a few years earlier, we would all be considering this a thrash metal hallmark.

Regardless of the cruelty of history, there's still enough thrashy entertainment present here to maintain the interest of any curious fan through at least a couple listens.

I should note that there is very nice vocal work on this album. As similar as this is to early Exodus, I do prefer Russ Anderson's vocals over Paul Baloff or Zetro. Especially Zetro. Forbidden really digs on gang-shouted verses, too. A good staple of early thrash, but something that can be overused.

There's talent is right there in the band. The guitars are excellently played, most (not all, unfortunately) of the riffs are as catchy as anything I've ever heard. Occasionally the bass will play on its own, but it is otherwise covered in the mix. Forbidden Evil needed more bass if anything.

The drums need to be spoken of somewhat more in depth. Paul Bostaph is an excellent drummer. During his time in Slayer, he basically tried to be Dave but simple. Forbidden Evil lets you know what his style is REALLY like. And his style is fantastic.

The drumming on Forbidden Evil is a head and shoulders above many other thrash albums of this period. The drums are thrashy and fast, but also tight and precise, not sloppy like Testament or Exodus.

Forbidden Evil is an album for hardcore thrash fans, especially fans of early Bay Area styled thrash. It is far too obscure for the casual listener. Not that a casual fan wouldn't enjoy it, but it would take time to grow on them.

Masterpiece - 100%

barbanera, May 1st, 2008

In my opinion this is one of the best thrash metal albums ever made, if non the best. I found every song, every single element in the music to be absolutely pefect.
This cd is raw, aggressive, and violent.

It starts with the ripping-off Chalice of Blood, a songs with very fast riffs and solos everywhere, and a really grat performance by the leadvocalist Russ Anderson, who goes up to incredibly high tones with his voice. As we can see from the very first track, the production here is as rough as the music is, and I found this combination great!

The album goes on with other really fast songs, heavy riffage and fast solos, jus like chalice of blood, but it's not boring at all: even if every songs has the same caracteristics to each other, everyone of them it's original, the rythm is different in every song, Bostaph does a really great job here!

It's quite easy to notice that in this band there are only extremely skilled musicians. Russ Anderson is a really great vocalist, and here in Forbidden Evil gives a demostration of his powerful and aggressive voice to the ones who may not think so. By the way, in this album, there is his best performance ever.

Glenn Alvelais and Craig Locicero are both incredible guitar players, and the alchemy between them makes me think about Tipton and Downing from Judas Priest, I'm not jocking! Every solo by both of them is justgreat, and even if a big part of them is really technical, they are not boring at all! On the other hand, the have built up great heavy- handbanging riffs, very fast but somehow even melodic!

Paul Bostaph is a great drummer now, and when he was younger, like in Forbidden Evil, he was even better! Here he's a like a thrash machine, he does a great job here. His drumming, although is always hard and fast, is different in every song so you cant think that he is one of those boring drummers who put always the same rythm part in every song changing only a few elements...

Matt Camacho... He is the bassist, but after all because of the production, bass can't be heard very well. Sometimes it can be heard, and when you listen to it, you notice immediately that he is a skilled musician just like the other members in the band. However, I can't say how it sounds like because the bass can be heard really rarely on this record... that's a pity, I'm sure that it should be great, after all...

Pure thrash metal fury. Go and buy it NOW! YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED AT ALL!!!

Classic - 95%

morbert, March 12th, 2008

Just like another American band that never made it to the premier league of thrash after a brilliant debut (Testament) this is also one of those debuts that was never topped nor even equalled. Amusingly Forbidden named their debut album after their earlier band name. Once again, just like Testament.

Apart from the good song writing abilities, Forbidden had some more strong points over many other thrash bands that released debut albums in the 1987/1988 period, namely the vocalist (Russ Anderson) and drummer (Paul Bostaph). It is not without reason any band would want to have Paul Bostaph on drums. The man is way up there together with Gene Hoglan and Charlie Benante concerning brilliant thrash metal drumming. Vocalist Russ Anderson had a such strong, melodic and dynamic voice and wrote vocal lines which made even the lesser brilliant riffs on any Forbidden song sound better.

The A-side of the album is by far the best side. Opener “Chalice of Blood” is overwhelming because of its simplicity and efficiency. Powerful, fast, catchy with an excelling Russ Anderson. “Chalice of Blood” was exactly what a good opener on any thrash metal album should be. No thrash metal band must ever be allowed to open with a song which is not fast.

Third song “Through Eyes of Glass” sees Forbidden writing one brilliant riff after another and even though the song as a whole has a lot of non-raging moments, it still feels energetic and extremely powerful. If there would ever be such a thing as a thrash metal museum, this song must be played once each day because it is up there with the eighties Gods like Angel Of Death, Damage Inc, The Burning Of Sodom, Primitive Future, Lesson in Violence, No Place for Disgrace or Betrayer.

The title song “Forbidden Evil” is brilliant, varied, catchy and only suffers from the fact “Through Eyes of Glass” was genius. Nuff said. The B-side of the album doesn’t include any classics although "Feel No Pain" is close because of the great breaks and dynamic intensity. It upholds the standard just enough to keep the album from getting decent instead of very good. If the B-side would have had as many classic as the A-side, the album obviously would have turned up in a top 10 of the best thrash metal albums of all time. Now it’s ‘only’ in the top 25, which of course is still a huge honour and says something about the quality presented here.

Whereas on the next album the technique and musicality was taking the upper hand from which the individual songs as well as the total album began to suffer in terms of aggression and thrash metal efficiency, this album still combined technique with the necessary aggressive attitude and effective catchy songwriting, resulting in the perfect blend. Oh, and by the way, Glen Alvelais and Craig Locicero didn’t just kick ass, they kicked everything. Too bad they haven’t written anything this brilliant again since….

Interesting BA thrash. - 90%

cyclone, November 8th, 2004

No, Forbidden aren't like the other thrash bands. And that has it's good and bad sides. No, they're not as accessible as Metallica, not as plain METAL as BBB from Exodus, not as fast as Dark Angel or Slayer, not as political as Megadeth and even not as deranged as Coroner. Well, yeah, there are simmilarities between them and the other bands, but over the years, they have developed a style of their own. They play some sort of tech thrash, but don't think Watchtower or something here. Forbidden manage to stay much more accessible and just metal as the other tech bands. Guitars are the lead instrument here. Some great leads and solos are found here, not to mention the riffs... They have a great guitar duo. Forbidden also has a great singer - Russ Anderson. His interesting voice adds something to the music and he also has that great high pitched moments, which he pulls off without being annoying. The drums and bass aren't that audible, but they still deliver some interesting rhythms. The songs themselves are quite long and have a quite complicated structure.

The highlights are Chalice Of Blood, Through The Eyes Of Glass and March Into Fire. The other songs aren't that much behind, there aren't any really bad songs on here. Save that for Off The Edge, which is maybe a bit annoying.

Chalice Of Blood is a great thrasher. It starts off with that recognisable scream. Some nicely executed tech riffs, interesting verse and a catchy and memorable chorus - YES PLEASE!

Through The Eyes Of Glass is a bit softer and smoother 'round the edges, but it still kicks some major butt. It's the best song on the album. Amazing solo and really good vocals.

March Into Fire starts off with some nice drum work and then turns into a kickass song. The verse part is rather interesting, since it's really unique.

Forbidden Evil is a good example of tech thrash, which still manages to stay fast, catchy and interesting. You can't miss with this one.

welcome to the church of lies! - 93%

ironasinmaiden, July 15th, 2003

Man oh man 1988 was a great year for west coast thrash... New Order, Eternal Nightmare, No Place for Disgrace, Breaking the Silence, Terror and Submission, hell, even South of Heaven.... however killer these may be Forbidden's thrashtastic debut dwarfs em. Riffs, riffs, tempo changes, riffs... never without purpose and always fucking intense. Not only does Forbidden Evil boast some formidable songwriting, but the production job is the standard by which all thrash production jobs should be compared. Grab your denim and hop in the circle pit baby, its time to kill.

Side A (cassettes ist krieg!) is truly something to behold... 4 tracks, 3 classics... a feat their sister band Vio-Lence matched on Eternal Nightmare. "Chalice of Blood" kicks up a sandstorm of straightforward thrash and awesome vocal melodies courtesy of Mr. Russ Anderson. What sets Forbidden apart from your average Joe Exodus is a monolithic groove... "On the Edge" and "Feel No Pain" in particular utiliize almost funky tempos. This, coupled with lethal riffs and seamless tempo changes makes for killer metal.

"Through Eyes of Glass" (an eyeglass paranoia anthem?) and "Forbidden Evil", thrash classics #2 and #3 respectively, hold their own with powerful guitar harmonies and perhaps Forbidden's finest arrangements to date. #4 is "March Into Fire", the Mix Tape essential with an insane bridge section. Closing number "Follow Me" is pretty damn gay though... that vocal line is too goofy for its own good.

So, thrashards and stage divers... hear me out... Forbidden Evil is an essential thrash record. Be a man and get that bitch on cassette.

Welcome to the church of lies! - 86%

Crimsonblood, April 28th, 2003

While not quite perfect, Forbidden Evil is still one of my favorite Thrash CD’s to listen to, simply because 4 of the songs found on here are amazing. Unfortunately, the same high quality found in those 4 songs is not present throughout the entire CD, but the nevertheless I still consider Forbidden Evil a must have.

The CD opens up with "Chalice Of Blood". This is perhaps my favorite song on the CD as it just destroys in every regard. The vocals are amazing, the guitars are very thrashy and semi-technical, and the bass and drums can be heard perfectly and are played proficiently. Regrettably, "Off The Edge" (the next song) has a rather silly and ill-conceived chorus that almost ruins an otherwise good song that has solid verses and breakdowns. This trend of having almost perfect songs and then songs that falter shows up more than once and is the downfall of what could have been a Thrash masterpiece. The other highlights include “Through The Eyes Of Glass” which is very progressive and more technical in nature and is many peoples favorite Forbidden song on this CD; the title track which has a great gallop and excellent thrash riffs that makes it an instant Thrash classic as you just can’t help but head bang along; and lastly "Feel No Pain": even though it’s simpler than the other songs it’s very catchy from a vocal stand point in my opinion and the rhythm goes perfectly with the vocal phrasing. The rest of the songs are hit or miss, mostly contained in each track. In other words, each song has some solid moments but usually misses with a bad chorus, bad phrasing choices, or just plain uninteresting song writing. "Follow Me" is probably the best of that bunch though and is progressive in the same nature as "Through The Eyes Of Glass". Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the weaker tracks, in fact, I still enjoy them, but compared to the greatness that is displayed on "Chalice Of Blood" and the title track they aren’t as mature or as memorable.

The vocals on Forbidden Evil are some of my favorite in the genre. Even though there are some weird phrasing choices (as I alluded to), overall, Russ Anderson displays some of the most versatile vocals of any Thrash singer. He can wail, scream, sing, and do harsher vocals with the best of them, and when his voice and phrasing is on, some godly vocal performances are displayed. Everyone else does their job very well and thanks to the solid production the impressive bass work can be enjoyed to its full extent. Also of note is the impressive amount of solos. The solos are all over the place and both guitarists rip with the best of them; thankfully, it’s not pointless wankery either.

Not quite as brutal or as fast as Slayer, and not quite as technical as Sadus, Forbidden fall some where in between, and this gives them (at the time) a sound of their own. Sure enough, there are a lot of breakdowns and flashes of technical prowess, but Forbidden seem to have held back in favor of more concise songs and some straight out head banging sections. Despite weak moments in 4 tracks, I still consider this a classic and must have for Thrash fans, due in part to the vocals, the big 4 songs, and for the fact that the weak songs are still impressive in certain respects. Thrash or die!

Song Highlights: Chalice Of Blood, Through The Eyes Of Glass, Forbidden Evil, and Feel No Pain

The cream of the Bay Area thrash scene - 92%

BaronVonK, April 16th, 2003

This album is definitely one of my favorites to come from the whole Bay Area of thrash scene.

Russ Anderson has a rough, yet melodic style which still fits the music and doesn't take away due to lack of aggression. Overall, he's a competent melody writer, but there are a few instances where his melodies tend to flow oddly. The verses for Off The Edge are a prime example of awkward vocal melodies. The verses for Marching Into Fire, however, try a odd metered approach and comes off very angry (in a good way).

One thing I like about this album is that though the songs are of simmilar speeds, they are not all the same speed with the same drum pattern the whole entire record like some of their thrash contemporaries (*cough*Reign in Blood*cough) and the riffs don't make it sound like one long blurred song where it's almost impossible to tell where one song begins and one ends.

The solos on this album are top notch and it's a shame that a lot of the other Bay Area thrash bands didn't take note of what Forbidden was doing here in that department.

All in all, a great Bay Area thrash album for people who like early Testament and like Slayer, but wish they had more playing capability and variety.

Good album that lacks maturity - 70%

foshuggah, March 18th, 2003

One of the most underrated band ever. But, what can you expect from the whole album? Fast songs with good riffs and tight drumming. But it is weird how some songs die so easy. They put up great songs and it seems they took the leftovers and build the rest of the album with that. The album is fierce and aggressive, but it lacks the maturity of "Twisted into Form".

I must say that Russ Anderson has one hell of a throat. He can reach those long, high pitched screams and he has a great range. Both Locicero and Alvelais are great guitar players. No wonder why Alvelais made it into Testament and, later on, Nevermore. And I don't need to mention Mr. Paul Bostaph, do I?

Actually, all the songs have some interesting ideas. Sadly. not all of them can shine through the messy production, as IMHO, the guitars are too low and the bass guitar should be louder in the mix, since Matt's playing adds a good bottom end to the songs.

As a conclusion, "Forbidden Evil" is a good thrash album. It has some great moments as "Chalice of Blood" or "March into Fire" and some not-so-interesting songs. Overall, get it if you have the opportunity because it is a very good album. But this is not exactly a "must have" for thrash fans, IMHO.

Inconsistent, at times amazingly great - 51%

UltraBoris, August 18th, 2002

This album has three good songs, and five really crappy songs. It's almost amusing, it almost seems like two different bands.

First, we have "Chalice of Blood". Good. GREAT!! Absolutely amazing riff work, and some really nicely done vocals too - when Russ Anderson is on, he is dead on. Nice fucking lead work too, and this one gets you headbanging like nothing else.

Then, "Off the Edge". This is the best of the crap. The verses are actually pretty nice, but the chorus is where the song completely crashes and burns. I mean, what the fuck?? It's so fucking silly and doesn't work at all.

Next... "Through Eyes of Glass". Not quite as heavy as Chalice, but yet another raging thrashing classic. Then, "Forbidden Evil", which is the best song on here, and one of the greatest thrash songs of all time. Little story - at Thrash of the Titans I managed to NAIL one of the screams in such a way that I was heard by people 5 rows away (this despite there being a live band playing rather loud) - I also got a massive fucking headache and after that the show was all downhill for me from a medical standpoint.

But, I digress. The rest of the album is pretty much crap. The songs suddenly completely lose their edge, and the riff work isn't nearly as good, and of course the choruses end up being horrible. "March Into Fire" is the best example of this - the whole thing sounds completely mistimed, especially as though the drum track is just a few milliseconds off of the rest of the album, causing a great disparity. "Feel no Pain" sounds like Ground Zero Brooklyn gone wrong, and that chorus has that most annoying Maiden-gone-wrong riff ever, worse than Testament's Burnt Offerings. Nonetheless, still the best of the filler. Too bad the riffs are buried in the mix below the over-the-top vocalist who tries too hard too often and comes off unconvincing at times.

Is it worth it for three, three-and-a-half maybe, songs? Not really... it could have been so much more.